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2nd XI v Hollingworth (home) Saturday 13th August

posted 15 Aug 2011, 04:41 by Mike Madden
In a scene reminiscent of Whaley Bridge’s farcical trip to Hollingworth in the reverse fixture, the arrival of Hollingworth seconds was sporadic to say the least, as cars were lost in Dove Holes and other cricketing outposts en route to New Horwich Park. “We’ve a couple of Asian lads who haven’t played much” was the ominous admission of the visiting captain, less concerning was their decision to bat after winning the toss. Peter Crowley took the new ball with Colin, and our secretary got an early breakthrough as Reuben Cutts took a very confident catch at mid on. In came Hussain, who shall forever be known as the legendary Hollingworth number three. The newness of his kit may have been a giveaway, but after a few nervous prods he started to play some cricketing shots. Colin was given the nod that his 8th would be the last over of his spell, and this spurred him into life. He took a good return catch to get rid of Hussain, then he disturbed the stumps of his next victim as Hollingworth slumped to 35 for 3. Two runs later the stubborn opener was run out after a diving stop by Rob Hill that was well gathered by Harry Bold behind the wicket. The batsman was well short, and we were well on top. Unfortunately, we then managed to accumulate a number of dropped catches. Graham Hill was the prime culprit, doing an impression of Superman as he completely misjudged one on the boundary, and then running around several more in the outfield, but he was not alone. Rob also spilled one in the deep, whilst Scholesy dropped a difficult return before letting one thud into his chest at deep midwicket. Reuben gained his first ever wicket for Whaley Bridge seniors as captain MMM took a juggling catch that cut his pinky, then Rob held on to one at close range off Gibbo. Rob capped a fine effort in the field (his one aberration excluded), by dismissing the Hollingworth danger man, again off Gibbo, then Colin returned with avengeance. His next victim was clean bowled, then Harry Bold took an easy catch off Gibbo. We entered the last over with Hollingworth 9 wickets down, and four balls later it was all over as Colin took his fourth wicket, and his third clean bowled. 125 all out did not look to be a particularly challenging target, but it should have been 30 or 40 less if we had held our catches. At tea the umpire took a tumble, but everything else went down well, and I opened with Nige Morten. It was a steady start against some good swing bowling, interspersed with Hussain chirping up from mid on after virtually every ball. It could have been an appeal, a congratulatory comment, or a results roundup from the opening day’s Premier League fixtures, but it was impossible to tell. Needless to say, he was apopleptic when I was caught on the edge for 20. Rob Hill and Nige took the score past 50 until Rob was caught behind for 18, then Harry joined the fray. Hussain was particularly complimentary/controversial with our young wicketkeeper batsman, but Harry was unperturbed. Nige was caught for 41 with the score on 97, but even when Reuben was given out lbw for a duck we were still confident. Peter Crowley, demoted to number ten after a poor season with the bat and the softener of opening the bowling, spent most of the innings at the scorebox, no doubt confident that his pads could remain safely tucked away for another week. As the runs ticked down, Harry gained in confidence, eventually being bowled for 23, which left TR Wild and Scholesy at the wicket. Scholesy was a nervous wreck compared to the serene late cuts of our Chairman, but it was well deserved when the ginger one struck the winning runs to give us a 5 wicket victory, and maximum points. There was warm applause from the visitors, with Hussain helping the now recovered umpire up the steps before giving young Harry a hug for good measure. There are many out there who used to dislike playing against Hollingworth, but I for one would like to congratulate their seconds for playing the game the way it should be played, something that they have been doing for quite some time. And we all look forward to next season’s fixtures, particularly if Hussain will be putting in more appearances.
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