9th July 2011 - Match Reports.

Barnards Green 3rd XI vs Stourbridge Social

BGCC 1sts vs St Georges's

 The game began very badly for the Green, with stand-in skipper Kevin Ratcliffe losing yet another toss and having to pick his order from the incomplete squad who had located the ground in good time. Facing a patchy wet pitch and the hostile seam attack of Ahmed and Riaz, he and Hill found life painful, but they dug in for the first crucial overs and then began to accumulate. Ratcliffe (10) sweetly clipped a full toss onto his stumps, bringing errant latecomer Baddeley to the crease. After further good progress, with several punched boundaries, Hill (18) broke his recently refurbished bat and, finding no middle in the Price heirloom that replaced it, slapped a higher full toss straight back to Riaz (51-2).

Adam Greaves, not the only Green player injured or recuperating, arrived for a long and well-judged innings. Baddeley (24) played a full part before he was plumb LBW, and then Roger Thompson, surviving a tense start, scored rapidly with Greaves as the Stourbridge change bowlers could not maintain the initial high standard. The pitch greatly eased as the game wore on, so that the balance of advantage was unclear even with the Green past 200 and going strong. Thompson was well caught for a 75 replete with drives and pulls, and the Metcalfes senior and junior swung merrily, keeping Greaves company as he finished unbeaten on 97.

Stourbridge had passed 300 the previous week and were unintimidated. Fisher and especially Hutton lost no time in deploying their own drives. This week Hill wanted not dot balls but wickets, top-order wickets at almost any cost while the ball was new. Hutton had just flicked a savage 6 over square leg, but fatally looped a pull in the same direction to the alert Clive Churchill. Then Fisher, immediately after being dropped at slip, was bowled by a cutter of excellent length that broke the bails. Hill had no further joy despite many close calls, and was battered through mid-off and mid-on for a few boundaries, but he had done his essential work and the door was open. 

Jack Cullity struggled with the right line bowling uphill, but persuaded Ali to clip a legside ball behind to keeper Perkins. Churchill, replacing him, was not afraid to offer varying length and width, and made a dramatic impact. Stourbridge continued to play aggressively and seek the win, but too many batsmen failed to hit the wide ball either well down or well up. Cullity took two straightforward catches, and first ball after drinks Baddeley took a vital steepling top edge at midwicket; Churchill also claimed an undoubted LBW in his 4 for 26. 

With Hill retired to the uplands after his long spell, and the late-order batsmen showing signs of common sense and obstinacy, Thompson tried a few overs and produced a startling one-handed caught-and-bowled. Then Ratcliffe, inspired where other captains might have been cautious – and regular skipper Dick Brown was watching with glee from the pavilion – introduced Price's spin to sensational effect. With an LBW first ball, and the last man's bails clipped two balls later, Price had 2 for 0 and the Green had won by a distance. Every player was strongly involved in a good team effort: an away win against the league leaders, with the initial odds heavily against.  

Barnards Green 273-5 in 50 overs (Greaves 97 n.o.; Thompson 75; Ahmed 4-67)

Stourbridge Social 108 all out in 32.3 overs (Churchill 4-26)

 

Missing skipper Tim Williams and all-rounder Tom Poole stand in skipper Adam Binks had no hesitation in inserting eleventh place St George’s for their trip to North End Lane.

With a pitch that offered pace and carry to McEwan in particular this looked to be a good decision however despite the early wicket of Mathur bowled by the big Kiwi the visitors looked comfortable as O’Keefe and Zaheer saw off the new ball with relative ease.

The vital wicket of O’Keefe was captured by Ford well caught by Clarke at mid off for 26. Zaheer was the next to go to returning spinner Chris Smedley for 40 giving the home side a vital breakthrough before the drinks break.

The Green were then forced to toil as Chandla and skipper Miller put together a sensible partnership with Chandla the aggressor making 50 from 49 balls and Miller 54 from 73.

Relatively regular wickets in the second half of the innings stemmed the flow of runs and made it difficult for the visitors to accelerate with McEwan returning to pick up figures of 4-52 and Harris bowling an economical final spell. St George’s posting a score of 237 from their 55 overs.

Adam Dovey and Kev Golder started well in reply with both players comfortable until a change in bowling led to Davies capturing the wicket of Golder bowled for 34, Harris joined the elder Dovey at the crease and looked supremely comfortable cruising to 30. The distraction of persistent rain perhaps led to his demise as he fell for 31 again to Davies. The rain subsequently took the players from the field with a delay of an hour accounting for 10 overs lost. Upon the resumption Ford (55) joined forces with the increasingly fluent Dovey(84) in a brilliant hundred partnership which took the Green to the brink of victory.

Byram returned to the attack to first break and then destroy the Ford/Dovey partnership and with overs running out and rain falling it was left to McEwan who scored a quick fire 21 from 9 balls and Wheeler to see the Green home with just 3 balls of their 45 overs to spare.

This week sees the First Eleven travel to Studley to tackle the first game of the second half of a season which sees them enter the run in 17 points clear of Brewood in second place.