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Whaley Bridge 2nd XI v Compstall 2nd XI (home) Saturday 30th May 2015

posted 31 May 2015, 13:58 by Mike Madden
With a strong bowling attack and a wet wicket, all we needed to do was win the toss. Sadly we didn't, and we were put in to bat against a confident Compstall side. The captain and Peter Crowley were circumspect in the early going, but gradually a boundary or two appeared. With the score on 40 the captain was caught for 24, but it was a good platform and we just needed to consolidate. Ivan Heathcote was in next, and he was out lbw for 0. The score was still on 40, but Will McIlveen came to the crease still without an average after two tremendous unbeaten knocks so far this season. He was caught for 0, giving him an average of 107, and at 46 for 3 things looked a lot worse. Harry Elms came in and bludgeoned 35 impressive runs. He was dropped several times, but he hits the ball hard and chances tend to be difficult, When he was finally caught we had a succession of inexperienced youngsters, and the innings got bogged down. Will Weston was caught for 4, then breaths were held as Oli Prior made his way to the middle. Oli was on a run of three successive ducks, and in his first over he was dropped twice, There was a huge sigh of relief as he sneaked a single, but it did not last long as he was lbw for 3. Sam Johnson dropped anchor, naturally expecting the far more experienced opener to take up the reins, but salvation came from a totally different place as two consecutive wides went for four. Peter was still defending when he was bowled for 39, and this brought in our second man without an average. Colin Wild didn't hang about, claiming an average of 48 as he was bowled for 0. Gibbo scratched around and supported young Sam, but as has been somewhat inevitable in recent times, he was bowled for 1. Ed Kitchen faced two balls for four and two to finish unbeaten on 6, with Sam Johnson not out 5 and the total on 144 for 9. We had claimed two bonus points, but the score always looked 20 or 30 short of a realistic target.

Tea started with a lesson in etiquette as our youngsters were in the nets as the Compstall players left the field, but then we took up our positions as Colin steamed in. He took a wicket as Will McIlveen claimed the catch behind the stumps and we were on our way. Will Weston struggled early, but Ed Kitchen showed masterful control at both ends. He was switched when Peter Crowley, who had bowled an odd good ball interspersed with beamers and long hops, complained that he could not bowl because of the hole that was evident at the road end. Enter into the fray Andrew Gibson, who after two deliveries was puffing and panting like a legendary Shetland with Asthma. Another delivery later he simply dropped the ball, perhaps a cunning ploy to get his breath back. We were fielding well, with Ivan showing massively improved levels of concentration, but he almost lost it when he witnessed a real tortoise and hare moment, Gibbo chased a ball at mid off, setting off with about a 40 yard head start over Peter Crowley for a ten yard chase. Peter passed Gibbo with still five yards left to the ball. The humour of the occasion overshadowed the sadness of the decline of this once mediocre athlete, but we continued. Harry Elms came on and bowled tidily, but the Compstall score had passed 100. Colin came on and struck with a wicket thanks to a fabulous catch from the impressive Sam Johnson, giving us our first bowling point. Will Weston came back and bowled with fire and brimstone. He took a wicket clean bowled, and then with his next ball he got an lbw decision, He couldn't manage the hattrick, but he did claim another scalp clean bowled. Gibbo was brought back to keep it tight, but he fed the batsman to take them within 2 runs of victory. Oli Prior had the thankless task of giving them the winning runs, and we lost by 5 wickets with 16 balls to spare. It could have been closer, but when we rely on so many promising juniors, all of whom have put in encouraging performances this season, the seniors really need to up their game and that is simply not happening. With the exam season about to end we should be able to field stronger sides in July and August, but next week is our bye week which will leave us even further adrift at the foot of the division.