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3rd team v Broadbottom and Hadfield

posted 28 Jun 2011, 05:01 by Mike Madden
My thanks to Elliott Simmonds for the following reports, and whilst Elliott does not yet warrant his own "Are You Shaw?" type page, there is certainly lots of promise. Incidentally, if Elliott was to be given his own page, what would it be called? "Elliott you into a secret" perhaps?
 

The last week has arguably seen two of the closest cricket matches Whaley Bridge have played in for a good while. Whaley Third team is a little known, and in all fairness little known about entity. Somehow, over the last week, we have managed to retain our ‘undefeated’ title. This is the story – not really a match report per se (I can’t remember what happened for the majority of the game) – of the most recent games.

 

Last week, against Broadbottom on the 19th, Elliot (Captain for the day due to Peter Crowley’s long standing and well-documented injury) announced that we would win the match on our fielding. In the event, we fielded atrociously and actually only managed to tie the game due to a quick-fire 70-odd from Slacky, and what can only be described as a heroic stand by John Hitchen. I say again, John Hitchen, a man who hadn’t actually played cricket for three seasons and who’s position as number 11 in any cricket team, regardless of recent experience, was infact decreed in the little known 11th Commandment. Facing the Broadbottom pace attack, John blocked out 6 overs and scored a much needed six runs – all of which came through third man. Slacky, having smashed the ball to all corners of the ground, chose the time when the scores were level to get the lightest of tickles and was duly caught behind. We had managed, against considerable odds, to tie a game we should probably have won.

 

So, with this memory close at hand, we arrived at the Jodrell Arms and prepared to make our way to Hadfield. - a ground which, despite having played there only 8 days prior, Elliot could not remember the way. Scholesy was just letting the team know what he thought of this when he was interrupted by the arrival of John Hitchen, who lives in Hyde. Having been informed that we were not, in fact, playing at ‘Buggy or somewhere like that’, and following a few ‘shi*ts’, a couple of ‘I could have f**cking walkeds’ and the arrival of the now fully healed Captain, we set off. Caddy and Scholesy leading a convoy that not only included Jake Drayson’s moss-green Corsa, but now contained John’s lime green Vauxhall Tigra.

 

Our arrival at the pitch was preceded only by the arrival in the Captain’s mind that not only did we lack a wicket-keeper, we also lacked pads. Elliot volunteered to do it and was provided with pads the size of shin pads by the opposition; which were by the end of the first innings covered with blood. We won the toss and, on one of the hottest days of the year so far, elected to field. Caddy was wearing a jumper.

 

We started well, with the ball finding the edges often but falling short of fielders and the make-shift wicket keeper. Matt Slack seemed determined to vary his pace with each ball, varying between gentle medium and his full first-team run up. In all honesty, the heat was clearly making some of us delirious – Sam Slack managed to bowl one of the opposition round his legs, and then Peter decide the time was right to bring on Dec.

 

It was an inauspicious start, with the ball gently looping and turning perhaps a couple of degrees at most off the course it was taking prior to pitching. However, in the second over a well disguised googly dipped and, most unlike every other ball of the day, bounced considerably. The batsman was out of his ground and looked for all the world like he would be on his way back to the pavilion – and most likely would have had the wicket keeper been prepared. Caddy picked up the ball, which had hit the Vice-Captain’s shoulder, and apologies were made. Dec, much like a dog with his head out of a car window, just looked happy to be bowling.

 

The two Johns (Stanway and Hitchen) both bowled well, and the VC remains convinced to this day that he should have had a victim from the bowling of John Stanway. It was a loud, lonely and rather laughable appeal as far as the majority of both teams were concerned. Jake Drayson guffawed at mid-wicket. Somewhat amazingly, having only bowled 24 balls John Hitchen was at one point down the score book as having finished his allotted overs. Scholesy bowled fantastically - so well in fact that Peter Crowley wanted to have him change ends. This was luckily not the course taken and, still bowling from the same end, Andrew bowled a short, wide delivery that sat up and was slapped straight into the waiting claws of Mr Crabs – Dec for those of you who don’t know his nickname. Dec came back on and got two in two with two straight balls, and then decided to veer from this tactic with his hat-trick ball, which gave the batsman little trouble from three feet outside leg stump. John Stanway finished the innings with two in two, and so will be on a hat-trick for his first ball at Tintwistle on July 17th.

 

Eventually the Hadfield innings ended on 116 – a fantastic effort by the Whaley bowlers that had given us more than a chance of finally getting one in this year’s win column.

 

Caddy and John Stanway opened, and were greeted by a 13-year-old wicket keeper who talked so often and so loudly as to have conceivably been closely related to a certain EX-member of the Selection Committee (or so I’m told). The majority contributed in some way with the bat, although both Elliot and Matt Slack found fielders. Jake Drayson, batting at number three, played well and kept the runs ticking – recognising the fact that we needed a mere three an over and didn’t need to do it in a quarter of the time. He eventually fell for what was apparently 20, though it seemed (and could well have been) a few more given the earlier incident with John Hitchen’s bowling figures.

 

Sam Slack tried to continue where he left off for the Second team, but when he couldn’t produce the same heroics, we were left with Dec at the crease and an apparently unflustered John Hitchen strolling to the wicket. Working on the solid basis of ‘Block if it’s on the wicket, smash if it’s off’ John got his bat – or at least some part of his body in the way of his first 4 balls. The end of the over saw us needing 8 to tie, 9 to win. Dec hit a six with the first ball of the next over, and then proceeded to take a single with the third, leaving John requiring 1 to tie, two to win. The first ball was apparently off the stumps, as John took an almighty swing and even managed to make contact – the ball landing agonisingly close to a diving fielder in mid-wicket. It should be noted that on later questioning, John admits the ball pitched ‘a foot or so outside off stump’. Luckily, the young bowler over-stepped on the next delivery allowing Scholesy to call a no-ball and ensure us a tie and whatever points are associated with that at third team level. John blocked out the rest of the over, leaving Dec requiring one to win with 12 overs to go. The first ball was up in the block hole and, though it sounds rich coming from the present author, logic would dictate that with 71 balls to follow it (and thus 71 more opportunities for Scholesy to find a no-ball) a batsman should have taken a leaf out of the Peter Crowley Cricketing Handbook – page 2, the page after ‘Leaving’ – and played a forward defence. In all fairness, it could be said that Dec thought the necessary pause afterwards would have consumed all of the remaining overs, and that is perhaps why he attempted to hit the ball in to the Nursing Home just over the fence.

 

That said, there were some positives. Scholesy actually thought we’d lost so it must have felt like a victory to him in some way, and John H remains without an average after his first two games. This must mean that he at least has been reading the Peter Crowley Cricketing Handbook, which brings sales of that volume up to two including the one which Neil Shaw bought and burned following his recent article.

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