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  • Darrell Butler

Match Report: Kings Heath vs Unicorns, 29th August 2021

Team photo of Unicorns players and supporters at Kings Heath CC
Unicorns at Kings Heath CC

Remember the date: Sunday 29th August 2021. A double celebration!

Within moments of each other, Simon Satchwell Giles completed the final over of the first ever Unicorns win in Kings Heath, while Olivia Dyke and Ilana Davis were completing the first Unicorns marriage a few miles north in Sutton Coldfield. The stage was set for the victory as early as 10 am when opening partnership Tom Verow and Ezra Stock were beginning their 116 run first wicket stand. The explosive Verow found the boundary twice in the first over at a windswept Alcester Road, first with a glorious off-drive and then pulling through midwicket. Stock joined in the fun in the following over, cutting through midwicket for four before Verow began to go aerial in the third as Unicorns raced to 32 without loss from three. The pair rocketed along, bringing up the half-century partnership in the sixth over and the hundred in the twelfth. Verow, who had brought up a 44 ball half-century of his own, cleared the rope in the penultimate over of the impressive Kings Heath youngster Simi Vora. She replied in fine style, having Ezra Stock caught just 2 balls later as Unicorns’ regular opener tried to up the run rate going into the final six overs. Joined by the captain James Buckle (23* from 18), Verow hit two more maximums before becoming Vora’s second victim for a 54 ball 72. Debutant Jack McLarney, entering the fray in the 17th over, but was bowled trying to heave Joe Northam into the scoreboard leaving Stephen Hallam to finish the innings alongside Buckle with 11 from 7 balls. Chasing a daunting 171, King’s Heath erupted from the off despite Buckle removing opener Collett in the 2nd over with a straight delivery dipping and deceiving the batter. Unperturbed, fellow opener, Onions, regularly found boundaries and drove James Buckle for six with the final ball of the fourth over at which point Kings Heath were above the required rate at 38 for 1. At the other end Stock continued to bowl a tight line, his last two overs going for just 8 runs and he got his reward in the 7th over, bowling the dangerous Bhooi with the score on 56. Unicorns needed Onions, however. The Kings Heath opener was looking fluent, and was beginning to score freely. Finding a boundary where possible and rotating the strike well when not. It felt as though it would take something special to remove him. And it was. With one stump to aim at, James Buckle fired in from point, with deadly accuracy sent the bails flying, Onion was short of his ground and Unicorns had the wicket they craved! Hallam picked up Webb lbw in the next over and at 72/4 with two new batters in Unicorns suddenly became strong favourites…..they’ve been there before though…

This time felt different. Jack McLarney’s energy in the field was infecting the team and Unicorns were determined to bring home the win. Hallam finished with a maiden and figures of 1/10, Sam Long also finished his spell with a wicket, thanks to a superb Jay Timmins catch at mid-on. Tom Verow picked one up with a rare over of spin and Jay Timmins maintained their record of taking first ball wickets with the help of the animated McLarney who clung the ball to his chest and was able to show off a fine looking bruise post-match! As the wickets fell, the runs dried up leaving Satchwell Giles the straightforward task of defending 68 runs in the final over. He conceded just four and after so many near misses Unicorns were finally able to celebrate victory, and indeed, celebrate a two match unbeaten streak! 64 runs the margin, 29th August the date Unicorns will never forget. There will be trouble if Olivia or Ilana forget it; that’s for sure!

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