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2nd XI v Birch Vale Saturday 7th September 2013

posted 11 Sept 2013, 13:40 by Mike Madden

Sometimes, winning the toss is not all its cracked up to be, and the visit of Birch Vale proved to be one of those occasions. We won the toss, and although over 430 runs had been scored on the same track last week, the recent rain meant we asked Birch to bat first. The fielding was not exactly spectacular, and the visitors got off to a good start. Gradually we came back into it, and when Big Dave replaced enigmatic Peter he broke through with an lbw decision. That was about it for a while, with Peter and Sam Slack in particular guilty of dropped catches. We rang the changes, but the score passed 50, 100 and 150, until eventually Colin returned and took 2 wickets after catches from Gibbo and, surprisingly, Sam Slack. Gibbo took another catch as Big Dave took his second wicket, and suddenly the prospect of 300 was reducing rapidly. A run out added to the collapse, then Colin struck in the final over as the captain took a catch. The batting had stuttered to 223 for 6, and we welcomed the three bowling points. The bowling was a sorry tale, with Colin taking 3 for 65 off 16, Peter 0 for 43 off 9, Dave 2 for 62 off 10, Reuben 0 for 22 off 4, and Gibbo 0 for 29 off 6.

After tea the chase began, with Birch Vale’s promotion rivals Charlesworth calling in to see how it was going. The captain was dropped on three, but our visitors from Charlesworth were less than impressed as Elliot was lbw for 2, Harry was caught for 7 and Peter was caught for 4. When Reuben was run out for 2 the writing was on the wall, and at 31-4 Charlesworth considered heading for the exit. The captain was still there, and he played second fiddle as Sam set out the bowling. He hit seven 4s and two sixes as he helped the score to 99, eventually being bowled for 52. Big Dave came in and managed to retain the momentum, whilst the captain calmly gave him the strike. The captain suddenly accelerated with a six and two fours, finally reaching his first 50 of the season. The innings was on track, though there wasn’t much left in the shed, and Dave passed fifty as the total approached 200. Dave was bowled for 59, and we lost Ole and Bruce, both bowled for ducks, in quick succession. Gibbo came in at 10 with the score on 197, and Birch Vale had their tails up once more. “He’s ten for a reason” was the damning indictment of Gibbo, but when they brought the field up and he smashed a four to square leg they had to rethink. The score reached 210, then 220, and with four required to win the captain was agin drop[ped at mid off. This was the last straw and the next ball was fired down the leg side for 4 byes. It was a historic 2 wicket win, and definitely a highlight of not only this season but possibly the last five!