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Manor Put Penn To The Sword

On humid day at Church Road, the Squirrels won the toss and elected to bowl on a damp pitch following the deluge the previous evening. This decision paid off immediately with Christi Viljoen taking out the top order with some hostile bowling, despite his trousers constantly falling down, with the first four wickets. He was supported well early on by the impressive Deepak Chhabra, playing his second game for the 1st eleven. The introduction of Shozab Haider saw the dangerous Dhillon removed to leave the visitors on 61-5. Penn then dug in, and ex-Worcestershire player Depesh Patel hit 54, helped by Manor dropping him 3 times in another below par performance in the field, before Chhabra (2-32) trapped him LBW. Patel was supported well by Hudson (35) who was dismissed by Adam Rana (2-41), making his first bowling appearance of the season, leaving the vistors on 144-7. Manor were hoping to wrap the innings up as quickly as possible but youngsters Samra (19) and Sunil Patel (24) ran well between the wickets and took advantage of more poor fielding and a dropped catch. Viljoen returned to the attack to take the final wicket in the last over to finish with his first 5 wicket haul of the season (5-38), as the Staffordshire visitors reached 201. Looking back this was probably more than the hosts would have liked to have been chasing, but the bowlers were not supported as they should or deserved to be by the fielders.

Manors response began in a controlled and mature manner. With dark skies lurking, the run rate had to be maintained at 3.65 an over in order to ensure a positive draw should the game not be completed. The inevitable break in play came after 13 overs with the score on 43-0 as thunder and lightening caused the umpires to bring the players off for their own safety. Luckily for the Squirrels, only 35 minutes were lost and meant only 48 overs could be bowled in which the 202 necessary could be chased down. The openers recorded their first century partnership of the season, Jamiel (51) and Whittock (52) before they both fell to the young Shropshire spinner Samra. The necessary run rate was maintained by Prichard (16) and Viljoen (28), before skipper Peter Evans blasted 34 of just 19 balls, much to the delight of the large and boysterous Church Road crowd, this left the score on 198 for 3 with 8 overs remaining. A bizarre series of events followed which saw Manor lose 3 wickets for just one run, but luckily the winning runs were scored in the 45th over and the Squirrels recorded their 5th win of the season by 4 wickets to maintain the pressure on the top two of Brockhampton, and Wombourne who will host the Manor next Saturday in what promises to be a thriller.