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Saturday 23rd July 2nd XI v Compstall (home)

posted 23 Jul 2011, 11:59 by Mike Madden
The news that the wicket was almost unplayable did not go down well when we arrived at Horwich Park, however, as Oscar Wilde might say, rumours about its unplayability had been greatly exaggerated. It was a bit wet, and when we won the toss and chose to bat we were more than happy. Five cry offs had brought Caddy, Nige Morten, Fid, and Peter into the side, and against bottom of the league Compstall we were confident. We had two umpires, five scorers, two tea ladies, and a mixture of youth and experience. "Just get through the top 3 and the rest will collapse," I suggested in my team talk, and that proved to be the case. Unfortunately, the top three scored 134 between them. Although there were no dropped catches, they were helped by some of our more senior fielders adopting the Jesus approach to fielding, complete with holes in their hands. Special mention should also go to Gibbo, out of position on more than one occasion as he passed the time of day with the opposition, and then somehow managing to throw the ball behind him giving his pals another free run. Colin opened with 8 overs for just 9, whilst Fid opened up with five overs for 22. Henry kept it tight with five overs for 15, whilst Reuben Cutts was impressive with 6 overs for 24, and he proved to be our most consistent bowler early on, particularly when Callum stood up behind the stumps. It wasn't until Gibbo came into the attack that we made a breakthrough, with a straightforward catch to myself in the covers, but he was remove after 5 overs for 29. Peter inexplicably poured sawdust over a damp patch at point, an action that was to incur the wrath of the groundsman later on, then Callum came into the attack but was rather expensive, his three overs costing 21. Fid returned to great effect, getting an lbw decision and then following that up with another victim clean bowled. Pete Crowley came into the attack, and despite his first over going for 12 he stayed on. Elliot Simmonds launched a throw into Nige Morten's gloves and we had a run out, then Peter got 2 wickets, both clean bowled. Another run out came from a Callum McIlveen thrown, then Peter got us our fourth bowling point as he once again disturbed the stumps. Fid bowled the last over, and he took the 9th wicket with another catch by myself at deep gully, then he finished the innings when Callum took a spectacular one handed diving catch in the covers. 169 all out could have been so much worse, and although we got 5 bowling points, we could not have foreseen that they would be our last points of the day. There was bad news from the scorebox, as our four scorers together with the Compstall one had various scores ranging from 159 to 173. We settled on 169, and opened the batting with myself and Elliott. In actual fact, Callum was at number 2, but I managed to run him out before he had chance to face a ball. Elliott smashed  the ball around until he stepped back and was bowled for 23, and that proved to be our highest score. The innings took on a farcical note when I was run out for 15, though the only person who actually thought I was out was unfortunately the umpire. Caddy was similarly dismayed to be out lbw for 3, then Reuben was bowled for a first ball duck. Gibbo was another lbw victim to complain as he notched up just 6, but we batted a long way down. Peter confidently played his first ball to mid off, then just as confidently played an elegant leave to his next delivery. This turned out to be his last ball of the day, as the leg spinner got it to turn past his outstretched leg, ignoring his raised hands, then dropping just in sight of his astonished gaze as it clipped off stump. Henry chipped one to silly mid off for 10, then Colin did the same with the next ball. Fid smashed a four, and with a couple of wides it seemed that we might get a batting point, but it was not to be. The umpire raised his well exercised finger for another lbw decision, and we were all out for 74. After another mammoth task sorting the scoresheet out we could not muster the additional run required for that elusive point, and we left the ground with the groundsman outlined against the setting sun as he beavered away to meticulously remove every grain of sawdust that Peter had so vigorously dumped over his newly sewn wicket end.