Won by 104 runs.
Pilgrims 221 all out (F E Taylor 39, F Hughes-Onslow 35, G Wayman 32) Claysmore Cormorants 117 all out (Nurton 4-22, Hughes-Onslow 3-26
Despite some initial reluctance on behalf of the Pilgrims to play at Iwerne Minster CC instead of an unavailable Clayesmore School, especially when the clear alternative seemed to be to play at The Upper where a record-breaking score had been posted the day before, on arrival we were met by a stunning setting and a beautiful day. The wicket itself was not quite so attractive with plenty of beak-sized holes spread across it and Fergus Taylor was therefore in two minds at the toss, especially with some new blood at his disposal and a lighter night than normal having been had by the others, but he duly decided to have a bat first.
The captain opened with debutant, current Deputy Head Pastoral at Sherborne and (whisper it) Old Millfieldian Matthew Jamieson. They both went about hitting the bad ball sweetly and Taylor F in particular got the team off to a fast start as he had been doing all week, eventually being dismissed for 39. A mini-collapse then followed as the Cormorants’ left-arm wrist-spinner, Jamie Dike, found the conditions to his liking. Some excellent ball-striking from George Wayman (32) and then Fergus Hughes-Onslow (35) ensured the Pilgrims got a competitive score of 221 all out and also avoided any need for Taylor F to decide on when to declare. Dike ended with 9 wickets to fall and bowled very nicely but the real highlight of the first innings was the outstanding lunch that Clayesmore provided in a marquee in the garden of one of the boarding houses – it really was top-notch and was throughly enjoyed by all, especially Taylor C.
The Cormorants started steadily enough with their ‘ringer’ opening up, having also opened the bowling and sent down well over 15 overs. Nurton managed to dismiss him in the 3rd over though with a well-judged caught and bowled and from then on it looked like he and Charlie Carr-Smith might take a wicket with almost every ball as the Cormorants batsman relied on very limited stroke-play. They somehow managed to survive until tea though and the game looked like it might be in the balance as we once again retired to the marquee for a lovely tea.
However, a flurry of wickets immediately after the break, mainly due to injudicious shots, pretty much put the game beyond doubt, Nurton finishing with 4-22 from his 14 overs and Hughes-Onslow bowling some decent finger spin to end up with 3-26. Charlie Taylor came on at the end to mop up the tail picking up two wickets with his deceptively-flighted pies and the Cormorants fell 104 runs short of the target being bowled out for 117. As some had suspected, although the Pilgrims’ total may have looked modest it was actually a very good score on a difficult surface and the bowlers made sure of a third consecutive victory, all making for a very positive way to go into the final night’s festivities.