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Saturday 26th May v Hadfield (away)

posted 3 Jun 2012, 05:40 by Mike Madden
The trip to sunny Hadfield was an absolute pleasure. In years gone by that could have been part of an English GCSE exam with the instruction "list as many parts of that sentence that are factually incorrect", but not this year. Hadfield have done a tremendous amount of work on their ground, and the benefits are there for all to see. The captain hobbled out to the wicket to toss up, and when it came down tails, as had been called, he had no hesitation in opting to bat first on a track that was as well prepared as any so far this season. Unfortunately the captain fell to a sharp caught and bowled for two, which gave him chance to rest his damaged knee, but a rather pessimistic Clayton texted Tommo announcing "Mick's out - see you soon". Jake Drayson started to play his shots, but Rob Hill flattered to deceive and was bowled for 14. Jake went soon after, bowled for 16, then Harry Bold provided some much needed support to Sam Slack, the same Sam Slack that had been rumoured to be out for the season just 6 days earlier! Harry was caught for 13, but the score had moved on past 100 with the partnership of 56. Ben Stones joined in the fun, adding a resolute 12 in a partnership of 53, but Slacky was in no mood to slow down. Peter  Crowley provided an admirable sidekick as Sam reached a notable 100, and when he was finally bowled for 124, he and Peter had added 81 runs and put the game virtually beyond the hosts. Peter was bowled for 19, quickly followed by Gibbo for 1, then Colin was run out for 1 to leave TR and Clayton at the crease. Clayton charged the bowler and managed a couple of lofted twos, whilst TR nudged a single to end the Whaley Bridge innings on 245 for 9. The Hadfield innings threatened to get off to a good start, but Colin bowled the opener for 9 and the quest for 20 points was on. The captain limped between gully and short leg, whilst Gibbo replaced young opening bowler Ben Stones. Gibbo had immediate success, as the one legged captain took a catch at short mid wicket, then Peter Crowley took a catch to give the rotund twirler his second victim. Colin took another wicket clean bowled, and Peter Crowley was seen going through his ever more dramatic warming up exercises. It was perhaps a step too far as he caught the bowlers eye from cover, but his introduction into the attack produced good results. The captain struggled to get down to anything on the ground, whilst TR hit the ground far too early on many an occasion. The Hadfield dangerman, captain Rick Ball, holed out to Slacky at long off, another Gibson victim, and confidence rose. Peter struck twice, one clean bowled and the other a catch by TR Wild, to finish with 2 for 37 off 8, whilst Gibbo was replaced by the return of Ben Stones after taking 3 for 53 off 11. Jake Drayson was a little surprised to be given the call, but he repaid the crocked captain's faith by taking a wicket clean bowled in his 4 overs for 26. Colin finished with 2 for 16 off 11, but it was left to Ben Stones and Harry Bold to wrap things up. By this stage the captain could barely walk, but he managed to come in to congratulate Harry on a sharp stumping off Ben, and then again after a good catch by Harry off Ben who finished with 2 for 36 off 9.1 overs. Gibbo looked with concern at the crippled captain and asked "Are you alright?", obviously failing to observe the declining mobility of his leader over the previous 43 overs. The innings closed on 171 all out, giving Whaley a comprehensive 74 run victory, but tribute should be paid to Hadfield for providing sporting opposition, good natured hospitality and a wonderfully manicured ground on which to host the game.
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