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  • Darrell Butler

Match Report: Unicorns vs Weoley Hill, 12th September 2021

Unicorns took to the field for the final time this season against landlords Weoley Hill at Selly Oak Oval. At a blustery Oval, the day’s captain, Hattie Wright, cheered on by birthday girl Ella, won the toss, and elected to bat. Tom Verow, excited at the opportunity to open the batting, was joined by Glen Jackson who had represented our friends at Graces the previous day.

Jackson got a pearler. He was bowled with the final ball of Luke Chilton’s first over by an unplayable inswinger for two. James Buckle had barely taken a sip of his morning coffee before he was marching to the middle to join Verow. On a boggy pitch, with a slow outfield, the tall Unicorns opener was unusually restrained in the opening overs but found the boundary twice in the fourth over. Buckle meanwhile was his watchful self and opened his account guiding one through slip for four.

Verow’s off drive in the 8th over brought the game’s first maximum and Buckle clipped through midwicket for four in the 10th to keep the scoreboard ticking. He followed that up with a cover drive for four in the 12th before bringing up the Unicorns fifty in the 14th. The over though, finished badly for Unicorns as Weoley Hill’s James Smith picked up the wicket of the frustrated Tom Verow who edged a wide one to the diving keeper. This brought Stephen Hallam to the crease who had the pleasure of watching Buckle find his first maximum via a pull over mid wicket. Buckle found the same spot for four with the very next ball before the pair took drinks at 76 for 2.

In the second over after drinks, the hitherto patient Hallam was caught behind chasing a wide one. The day’s captain Hattie Wright, sent out club captain Lachlan Smith to face returning opener Chilton. Smith was watchful, patient and calm before emulating current batting partner Buckle by ”guiding a four through slip” for his first runs. With boundaries hard to come by on a slow wicket, the pair’s excellent running helped Buckle to bring up another half-century in the 29th over.

As the overs ticked by, Smith began to try and up the run rate before finally falling to a run out in the 38th over, leaving Hattie Wright to accompany James Buckle and guide the side to 150 for 4.

The Unicorns defence began with a Tom Verow maiden; the pacey bowler, supported by the spin of James Buckle kept things very tight, conceding just 10 runs from his first four overs before bowling fellow opening bowler Chilton with the score on 33. First change Sam Long continued the tight bowling from the southern end picking up a maiden in his 0/12 despite a hangover which made Covid-19 look mild. Replacing Buckle at the Northern end of the ground was Lachaln Smith. Returning from a back injury, his shortened run-up still produced the goods and he picked up young Rob Bell in his third over before opener Davies was run out thanks to sharp work by Dan Lewis in the covers.

It was the first of three run outs. The second came just before drinks. James Buckle pounced on confusion between the batters to run out O’Leary with a direct hit from at least 35 yards leaving Weoley Hill 81/4 at drinks as the rain began to fall. The sides returned to a gloomy and soggy Selly Oak Oval for the final session of the season and the Weoley Hill captain signalled his intent to finish the game as quickly as possible with four boundaries off his first 12 balls. Verow, now bowling off just a couple of steps, responded by removing Seleanits with the first ball of his second spell. He picked up another dismissal with the innings’ third run out, a direct hit from mid on which nearly took the head off Simon Satchwell Giles at the same time but by that time Weoley Hill required just nine runs for the last four wickets and the eased home with eleven overs to spare.

A wet, gloomy and windy finish to a happy, fun filled and enjoyable season. Unicorns have got better throughout the season and we will be picking up a lot more wins next time around! For now, all eyes are on the end of season awards and winter nets!

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