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Saturday 14th July v Broadbottom (away)

posted 17 Jul 2012, 05:29 by Mike Madden
Broadbottom provided stiff opposition in the fixture at Whaley Bridge, but as we rolled up at the rain soaked ground it was obvious that they had a considerably weaker XI available this time. Charlie Fenton finally escaped the limelight of the Sky Sports cameras as he and Tony Heaton examined the pitch, and they came up with the conclusion that "its wet". We decided to give it half an hour, mainly so that we could try to fit Milly and Gibbo's bags in the changing room at the same time, and we eventually got under way just after 2pm, with the game reduced by 5 overs per side. The captain opened the batting with Milly, and the score was soon rattling along. The umpires seemed obsessed with the scorebox, which could explain a couple of escapes when the captain could have been stumped or run out. More shouts for caught behind and lbw were similarly ignored, but things could have turned ugly as Milly drove one straight that struck the nonagenarian umpire Charlie on his leg. He was floored for a moment, but then he got up none the worse for wear, explaining that he had been hit twice the week before. The score passed 50, and the experienced openers then started to attack. The captain passed fifty, and the opening stand passed 100, then the captain was caught for 64 and the crowd held its breath. Would the wheels fall off, as they did at Buxton? Or would Milly go on to get a majestic ton? Henry Holden clipped a well timed four, but when he tried to repeat the shot he fell to a good catch. Milly reached 50, and was then caught for 54, but with Harry Bold looking good we had reached 141 for 3. Harry fell to a return catch for 11, then Rob Hill was bowled for 2, and Reuben Cutts was lbw for a duck. 150 for 6 still gave us a chance of a reasonable total, but Ben Stones was caught for 2, and Gibbo was bowled for what is now becoming his customary duck. Colin was promoted to 10 but he was run out for 0, whilst Clayton turned for a wildly optimistic two and was run out for 1. Peter was left high and dry on 6, and we finished on a disappointing 159 all out, but it was a total that we would have happily taken at the start.

Tea was far too nice an affair as we all tucked in to sandwiches and exotic fruit, whilst Gibbo went for the more creative chipstick butty. We took to the field with Milly bellowing encouragement from slip, but the Broadbottom openers were stubborn. Henry bowled 6 tight overs for 14, but it was Colin that made the breakthrough as he dislodged the stumps. His figures of 1 for 17 off 10 didn't really do him justice, but he exerted sufficient pressure to make a difference to the rest of the innings. Reuben bowled 4 overs for 21, most of these coming in his last few deliveries, then the mercurial Gibbo came into the attack with devastating effect. Resisting the temptation to chase the ball with field changes, the captain kept Gibbo's regular field in place, and the rewards came thick and fast. The 2nd team twirler took a return catch, and then he had one of the Broadbottom dangermen caught on the edge by Colin. Colin's presence on the edge had been questioned, but the captain stuck with it, and although the catch was juggled it stuck firm, unlike at least one other, but more of that later. Gibbo struck again with an lbw decision, then Peter got in on the act with two in two, the first when he bowled the home captain, and the second when he bowled the less than happy wicketkeeper. Harry Bold stumped the other opener off Gibbo, and the last rites were being administered. The captain went down in instalments but managed to stop the ball, and it is unclear as to who was most shocked, the Broadbottom batsman who was left stranded, or Gibbo who looked as though someone had chucked him a hot pie as he clung on to the ball and effected the run out. Gibbo looked sure to get his fifth victim when a catch dollied up to Milly at deepish mid on. The first teamer set himself, sunglasses gleaming under the clouds, then juggled the ball to the ground. If Charlie Fenton's Sky Sports cameras were there they would then have shown it from another angle, with a few rain drops hitting the sun shades causing a blurring effect as Milly juggled the ball to the ground. The super slo mo showed not a breath of wind as even Milly was quiet at this point, but when the ball turned back towards the earth Milly completed its passage by juggling it to the ground. Fortunately the HD cameras were not working so we were unable to see the grass give way and the leather make an imprint in the soft earth as Milly juggled the ball to the ground. Fortunately, Gibbo made amends with a wicket off his next ball, clean bowled, then Ben Stones came on to complete the final act as Rob Hill took a spectacular leaping one handed catch that made Milly's effort look even worse. Broadbottom had been dismissed for 100, with Peter taking 2 for 23 off 5, Ben Stones taking 1 for 3 off 1, and Gibbo bowling himself into a jug (metaphorically, not physically - that would be impossible unless it was the biggest jug ever made), with 5 for 19 off 6. A thoroughly enjoyable game in this wretched summer, and one that Broadbottom played a big part in, despite not quite getting the rub of the green.
Gibbo's jug