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Saturday 30th July v Hazel Grove (away)

posted 7 Aug 2011, 04:33 by Mike Madden
If Whaley Bridge were going to have an affair with another member of the league, who do you think it would be with? Not Chapel, for obvious reasons, and not Buxworth as that would be almost incestuous. Hayfield is very pretty, but their recent acquisition of Neil Woolley to bolster their second team ranks rules them out too, which leaves us with our friends from just off the A6, Hazel Grove. The love in continued as we visited the picturesque ground at the side of the railway, and on a hot day we were more than happy to win the toss and bat first. Myself and Callum opened, and with the previous week's disaster in mind, it was a cautious start. Unfortunately, Callum was run out thanks to a direct hit for 7, and the collapse was under way. I was caught for 29, closely followed by Rob Hill who was bowled for 2, and Harry Bold who was caught for 5. One of the Grove fielders went down injured, and naturally we offered a sub that turned out to be just a little too keen. Snowy suggested that 120 would be enough, but we were still a long way from that when Reuben was stumped for 4 and Graham Hill suffered the same fate for a duck. Nick Howe's customary cameo was shorter than normal as he was caught for 0, but we batted a long way down and we now had Peter Crowley and Gibbo at the crease. Peter played his best innings of the season until he was bowled for 16, but Gibbo continued to bludgeon the ball to all parts of the ground. Colin was bowled for 2, and Fid was also bowled for 0, freely admitting that he didn't see the ball as he walked off with a smile. Gibbo was stranded on 48 not out, and we ended our innings on 123 all out, just short of the 3rd batting point, but more than the 120 that should have given us victory. Fid got a wicket in hist first over as the Grove opener played on, but that was the best thing that happened for some time. Colin and Fid were both replaced, and it was Callum who claimed the next victim by clean bowling the dangerous, though wounded, opener. Fid pulled a muscle and we Grove reciprocated with a sub, but we were struggling for wickets. Reuben bowled well without success, whilst Gibbo was the tightest he has been for a long time but couldn't send anyone back to the pavilion. Peter Crowley got a wicket in hist first over but then became expensive, so it was time for a change at both ends. Callum took over the gloves, leaving Harry free to come on and bowl. This reaped an immediate reward as he got the benefit of a tentative LBW appeal, then he struck again as the sub fielder took a very good running catch. We were still in the hunt, and when Colin returned to claim his first victim of the day, bowled, Grove were still a handful of runs short with 7 down. Peter came back on, but not before the umpire asked if he had bowled his allocation, as with his youthful features Peter must have looked like a 14 year old. Unfortunately he failed to stem the flow, and he and Colin saw Grove emerge as victors by three wickets. Afterwards, we shared in the Hazel Grove annual barbeque, and we look forward to the next episode next summer.
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