After what seems like an age of hot, sunny weather, it was actually a pleasure to slip on a pullover and play cricket under cloudy skies on Saturday at North End Lane. Even more welcome, for the bowler’s union at least, was the rare sight of a green-tinged wicket although this was balanced, in favour of the batsmen, by being situated all of a spit away from one of the boundaries.
Skipper Judd Doughty yet again proved what a useful tosser he is by winning yet another 50/50 and had no hesitation in asking the Nomads team to bat first under the grey clouds. Young Eliot Hennessey (6-0-31-2) took the new ball and bowled a perfect off-stump line to pick up two very useful victims. Tom Clack (7-2-22-2) fresh from his first team outings bowled with rhythm, consistency and both in, and away, zip. Clack removed two of the top order with perfect in-swinging Yorkers and left the visitors reeling on 58-4 when he and Hennessy were rested from the attack. James Scullion (7-2-21-0) and Richard Brown (7-2-24-2) continued where the openers left off. The latter bowled with changes in pace and swing whilst the former bowled a magnificent spell of away swing which deserved more personal reward but was great for the team. The wickets continued to fall before and after the drinks break and the introduction of the spin-twins of Lewis Hooper (4.3-0-10-2) and Paul Drinkwater (3-0-8-0) did little to alter the precession. Hooper, looking pale and glassy-eyed, perhaps fighting a bug or an infection or maybe, heaven forbid, a self-inflicted illness bowled excellently whilst his senior partner bowled just as well without luck. The visitor’s innings closed on 119 all out in 34.3 overs leaving the Green enough time to begin their reply before the tea break.
Adam Croad (0) joined Doughty to open the innings and was unlucky to receive an in-swinging Yorker as the first ball he faced giving the Nomads players something to rejoice at last. James Curtis (17) joined his skipper and played some delightful strokes, particularly through the covers before being caught trapped in front of the stumps, L.B.W. just before the tea break. Veteran batsman, Adam Greaves, strode to the crease after a two week injury enforced break, to strike 16 runs off the first over he faced. A break for tea did little to halt the Green’s momentum as Greaves, in particular, punished anything short or wide of the stumps to race to an unbeaten 53 runs. Doughty, happy to play second fiddle, finished unbeaten on 39, content with the 20 point win for his side.
This result, and the way it was achieved, was a pleasure to be a part of and all players contributed across all three disciplines making life very difficult for a decent Nomads (who didn’t pick up a single point) outfit who did something similar to us earlier in the year. Well done team!
Ps. Mrs. B and the tea team you are doing an excellent job and both teams enjoyed the gateau.
Hanley & Upton vs BGCC 3rds
The Green thirds travelled to local rivals Hanley Castle with only one point separating them in the league it was as a must win fixture for both teams who had been in good form recently.The Green lost the toss and were asked to bat on a wicket known for giving assistance to the bowlers early in the game. Openers for the Green were the rejuvenated Jason Brewer and Graham Baddeley recently promoted from the fourths, unfortunately Baddeley was caught without scoring trying to pull a ball which bounced on him from Barton Matthews, Steve Alamutu joined Brewer and they struggled to score from the impressive Matthews and the tight line being bowled by teenager Tom Bottomley, they had reached 20 off 12 overs when Alamutu was caught off the bowling of Bottomley for 9, Roger Thompson struck two boundaries before he was caught off the bowling of Amott , the much improved Louis Loader joined Brewer when the score was 35 for 3 after 18 overs, slowly at first this pair brought about a revival by the time that Brewer was well caught by Naulls for a fine 79 the score was 127, Ryan Scullion strode to the wicket in a positive mood and immediately took the attack to the home bowlers, he hit a quick 22 before he was out, Loader made 33 well crafted runs until he fell to an excellent catch by Robinson, Kevin Ratliffe had made 7 when he too fell to a fine catch, Phil Spencer and Sam Spencer put on 33 runs until Spencer Senior was stumped for 20, with the help of Ian Scullion 6 no and a massive 6 from Sam Spencer 11no the Green closed their innings on 201 for 8, they were deeply indebted to another fine inning from veteran stalwart Jason Brewer whose 79 was made in the face of very difficult early playing conditions and fine bowling from the youthful home attack, where Tom Bottomley was the leading bowler taking 3 wickets for 34 from his allotted 12 overs.
The home sides reply was a complete contrast to the Green's ,the wicket had settled down and run scoring was easier off the quicker bowlers, Ryan Scullion failed to find his usual tight line and Veteran Ian Scullion was plagued with a series of no balls, the opening pair of skipper Naulls and the talented Rory Matthews were scoring at 4 an over until Ryan Scullion took a superb one handed catch off the bowling of Ian Scullion to remove Naulls for 18, Sam Spencer was brought into the attack following a long spell out with injury he bowled with pace but his accuracy was slightly out resulting in a flurry off wide's some seemed a bit harsh in respect of the leniency given in the first innings. The introduction of Phil Spencer saw the game sway back to the Green, with the help of some astute field placing's and fine catching from Aamutu,Baddeley, Loader and both Scullions, he proceeded to account for the talented Rory Matthews for 33,Thomas 6,Foley with out scoring,Robinson for 24 and Hayes for 11, the home side were 6 wickets down when Tom Bottomley joined Barton Matthews needing 65 runs for victory with 4 wickets left and the Green being favourites, they batted sensibly at first then took control by upping the scoring rate, by the time Dan Hunt had Matthews well caught by Ryan Scullion for 23 the home side only need 24 runs from the remaining 6 overs, skipper Spencer then had Bottomly well stumped for 33 and Amott caught by Baddeley for 1, Hanley needed 16 runs from 4 overs with one wicket remaining, the final pair of Lambert and the eccentric Albert proceed to scamper the runs aided by some finely placed boundaries from Lambert, the last over arrived with Hanley still needing 6 runs, Lambert scampered a 2 then struck the third ball to the boundary bring his side victory in a well contested match gaining Hanley 20 points leap frogging them above the Green in the league, a good team effort by Hanley with their youngsters showing plenty of grit and determination to win a game which was important ,and had many twist and turns with both sides having plenty of opportunities to take command of the result.Phil Spencer ended up taking 7 for 57 but was all in vain as the points went to Hanley, the bowling of 11 no balls and 14 wide's did not help the cause perhaps the Green should not be so lenient when umpiring their own innings.