13th August 2011 - Match Reports.

Brintons 1st XI vs Barnards Green 3rd XI

Barnards Green 1sts vs Brewood.

Kev Ratcliffe returned to skipper the 3rds against a much improved Brinton’s side looking for promotion. With the square standing out like a snooker table in the desert, upon losing the toss The Green were unsurprisingly invited to bat first and started solidly with Chis Hill, watchful as ever, intent on seeing off the opening pair of  Waldron and Christie. In contrast, his batting partner Graham Baddeley tried to force the pace and with a lightning fast outfield he had a measure of success before being bowled by Christie for 19. Hill plodded on, joined by Jon Lewis who looked in good touch before, with the score on 52 for 1 he fell on 18 to an astonishing one-handed catch at square leg. The Green had badly missed the batting of Adam Greaves last week and so were not unduly worried as he returned to join Hill in the middle but, the league’s top wicket taker, Lee Waldron, had other ideas bowling a three-wicket maiden.  First Hill (10) went, lbw to a ball which if scrutinised by “hawkeye” would probably have missed leg stump,  then Richard Tuck joined a game of “one hand one bounce” and was caught for a duck. When Steve Alamutu was caught at slip off the next ball The Green had lost four wickets for no runs and were in trouble. Kev Ratcliffe, the other batsman missing from last week’s line-up joined Greaves and for a time settled the ship. Both players batted sensibly and more importantly correctly, building a partnership of sixty runs before the irrepressible Waldron hung on to another astounding catch off Roberts to remove Ratcliffe for 28 and then bowled another wicket-maiden accounting for Adam Price with a vicious in-swinging yorker. Jack Cullity supported Greaves for seven overs as together they put on 34 valuable runs for the 8th wicket but with Greaves trying to force the pace, recognising the need for more runs whilst running out of partners he became the first of Stuart’s three victims, being caught for an excellent 48. With thirteen overs of the innings left Dave Price joined Cullity with the primary task of using up as many overs as possible whilst taking runs should they be on offer and, for a while, the pair were successful before first Cullity (10) and then replacing him Clive Churchill missed straight balls from Stuart to leave Price not out but The Green all out for 161. Lee Waldron finished with figures of 4 for 31 and Stuart 3 for 8.

With the ball still swinging and seaming wildly The Green took to the field confident that they could  defend this small total. Accomplished batsman, Andy Maiden opened the batting for Brintons and his innings would prove to be the difference between the two teams. Brintons had held on to some very difficult catches whilst The Green would drop Maiden three times on his way to a not out total of 92. Chris Hill removed the other opener Stuart (4) lbw, perhaps proving that decisions in cricket tend to even themselves out and he also bowled Bromley for 25 but too many balls from most of The Green’s bowlers were directed at Maiden’s legs and he took full advantage. The introduction to the attack of Dave Price resulted in a slowing of the run-rate and fellow off-spinner Jon Lewis found some turn on the green wicket, having Jones lbw, offering no shot. Switching the bowling around saw Price change ends with immediate success as he had Homer caught by Hill but at 127 for 4 and with the dangerous Maiden now well set and taking full advantage of his three lives the Green’s resistance was soon overcome and Brintons ran out easy winners.

This was a better overall  performance by The Green but still very much short of the excellent form they showed earlier in the season when beating Stourbridge Social twice, Avoncroft twice and indeed Brintons at home. The players were fully aware that they were perhaps performing a little below par and appreciated the words of encouragement rather than advice and criticism which were offered by some of the travelling supporters.

Barnards Green hosted closest rivals Brewood in a top of the table clash which saw the North End Lane outfit extend their lead at the top of the table to 27 points approaching the home straight of the season. After being inserted by visiting skipper Pearce, Dovey and Hooper made a steady start taking the score to 35 before Adam Dovey was dismissed to one of the only pitched up balls of the opening spell for 14. Hooper was then dismissed caught behind for 26 and it was left to Harris and Ford to start to build a platform for the home side. The introduction of spin in the form of Marsh and Pearce allowed the home side to nicely rotate the strike as Ford (36) and Harris put together a useful partnership of 93. Ford perished to Marsh and was quickly followed by Hennessy and Binks and it was left to McEwan to partner Harris leading into the vital last 20 overs. Luckily for the home side McEwan managed to kick on from his usual whirlwind start as both He and Harris managed to find the boundary with increasing regularity. Harris was dismissed for a near run a ball 94 including 5 sixes as McEwan kicked on to a season's best 56 off just 28 deliveries with five 4's and five 6's. The tail added some vital runs as the home side closed on a respectable 292. Guest the top wicket taker with 4-67.

After the resumption the home side knew they needed early wickets against the most feared batting line up in the league and were not disappointed as McEwan's reliability with the ball continued dismissing the first 3 batsman with the score at only 40 runs. The introduction of Ford pegged the visitors to 69-4 and at this stage Fox(65) and Wedge(26) built a steady partnership that laid the foundation for an attack on the losing draw total of 231. Despite their endeavours their respective demises both to McEwan thwarted any attempt by the visitors to reach this total and despite Harris picking up the wicket of Redrup late on the Brewood side batted out the remaining overs finishing on 206-7 with McEwan picking up 5-56. This week the First XI face Coleshill at North End Lane with wickets pitched at 1pm and admission free to all.