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Bath vs Blackheath Match report by Alex Muse

 

So no fairytale ending to another season of chasing National Knockout recognition and another period of reflection after losing in the semi-final to Blackheath CC. As has been stated before, this competition means everything to the club and to come so close again and to miss out again is difficult to take.

The difference between success and failure at this level is tiny. A slice of luck here, a missed chance or a dropped catch there can make all the difference. On those fine margins are games won and lost at the sharp end of this journey. And so it was yesterday on a wicket where a single partnership was essentially the difference. Two class players making the most of a couple of run-out chances and building the kind of score that puts a huge amount of pressure on the team batting second.

In reality we were on the receiving end of the kind of performance that Bath has traditionally doled out to opposing sides in this competition in earlier rounds. On this occasion it was delivered better and more clinically than we were able to match on the day.

But look beyond the bare facts and Lloyd Davies and his team should be incredibly proud of what has been achieved this year. The skipper himself has been carrying an injury for most of the second half of the season and has delivered sparkling performances in the two previous rounds to lead from the front and set the tone. Lloyd doesn’t walk away from much and it’s a reflection of his determination and commitment that he kept coming back for more in each and every game he played. This game, unfortunately, was one too many this season.

James Brown and Will Jenkins were also carrying injuries from a long season and Simon Marchant failed a late fitness test on his back. Adam Kelly has excelled for years with the new ball and he again delivered a superb opening spell, conceding just 9 runs in his first 6 overs but he wasn’t able to carry the team himself.

Chasing 217 in the National is a challenging target and if you get behind the rate it becomes even harder. The more knowledgeable campaigners around the club will know that only too well but for this will have been a big learning curve for a very young batting line up. Robin Lett’s magnificent ton against Sunbury in the last 16 and Seb Benton’s composed 98 against Roffey were masterclasses in two different situations but were created by two guys with a number of years’ experience at this level. Joe Barrett, Tim Rouse, George Hankins and Sam Mount are players of serious talent and will have all have grown as individuals over the last couple of months. They are the future of the club and the club’s future is in seriously good hands with them.

For the others there is still opportunity, still time, to claim the prize that has alluded many great players over the club’s history. Whether or not you deserve to make the final is irrelevant, whether or not you’re good enough to get there is irrelevant. No late round of the competition is a good one to bow out as everyone wants to be there, everyone deserves to be there and everyone is good enough to be there. The difference is in the small margins. The ability to deliver under pressure. Blackheath did this superbly well and took advantage of the few small slices of luck that were available.

It’ll be no consolation right now but another tremendous cup run will have inspired another generation of younger players to take up the challenge and make their mark on Bath Cricket in future years. It has brought a great deal of enjoyment to a committed group of supporters who have followed the competition. It’s provided a platform for some of our best players to show that they can mix it with the best club cricketer’s in the country. We may have fallen short again but our boys can hold their heads high and know that they’ve represented Bath and the WEPL cricket league with passion, commitment and no little skill. 

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