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Whaley Bridge 2nd XI v Woodley Sunday 8th June

posted 10 Jun 2014, 05:39 by Mike Madden
Cup fever often hits the village around this time of year, but with the seconds drawn at home to 3rd Division Woodley there was the distinct possibility that this year the fever may amount to little more than a runny nose. After a week of biblical deluges Nick Latham parted the red sea that threatened to engulf the playing field, turning water into sponge and creating  a surprisingly playable pitch. Woodley won the toss, and on a wet wicket the first commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Bat First", so it was not unexpected that we are asked to take first knock. Elliot Simmonds and the captain took the aerial route, getting away with a few chances but gradually building a score. We passed 30, 40, 50, and suddenly a big total was on the cards. However, lest we forget, this is Whaley Bridge, and when Elliot was caught just before drinks for 44 with the score on 71, the plague of the Whaley collapse was on the cards. The captain was caught for 27 followed by Ben Stones caught for 2 and Ivan bowled for 6. Ole Madden and George Holden took the score past 100 until George slipped and was run out for 4, then Peter Crowley came to the wicket shortly after writing a letter to the Christians. Ole was caught for 21, whilst Jack Kitchin was over enthusiastically run out for 0, bringing Gibbo to the middle. He played on for 1, which was hardly a Revelation as it happened last time he batted, leaving Ed Kitchen and Peter to bat out the ininngs We finished on 127 for 8, a respectable score but a challenge for the fourth division David to defend against the Goliaths of Woodley. At tea the venerable pair of Susan Stones and Caddy turned Tesco's metaphorical equivalent of five loaves and two fishes into a sumptuous banquet, and we took to the field heavy of foot but confident. Ed and Peter started well, and then it happened. Peter delivered a straight ball that was even straighter as it went back at a very catchable height. Granted, it was travelling at a fair rate of knots, but a dropped catch is a dropped catch. And the batsman in question went on to score 41. But for now, we watched as the ball flew into Peter's patently unprepared hand, crunching his fingers that were not quite ready to close around it. His first signal, a hand drawn across his throat as though he was the emperor Nero ordering the execution of an insurgent rebel, was quickly followed by an impression of Bartimaeus, the blind man who could now see as his hands covered his eyes. He walked off the pitch and headed straight for the car park, suddenly remembering that he had no car and indeed could not drive, but he asked for help in getting to the hospital. None was immediately forthcoming, so he pleaded again, and unlike the apostle who denied his master three times, the second request was heeded and Peter Stones took him to get his twisted digits treated. Woodley provided a sub fielder, but it was a blow to lose one of our main bowlers. Gibbo came into the attack and struck the first blow as Gareth Hill took a running low down catch that many who witnessed it proclaimed as a miracle. Ole Madden bowled the other opener, and at 61 for 2 we had a chance. Unfortunately further wickets were even rarer that Isaiah's fine gold, and as the rain closed in the score passed 100. George Holden came into the attack with devastating effect. First Ed Kitchen took a catch that rendered the miracle of Gareth Hill redundant, and then Ivan Heathcote took a catch that had a similar effect on the miracle of Ed Kitchen. To complete the over George clean bowled the Woodley number 5, and when Elliot took a caught behind at the start of the next over we were egetting excited. A rain delay was mercifully brief, and then George took a very good catch off Gibbo to make it tense. Three to win with three wickets left, and it was just enough to see Woodley home. There were some very good performances, including the youth of George Holden and Ole Madden, which could just be the Genesis of future Whaley success, but the fielding could have been better. However, when the phrase "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" was uttered, there were perhaps only Jack Kitchen, Ole Madden (with a huge bruise) and George Holden, with stones in their hands. The Exodus to the pub was a welcome one, and of course Woodley are old school in still wanting to drink in a pub with the opposition afterwards. Shortly afterwards the prodigal son returned, and in a recovery that would put Lazarus to shame Peter showed his dislocated fingers. He will be out for a few weeks, which is much better than was first feared.
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