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Bath vs Roffey match report by Alex Muse

After beating Sunbury CC in the last 16 with a beautifully controlled chase of 245, the boys travelled to Horsham in Sussex to play Roffey CC in the Quarter Finals of the National Club Championship.

Robin Lett’s masterful 101* in the Sunbury game had been overshadowed by the news that he’d fractured his thumb at training the week after and with Adam Kelly pulled out of the WEPL Premier league game against Bristol, there was the very real danger that both men would be unavailable for the Quarter Final. However, both travelled and both were declared fit on the morning of the game, as we discovered a charming, dry ground at Roffey with a bone dry square.

Knowing that they had chased 280 in the league the day before, suggested a high scoring encounter and some discussion amongst travelling Bath fans put a par score at around 250. It was with some surprise that having won the toss the Roffey captain invited us to bat first but Lett and Joe Barrett started comfortably against two medium pace bowlers, providing the lack of pace that has historically been challenging for our top order batsmen.

A good start at 31-0 became a struggle as Lett nicked behind, Tim Rouse skied to mid off and Barrett was turned around and caught at cover off a leading edge. George Hankins came and went and whilst Lloyd Davies showed positive intent from the off, he was unlucky to be bowled off his elbow as the spin pair of Jagota and Smith bowled tightly to restrict Bath to 96-5.

Through it all Seb Benton quietly accumulated singles and unhurriedly moved to an assured 50 as Will Jenkins and Harry Rouse came in to add much needed momentum in the final 15 overs. A quickfire barrage of maximum’s from Benton took him rapidly through the 80’s and a further six took him to 98 before being bowled looking to clear the boundary once more as Bath finished on 221-9.

With runs on the board and a place in the semi-final at stake the chase was always going to be nervy and this increased straight away as a fired up Davies struck in the first over courtesy of a sharp catch at second slip from Barrett. This soon became 2 down as a leg before appeal was upheld to give the skipper his second wicket. Bath continued to bowl beautifully and took wickets at regular intervals with James Brown being particularly economical again. Amidst rising tension in the ground a 7th wicket partnership of 74 threatened to take Roffey over the line but Adam Kelly returned to take 3 of the final 4 wickets and see Bath into the semi-finals by 24 runs.

It was a pleasure to be part of another incredible game of cricket in a competition that seems to bring out the best in players. Robin’s ton in the Sunbury game was a masterclass of execution, of timing and of patience and will be remembered by all who saw it. Seb’s innings yesterday, while not reaching the holy grail of three figures, was every bit as good. The composure to stick to a game plan, to continue to accumulate in an unhurried manner, to press the accelerator at the right time and the ability to clear the fence in the last 5 overs took us from an average target to one of real value. Any time you put 225 on the board in the National you know there is a chance. We had that chance because of this innings and it surely was the difference between the two sides. Combine that with the intensity, the passion and the discipline in the field with the ball and this was another brilliant performance to match that of the two previous rounds.

Another chapter is being written in the legend of the relationship this club has with this competition. Blackheath lie ahead in the Semi-Final. We do it all again in 3 weeks!

Match report by Mike Roe

Since 1998 Bath cricket club have experienced the joy and despair of a run in the National Club Championship knock out competition. Three finals and no win has meant the desire burns brightly every season. We all know that in sport you need an element of luck, but more importantly a passionate and committed side and a team ethos that gets you through tough moments in games. On Sunday Bath overcame Roffey in an away trip to the Sussex side, inspired by their captain Lloyd Davies. Having been put into bat, Bath looked like they might struggle to get the competitive total that a hard wicket, fast outfield and hot day demanded. In the round before against Sunbury it was the heroics of Robin Lett with a 100 that got the team through. Here it was Seb Benton in his first season at Bath, with a magnificent 98, ensuring Bath set a total of 221. Was it enough? Opinions were divided at tea and no one would really know until the end of the game. Lloyd Davis has led the team superbly during this campaign and his opening spell, with an injured foot, was one of the quickest spells on show. Working on adrenalin and shear determination he quickly took the first two wickets and set the scene for the rest of the innings. The Bath bowlers executed their skills with great accuracy and energy throughout the Roffey innings. Roffey’s best player threatened to take the game away in the latter stages, but Bath held their nerve and the captains "go to" hero Adam (big bear) Kelly blew him away and another semi final had been reached, setting up an away trip to Blackheath Cricket club on 30th August.  Roffey were magnanimous opponents and their fans enjoyed some excellent banter with Bath’s veteran James Brown.

A long journey home, made longer by the inability of Rob Maggs, Cricket Manager, to find the road home, was a victorious affair. He did a great job preparing and supporting the team, but was less effective at managing his rowdy passengers!!. Other vital off field support was provided by new Cricket Director, Matt Hankins, who made sure everyone was where they needed to be at the right time, and that all the critical non-essentails were adhered to. Unlike Rob he got his mini bus back to Bath on the same day as the game. Travel arrangements to Blackheath are already underway. Thanks to all the supporters who enjoyed another memorable day. And best wishes to Lloyd and the squad for the 30th. Mike Roe 

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