Brookweald Cricket Club

Brookweald Cricket Club

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Brookweald 1st XI vs Navestock CC, 1st XI

04 June 2023 | Wasim Shaikh
Brookweald 1st XI vs Navestock CC, 1st XI

An expectant crowd, fine weather, and a beautiful setting awaited the much-hyped top-of-the-table clash between Brookweald and Navestock. Two formidable teams were ready to show the crowds a high-scoring game.

Unfortunately, the visitors were much under-strengthened and, choosing to bat first, started very slowly. With wickets falling regularly, it often seemed a case of pure survival for the visitors. Martin Denyer wreaked havoc with the ball, taking 3 wickets in 4 balls to disseminate the middle order. 100 looked out of reach, but a gutsy 40 by Firth and then a belligerent 47 by the brilliant McCarthy made more than a game of it. Navestock finished on 155, which at the drinks break seemed almost impossible for the visitors to chase.

Brookweald swaggered in and wanted to end it within 10 overs. One by one, the batsmen came in and tried to show the crowd what they were made of, but one by one they were sent back to the pavilion with their tail between their legs. At 65 for 7, the 4Bs were heading for a humbling drubbing. Their much-vaunted batting lineup was consumed by self-doubt and guilt.

In years gone by, the old Brookweald teams would have given up and accepted defeat. But not this Brookweald outfit. Much had been made of the winter training facilitated by the head coach. Often the criticism is that it makes no difference. However, this core group of Brookwealdians have a belief in the process. They have given up worrying about the outcome. They trust that when they follow the process and mentally steel themselves, they have the power to overcome any challenge. Winter training was never about technical ability, but it was about forging a collection of individuals into a formidable team.

At 65 for 7 and dead in the water, what happened next was a realisation of the winter training bearing fruit. Alfie Hedges, who spent the winter never missing a session and working fastidious on his mental game, showed the league why he may be its best all-rounder with a quite incredible 30 under intense pressure. Nerves aplenty, but also more steel than Rainham Mills.

He was, however, playing a secondary role to the match-winning Moiz. His 67 off 40 balls, with 8 fours and 3 huge sixes in what seemed like a losing cause, has to go down as one of the finest innings Brookweald has seen in many a year. He turned the game on its head and showed the crowd the power of inner self-belief. Bravo, sir!

Brookweald won, but the manner of the win will send shockwaves through the league. Never count us out. A bowling lineup that is the best in the league, a batting lineup littered with match winners, and they even have the audacity to bring in late additions such as the ever-green Martin Denyer to show that with their brawn they have brains. Thrilling and box-office stuff from the 4Bs.

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