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Saturday 18th May v High Lane (away)

posted 19 May 2013, 13:38 by Mike Madden
High Lane is generally regarded as wet, and when conditions elsewhere can be described as "wet", High Lane is likely to be a quagmire. Those grey skies were in evidence again, but as we passed through the High Lane "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here" jungle and pulled into the car park we were pleasantly surprised. The wetter parts of the outfield were roped off outside the boundary, the covers sat proudly atop the nearest High Lane ever get to a dry wicket, and the water hogs grunted and squeaked as their bellies were filled before being unceremoniously emptied beyond the playing area. The game was definitely on, all we needed was a favourable toss to allow our strong bowling attack to dismiss the home side cheaply. Unfortunately fate conspired against us, and we were asked to bat. With the ball moving about, the pitch occasionally but alarmingly keeping low, and batsmen 3 to 7 all qualifying for the under 15s, we feared an early finish. The captain opened the innings with Ben Williams, and after a sticky start the score began to build. The fifty partnership was signalled with a small ceremonial touching of gloves, and eventually the captain was bowled for 45 with the score on 63. Ben Stones looked confident, and the two Bens progressed nicely until Ben Williams was caught and bowled for 22. Ole Madden was caught for a golden duck, whilst Ivan fared little better, being bowled for 1. The ex first team bowler McCarthy was causing havoc in our middle order, and he eventually had Ben Stones caught for 9. Bruce Glover looked accomplished as he joined Ethan Williams, but when Ethan was bowled for 3 and Simon Hunt was bowled for 9 we had barely reached 100, Colin swung the willow with limited effect before he fell for 7, then debutant Kieran Connell went for 0. Bruce started to hit out, eventually being caught for a stylish 9, leaving Fid not out on 0 and the total on a challenging 118 all out.

Tea was a splendid affair, with High Lane being generous and friendly hosts, whilst Colin questioned the appearance of a new ball. Confidence overcame practicality, and the new ball was presented to Zeus, supported by Fid. The increasingly grey skies showed a flicker of light grey before reverting to the dark, pendulous, charcoal variety, and our seamers took full advantage. Fid bowled the admirable James McCarthy for 1, then Colin removed the other opener for 2. At 9 for 2 the opposition tried to fight fire with fire, but the captain pulled off a stunning catch at wide gully to give Fid his second victim (no, seriously, it was stunning - read the Captain's Blog if you dont believe me). Fid claimed his third victim lbw, then Colin took a smart return catch. When Fid bowled his fourth victim the score was 43 for 6, and Ben Williams got in on the act with a wicket clean bowled, finishing his spell of 4 overs 1 for 7. Ben Stones bowled 3 tight overs for 6, but the score was inching forward. Ole Madden bowled one tight over, but then two loose balls were punished as he finished with 0 for 16 off 2. Bruce Glover bowled a good line and length, getting his reward with a return catch to finish with 1 for 4 off 3, whilst Ethan Williams bowled just 1 over for 4, gaining a tremendous reward as his dad clutched a catch that, to be fair, he daren't have dropped. At 93 for 9 the game was still in the balance as the opening bowlers returned. They strained every sinew, missing the stumps by inches as the batsmen continued to approach their target. After some very sensible batting it was eventually a suicidal run, instigated by the normally level headed Mark Varley, that got them over the line. Colin finished with 2 for 29 off 13, whilst Fid bowled like a Trojan as he took 4 for 37 off 14.1. A tie would have been a fairer result in a game played in exceptionally good spirit, but it was not to be, and special mention should go to Kieran Connell making his debut behind the stumps. He gave away just a handful of byes on a difficult pitch with lots of movement off the seam. The seconds move on, happy in the knowledge that the learning process goes on for the six juniors that played, and on another day we could have won the game. And of course, they all witnessed "The Catch"!