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Saturday 15th June v Chapel (away)

posted 22 Jun 2013, 03:04 by Mike Madden
The trip to Chapel was accompanied by an ominous weather forecast as clouds gathered all around. When Saturday came, shock horror, the skies were clear. The pitch was damp, uncut and had not had much roll, but we were happy to get a game on. Winning the toss made it sweeter, though Gibbo's promised late arrival cast a doubt. We set off with ten men, and when Gibbo finally did appear his gentle stroll past the bowler toward the pavilion did nothing to brighten our demeanour. First team regular Josh Rattcliffe prefers to play with the seconds these days, so he donned his pads and set off ominously well. Ben Williams got an early lbw decision, and then our master plan started to kick in. Those of you with long memories will remember the Scottish wicketkeeper of legend on both sides of the border. Those of you with slightly shorter memories will remember rumours of many pretenders to the title of Scottish wicketkeeper, and can only imagine how good the real Scottish wicketkeeper could have been. On Saturday, all of those memories were erased as the genuine article stepped once more unto the breach. No disrespect to other pretenders to the throne, and I include Luke, Milly, Phil Crick, Tim Holden and John Firth in that assessment, Andy Stephen is the best that Whaley has ever seen (IMHO). Andy donned the gloves, and as the tardy Mr Gibson came on to bowl he took a smart stumping in Gibbo's first over. Josh continued to score well, then the combination of Gibson and The Last King Of Scottish Wicketkeepers struck again, with the ex Whaley first team opening bowling prospect giving Andy Stephen his second stumping. Peter Crowley sent down 5 bamboozling overs for 26, whilst Ben Williams finished with 1 for 15 off 4, but it was Ben Stones who made the next breakthrough. The batsman got a nick, and it was that man Sptephen again who clutched the catch. Ole Madden took a catch off Gibbo, who then claimed victims 4 and 5 with another stumping and another catch from our hero behind the sticks. The Chapel captain started to plunder the bowling as he looked like running out of partners, but it was Ethan Williams who brought him to a halt, with Andy Stephen claiming his fourth stumping and sixth victim overall. As we thunbed through the record books Gibbo completed figures of 6 for 36 with a wicket clean bowled, whilst Ethan finished the innings off when the batsman facing his first ever ball in any form of cricket discovered that he will have to wait at least a week to face his second as Ethan disturbed his stumps. Ben Stones finished with 1 for 16, whilst Ole Madden had 0 for 16 and Bruce Glover 0 for 12. Ethan's end of innings burst saw him take 2 for 4 off 1.1 overs and he is on a hattrick next week. The innings closed on 125 all out, and we had a full 10 overs extra in which to get them. 

The innings started serenely, as any partnership involving Peter Crowley is prone to do.The captain was caught for 28 with the score on 42, but 21 overs had passed. Unperturbed, we still had 34 left, but when Peter went for 15 we had used up 34 of our allotted overs, and we were just about at half way. Ben Stones was bowled for 9, Ben Williams was caught for 4, whilst Ivan, who passed Ben on his way in and asked "Are you out?", was also caught for just 4. Charlie Kitchen and Ole Madden added some fluency, and when Ole was adjudged lbw for 4 Andy Stephen strode to the crease. As well as being the finest wicket keeper WBCC has ever seen, Andy is not a bad bat, and after blowing away the cobwebs he got into his stride. Unfortunately that stride is not as fluent as it once was, and he went down injured for 11. Unable to continue, Bruce Glover came to the crease. He and Charlie inched closer, but  Charlie was caught for a splendid 19 and we were deep in trouble. Ethan and Bruce saw us through to the end of the 55th over with the total on 117 for 7. We lost by just 8 runs and the fairytale return of Andy was spoilt by a purely metaphorical wicked witch. However, return he did, and six victims in his first game for many years proves his stature. I look forward to his leg being mended and him returning again to conquer all, and so that the juniors can get used to his accent.