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Whaley Bridge 2nd XI v Hazel Grove (away) Saturday 26th July 2014

posted 30 Jul 2014, 04:00 by Mike Madden
It was a very young side that travelled to Hazel Grove, including no less than five youngsters who would be appearing in Under 15s Finals day the following day. It was hot, very hot, and a day when you don't want to lose the toss. We lost the toss, and it was absolutely no surprise when Hazel Grove elected to bat first. And who could blame them? On a hot day and on a good batting track, there can't be many skippers who would offer first knock to the opposition!

There was another problem, we only had 1 bowler amongst our four seniors, and Colin would be expected to carry the load. He started well enough, but it was Bruce Glover who made the initial breakthrough with a wicket clean bowled. Ole Madden came into the attack and almost immediately dismissed the dangerous Nick Heyward as Elliot Simmonds took a regulation catch behind. There was then an incident that was puzzling, if ultimately rather noble. The batsman hit the ball very hard, and it struck his young batting partner. As the lad doubled over he was somewhat surprised to hear his senior partner call for a run. Its difficult to run when you are bent double, and Ethan Williams threw the ball to Elliot with a comfortable run out on the cards. Elliot decided that sportsmanship should be the order of the day, and allowed the young lad to make his ground, despite appeals from his captain to take the bails off. Common sense prevailed as we took an early drinks break to allow the batsman time to recover, and it was agreed that Elliot should probably have run the batsman out, giving us the opportunity to bring him back when it was all sorted out, but his actions had to be applauded. I'm not sure what we'd have said if he went on to get 100, but Ole Madden lured him into a poor shot and Harry Bold took a simple catch. Ole then took his third wicket with another catch behind from the heavily involved Elliot, and we had Hazel Grove in a spot of bother. George Holden was rather expensive, as was Ethan Williams, but Ethan did manage a wicket when a full toss was hammered straight to Rob Hill who took the catch. Harry Bold came on and got an lbw decision, and Bruce Glover coolly ran out the opening bat who had by then scored 105. Will McIlveen bowled with fire and brimstone, and got his reward with a wicket clean bowled, then Bruce got his second victim, also clean bowled. There was just one wicket remaining, and when Rob Hill fielded the ball at short mid off there was a run out, but a hideous throw allowed the batsmen to make their ground. Ole Madden with 3 for 11 off 9, and Bruce Glover with 2 for 16 off 7, did most of the damage, though the 8 wickets attributed to bowlers were all taken by juniors as we restricted a strong Grove batting line up to 176 for 9.

With just three batting seniors in the lineup (sorry Col) it was still a big ask, and when Elliot was out for 8 in the first over, closely followed by Rob for 0, we were in trouble. Harry was caught for 11, bringing the unlikely partnership of Ivan Heathcote and George Holden together. Ivan smashed whatever he could, but George proved again that he is good enough to be a thorn in anyone's side. He hit 37 the last time we played Hazel Grove, and they remembered. They tried to defend his favourite shot, but with little success, and when they did get it right the catch went down. Ivan was out lbw for a fine 33, then Ethan Williams rotated the strike excellently. Ethan was bowled for 15, but Ole Madden carried on the good work, allowing George to take charge. Ole was caught for 9, and when George was caught for a magnificent 62 we were just 24 runs short of our target. The skipper was joined by Will McIlveen, and the old head allowed the youngster to take charge. There was even a three at one point, plus a cheeky overthrow, as we cruised towards victory. So who needs seniors? We won by three wickets, with all of the wickets and the vast majority of the runs coming from players who are still not allowed to vote. (I was going to say "drink" but I'd better not!)
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