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Saturday 1st September v Hazel Grove (away)

posted 2 Sep 2012, 06:37 by Mike Madden
Its always a pleasure to play at Hazel Grove, and this match was no exception, although the result didn't quite go the way we had planned. With Fid drafted in late it was a good toss to win as we had a very strong bowling attack against league leading Grove's suspect batting, however when the coin fell on the wrong side and we were put in to bat I feared the worst. The pitch was slow and stopping, and Peter Crowley had a narrow escape when the bowler just failed to take a return catch. Learning from his mistake for all of an over, Peter fell caught and bowled for 8. The captain struggled with his timing, and his back that was tweaked trying to smash a wide beyond the railway line and failing to connect. He was caught behind for 27, whilst Harry Bold and veteran Nick Lathan were bowled for 8 and 3 respectively. Ben Stones was stumped for a first ball duck, then Ole Madden, on his debut, joined Gibbo and there was something of a revival. The score progressed from 48 to 60 before Ole was harshly adjudged lbw, then Ben Bettney entertained the crowd before being bowled for 2. Gareth Preece, another making his debut, was bowled for 1, then Gibbo, on 8, gave a skyer to the Grove captain that he gratefully accepted. Colin was bowled for 3, leaving Fid not out on 1 and our total on 69 all out.

It didn't look to be enough, however the Grove batting was known to be flaky under pressure. Unfortunately the pressure failed to tell, and they got off to a good start. When things are not going your way you can always rely on Peter, though not always for his cricketing prowess. On this occasion he chased the ball to the boundary, looking like he might intercept it about ten yards too late. As the ball crossed the ropes, Peter dived full length, some five yards to the left, and with absolutely no hope of touching the ball either before or after the four had been recorded. We continued in vain, and Colin was replaced after bowling 6 overs for 19. Fid, having changed ends, finally struck, as a surprised Gibbo clutched the ball from a very disappointed batsman. Ben Stones came into the attack, and Colin had the chance to get us our first point of the day but spilled it. He made amends a short time later, as he clutched two in two, both off the impressive youngster. Fid finished with 1 for 12 off 7, whilst Gibbo was tight but ineffective as he bowled 4 overs for 10. Peter sent down 2 overs for 5, then Ben took his third wicket after a catch by Rigger that gave us our fourth wicket and second point of the day. Ben finished with 3 for 3 off 4 overs, and it was left  to the never dull Ben Bettney to finish the game with a wide (or no ball - it could have been both), and a bye, as Grove won by six wickets. There were several positives to take out of the game, Ole Madden batted sensibly for his 5 runs, Zac Madden proved to be more than a match for anyone who attempted to assist him in the scorebox, Ben Stones turned the promise he has shown into something tangible with his three wickets, and I won the Hazel Grove fundraising card and left £15 better off!
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