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2nd XI v High Lane (home) Saturday 27th August

posted 29 Aug 2011, 06:06 by Mike Madden
As the nights start to draw in and start times get earlier, Saturday morning rain can have a dramatic effect on whether we actually play or not. With Milly crying off and a drunken Scholesy fortunately ascending to the depths of the first team, it was 51 minutes before our official start time that we got hold of Andrew Bailey to fill our team. Up at the ground, Gibbo relayed a message that it was "not bad", closely followed by a second message stating that "one end of the wicket is soaking and the square is wet". So no chance of play then! The visitors, High Lane, our opponents for the umpteenth time this season, were keen to play in their search for promotion, whilst umpire Pete "Dart" Fletcher would have been happy to get a game on no matter what the underfoot conditions. As it turned out, a bit of rolling got enough dryness into the wicket, and a cold wind and a forking Colin Wild cleared up the last few puddles, so we settled on a 1.15 start and 43 overs per side. Then it all started to go wrong. We lost the toss and were asked to bat, and the variable bounce in the lightly prepared wicket came to the fore. Callum McIlveen and myself battled bravely through it, but it took me 6 overs to get off the mark, and shortly afterwards Callum was bowled for 5. Rob Hill chipped a simple chance and was gone for 4, then Henry Holden showed the rest of us how it should be done. He smashed four fours as the score passed 50, then a misheard shout of "yes" by myself led to a run out and I departed for 27. Henry batted on before being caught for 26, then the unlikely duo of Peter Crowley and Harry Bold were at the middle. Peter's stalwart style complemented Harry's cautious approach to running magnificently for a test match arena, but eventually we had to get on with it. Peter left a looping delivery that struck him on the head before bouncing harmlessly away, and that spurred him into action. Harry was bowled for 9, whilst Peter was caught for 16 as we reached 100. Gibbo played a glorious cut for four off the pacey opener, but it was no surprise when he was bowled a short time later for 5. Reuben Cutts could have been run out as the bowler touched the ball onto his stumps, but Dart was taking evasive action and missed the whole thing. Reuben rotated the strike well, but when he played a textbook hook for 4 he unfortunately stepped on his wicket and was out for 7. This brought Clayton to the wicket, joining Bails under protest as the Brain thought that he should have batted much higher than our farming fill in. "I'll just glance this to fine leg," he announced as he prepared to face the High Lane opener, but seconds later the ball struck his pads, rolled into the crease, and still retained enough pace to dislodge a bail, so Clayton gained a golden. Comparisons with Sir Don Bradman's last innings were quickly made, until it was pointed out that Clayton would probably have to play the following week. At 106 for 9 the visitors were looking at maximum points, but Bails and Colin had other ideas. Bails stroked the ball about like a veteran, whilst Colin launched one through the covers for 4. We ended on 119 for 9, with Bails and Colin unbeaten on 9 and 4 respectively. Not a great score to defend, and there were those who thought it would be over quickly, which possibly explains Dart talking to several Whaley old boys whilst both teams were ready to start the second innings. Colin struck immediately by bowling the High Lane opener with his second ball, and shortly afterwards Gibbo could have had a wicket but Harry spilled a sharp chance behind. Callum put one down at square leg, and it seemed that it would not be our day. Gibbo's five overs cost just eight runs, but he was replaced by Reuben who kept the score down well. Callum bowled just 3 overs, as he was required behind the stumps, taking over from Harry who was our secret weapon with the ball. Henry removed the second High Lane opener clean bowled, but the score had passed 50. Harry got a few to turn without looking threatening, then Peter was asked to warm up. Curiously, he took to holding one leg behind him whilst hopping on the other one, reminiscent of a famous sketch from Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Suitably loosened, he came on to bowl and caused plenty of problems. The High Lane captain gloved one to Callum, but Dart didn't see it. The batsman appeared to have started to walk until he realised that Dart hadn't got a clue, and he admitted to being unsure as to where the ball had hit him, so "Not Out" had to be the verdict. Peter advanced towards a lofted drive, but it sailed over his head as he did an about turn and chased after it. Meanwhile, Clayton's parabolics were called upon in an attempt to dislodge the troublesome third wicket pair. Callum stared in amazement as the ball reached unimaginable heights, but the batsmen were well set and untroubled. One over for four surely justified another, but "Take a Break Roy" was like a dagger to his heart as Rob Hill was given the nod. Colin came back and took two wickets, one a good running catch by wicketkeeper Callum, and the other a return catch. When he got his fourth wicket of the day, clean bowled, Rob was stood down without actually getting to bowl, and Peter returned. He claimed a deserved wicket clean bowled, but shortly afterwards it was all over. High Lane won by 4 wickets with three overs and 1 ball to spare, but we were far from disgraced and will hope to pick up at least one more victory before the end of the season, weather permitting!