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Shan’s the man with the ball but sporting Hungerford second team thumped

Hungerford 2nd suffered a comprehensive eight wicket defeat in their Hampshire Cricket League Division 6 North West clash with Broughton.

However Hungerford produced perhaps the moment of the match when, after consultation with his players, captain Freddie Tulloch decided to call a Broughton batsman back to the crease after he'd been given out caught when it was clear the ball had touched neither his bat nor his glove.

The visitors were put into bat amidst the scenic surroundings of the picturesque Test Valley and made a fast start despite the decidedly spongy surface and makeshift lineup.

Scenic Broughton CC
Scenic Broughton CC

Shan Thakare and in particular Mark Cox (35) produced some first rate strokes, putting on almost half of Hungerford's eventual total within the first five overs.

When Thakare became the first victim of the variable bounce and was out caught, debutant Robbie Stelling, equipped with Alec Yeowell's extra-large box and Aaron Bloomfield's bat, pads and gloves, arrived at the crease and the runs soon started to dry up.

The Broughton skipper bowled both of his opening bowlers for their entire eight overs up front and the pair caused havoc as Hungerford struggled to get to grips with the challenging wicket.

Stelling was bowled the following ball having used up some 20 deliveries to score three runs, although he didn't half look good doing it.

Freddie Tulloch, resplendent in his red Budweiser hat, offered some staunch resistance but wickets continued to tumble and with Hungerford seven down at the drinks break, a handful of the home players felt confident enough to return to the field with a cigarette in hand.

Zee Zee Bloomfield produced a couple of shots as big as his beard but the visitors continued to struggle and were bowled out for 90.

Tulloch and his team used the tea break to practice catching and fielding, knowing that with so few runs to defend scoreboard pressure would be essential.

With that in mind, there were a few heads in hands when the first ball was struck to the boundary in the direction of Stelling only for the new man to fling himself over the ball and watch it cross the rope for four, much to standout bowler Oscar Fry's understandable dismay.

Fry and Thakare did manage to make life difficult for the Broughton batters, with Thakare's pinpoint line and length dismissing both openers and keeping the visitors in with half a chance.

It soon became apparent however that this was the home side's game to lose, with their batters more accustomed to the pitch and the ball disappearing to the boundary rope with increasing frequency.

While that did little to please the Hungerford fielders, it made for a splendid afternoon for cocker spaniel Tilly, who on three occasions managed to rescue the ball when it appeared lost in a bed of nettles, thorns and shrub - even if she was somewhat reluctant to return it.

Tulloch and the Hungerford team then showed exemplary sportsmanship to call an in-form Broughton batter back onto the pitch after he'd been wrongly given out caught, resulting in a change of umpires and a succession of sweaty handshakes.

With Broughton needing 10 more runs to win and with eight wickets still in hand, the sides headed for a drinks break and Hungerford performed a fruitless rain dance.

It took just two more overs for Broughton to reel in the visitors' meagre total, with Hungerford hoping to bounce back this weekend.

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