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Saturday 19th May v Chapel (home)

posted 20 May 2012, 06:31 by Mike Madden
It seemed like a good toss to win, and the weather was a pleasant cold as opposed to an uncomfortable absolute freezing as we took to the field against bottom of the table Chapel. We were under no illusions as to the strength of the Chapel side as they welcomed back a number of their seasoned cricketers, but we plugged away without early success. This could have been due to the poor blowing, or it could have been due to the fact that we only had ten men, Elliott Simmonds having been locked out of his house.

The first wicket eventually fell to Colin Wild, clean bowled, but we were already in the 17th over with 61 on the board. Peter Crowley could not find his line or length and was replaced by Gibbo, but the rotund Gibson also struggled to control the ball as Chapel threatened a big score. Ben Bettney spilled a catch, the captain spilled two and Gibbo narrowly failed to grasp what would have undoubtedly been the best caught and bowled of all time, but we didn't lose heart.

One of the more picturesque sights around the ground at the moment is the herd of miniature horses that so famously deposited small piles of manure on and around the ground a couple of seasons ago. This time their entertainment was x-rated as they clearly ignored the lack of temperatures and convinced themselves that spring was in the air.

Meanwhile, Ben Stones came on to bowl and immediately brought some control to proceedings. Colin Wild took a comfortable catch in the deep to give him hist first victim, then Harry Bold took a smart stumping for his second. Ben finished with 6 overs 2 for 15, whilst Harry's stumping capped a marvellous display behind the sticks as he continues to turn himself into the club's best second team wicketkeeper. Gibbo finished with 0 for 66 off 11, and he was replaced by the erratic Ben Bettney. Ben plays with a lot of enthusiasm, and he was rewarded when the captain hung on to a catch. He eventually finished with 1 for 23 off 3, then Colin got another wicket clean bowled as the Chapel batsmen accelerated. Peter Crowley returned with disastrous effect, though to be fair there was more danger of the Chapel batsmen doing themselves an injury swinging at a variety of short and wide deliveries. Peter finished with 0 for 46 off 8, whilst Colin had 2 for 60 off 17, so as the innings closed Chapel were confident that their total of 211 for 5 would be enough. Clayton suggested that I would have to get my maiden century for us to win, and, to be fair, I did my bit!

Elliott joined me at the crease, under strict instructions that there were to be no sharp singles due to my torn cartilage, but he was bowled for 12 with the score on 20. Jake showed some promise, but he went for 7, then Harry did his usual staunch defence to good effect as the score passed 50. Harry was eventually stumped for 3, then Graham Hill hung around a bit before being caught for 1. Embarrassment threatened, but Ben Stones played his part in a half century stand with the captain. The skipper passed his 50, then accelerated rapidly, reaching 3 figures before seeing Ben stumped for 0. Gibbo did not last very long before he was bowled for 0, then Peter Crowley suffered a similar fate for 1. Ben Bettney scored a single off the last ball of the innings, leaving the captain unbeaten on 114 and the score on 151 for 7. The captain was quite rightly praised for a magnificent effort in scoring 75% of the Whaley runs, but questions must be asked of the more senior players who didn't exactly give the scorers a hard time.