Fine start to the season for Brian Blessed and his men
A glorious morning over North Leeds signalled the start of the 2012 cricket season. But, as with so many things in life, the weather was far good to be true, and as the teams turned up at midday the heavens opened with hailstones the size of Craig Dodsworth's...(shall we say fist?) falling onto the pitch. Fortunately though, the sun came back out and a sterling effort from the troops meant that play started shortly after one o'clock with no overs lost.
What was lost (no surprises here) was the toss, with new skipper Chris Horsfall picking up exactly where Mark Robinson left off last year, Adel inserted on a green wicket. New glove man Hugh 'Hefner' Coles opened up with Jerry Stringer, and they both looked reasonably comfortable until they were out in similar fashion, snicking off and being held well at slip. Simon Wardley and Naeem Khan steadied the ship, but scoring runs was as difficult as you would expect on an early season wicket following a week of rain.
The two men took Adel up past 100, with Wardley playing beautifully to bring up yet another 50 in Adel colours. When Khan was finally out in the 30's and Wardley in the 60's, the platform had been well and truly set for the middle order powerhouse to put a big score on the board. Unfortunately, Bath, Dodsworth and Pratt all failed to get going, but the skipper struck some glorious blows (including losing 2 balls in an over) to make an unbeaten 46 and steer the home side up to 198.
At the interval, there was some degree of confidence in the Adel dressing room, not least due to the fact that Steeton were muttering about demons in the pitch (which doesn't say a huge amount for their bowling since they'd just gone for nearly 200). And, despite not losing early wickets, the away side really struggled to score runs. With the pressure building Adel atarted to make inroads, with Richard Mumford and Sam O'Sullivan both picking up wickets. Mumford and Jeff Shires continued the good work to leave Steeton in deep trouble at 35-5. From then on in it must have been an incredibly boring game for the observer (as it was for most of the players) as the batters shut up shop to try and salvage a point whilst Adel continued to chip away. A couple of poor fielding mistakes, including a shocker from the otherwise impeccable Hef and a bad misjudgement from Pratt, meant that the reigning champions were unable to pick up maximum points. They did however restrict Steeton to under 100 for 9, an outstanding effort for the first day of the season.
An excellent start to the season for the Horse and his boys, although with 5 other teams winning their opening matches it means that Adel are only 6th in the table. There are areas to improve, but it was a very encouraging opening to the campaign.
Champagne moment: Wardley's 50. Just class. Also some good dressing room banter - ask Jeff to see Rafa Nadal getting cramp in an interview. I also don't feel I've made enough of Hefner's dropped catch, it was bad enough that really we just had to laugh.
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