It’s not just NatWest T20 Blast stars who can face down the pressure of a final over to complete an improbable chase and record the unlikeliest of victories. Village cricket team Dorchester-on-Thames did just that in an astonishing Oxfordshire Cricket Association Division Four clash against rivals Swinbrook this weekend.
After Swinbrook had reached 240 from their 45 overs, Dorchester were 206/7 with just six balls left.
And as the summer sun beat down in the idyllic setting of Swinbrook Cricket Club, by the River Windrush in Oxfordshire, the Dorchester batsmen could be forgiven for thinking only about the post-match refreshment.
But club veteran Steve McComb had other ideas. The 54-year-old was unbeaten on 66 as he took the strike against Mihai Cucos for the final over. They needed 35 runs to win. Somehow, they managed it!
The first delivery was a no ball that McComb gleefully pulled for six. He followed up with another maximum next ball, effectively taking 13 runs from just one legitimate delivery.
But the bowler responded well, sending down a yorker that McComb failed to score off. That didn’t last long, though, as the fourth delivery was dispatched to the rope for four and the following ball went the same way… and was called no ball, too.
Still three deliveries to come and just 13 more runs needed. Time to start believing?
McComb smacked back-to-back sixes from the next two balls. Suddenly the scores were level with one more ball to come...
Block it out and take the tie? No chance. McComb danced down the track and hit the fifth six of the over to win the game and bring up his century!
Captain Adrian Redhead said: "We were dead and buried apart from the last over! We didn’t think we had any chance of winning, we hoped but we had less than 1% chance. The bowler is actually not a bad bowler and had got Steve out a couple of times previously.
"After the second ball went for six, we started to think 'It can’t happen, can it?' It was just brilliant.
"Steve’s known for big hitting. To be honest, he can’t really run, he just about hobbles with his arthritic ankle."
The feat is even more impressive as many of the 'Dorch' first team were at Wantage Road to watch the NatWest T20 Blast clash the night before!
"We did celebrate quite a bit after the win but we’d been out watching Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Blast the night before and had come straight from there to the match the next morning, so there were a few sore heads around.
"Steve had barely slept a wink!"