I returned home from Croatia to the sort of baking summer stillness the weathermen had been promising us since April. The sky was a lively City blue and lacking in even the tiniest hint of malice.
It seemed that we had gone from winter to summer with nothing in between, as if the weather gods had decided that in the current economic climate they could no longer afford an item as blatantly frivolous as spring.
But then it was the weekend again wasn’t it. And so the weather changes, and we’re back to the same old rubbish.
League leaders Dinting entertained basement club Buxton, looking to bounce back from last week’s semi-final heartache, and try and regain some form, which has been decidedly patchy in recent weeks
The toss took place under non-threatening skies with the prospect of a pleasant afternoon ahead. The Buxton skipper called correctly and, disappointingly for the expectant home crowd decided to bat. The league table suggested that this could make for a short and disappointing afternoon for the Dinting regulars. Not for the first time they were wrong.
Wilson looked to his regular openers Coleman and Seville to get amongst the visitors batting line up, but frankly they bowled poorly, Coleman in particular. I wasn’t in the Buxton dressing room in during the team talk but I suspect that they just decided to go for it. And why not!!
Seville did manage one good ball to remove Marsden for a stodgy 4. Betts then came in and went for his shots and got those shots big style!! Successive 6’s off Coleman’s replacement Wyche were particularly impressive, but this approach, whilst most entertaining, was never going to last and the young left armer knocked over his off pole with last ball of his second over, otherwise the ever more infuriated Skipper Wilson would have rung yet another bowling change no doubt. 58-2 off eleven overs.
At the other end however the youngster Griffin played a most impressive innings, mixing sound defence with a determination to lay on to anything within his range.
He was not particulary well supported by his middle order batsmen however, Frohwein (J) offering up a simple return catch to Wyche for 1, and Frohwein (T) clean bowled attempting to cart Brightmore out of the ground with a truly ugly shot without scoring, and when Griffin finally fell to a neat catch behind by Gerrard off Wyche, the game had turned Dinting’s way with the score at 75-5 off just 18 overs.
Buxton now did their best to drag themselves back into contention, with Smith and Mackenzie looking relatively untroubled as they put on 33 in the next 11 overs.
Thompson’s slow left arm had replaced Wyche (3-32) at the viaduct end, and Massey took a turn from the lane end, but no great pressure seemed to be building, so it came as something of a surprise when Smith needlessly lofted a regulation Thompson ball to Wilson at deep mid-off.
With an end now opened up Dinting sensed that the innings could now be wrapped up quickly, and when Smith’s replacement Allen was clean bowled by Massey for a duck, and Mackenzie was smartly stumped off Thompson for 22, the visitors were reeling at 116-8.
Buxton’s tail then fought back, and with the weather that was to come, this period of play could well have been a defining moment in Dinting’s attempt to retain their title.
Instead of mopping things up quickly, the innings continued for a further 11 overs, Dinting’s target being raised to 148 and 45 vital minutes being used up in the process.
Thompson took a third to finish with 3-20 with the returning Seville finally wrapping things up with an edge through to the keeper. As it transpired the home team did just about have enough time to get home.
The Dinting reply began under threatening skies, and with a surprise change to the batting line-up, with Ped Seville
coming up from the lower middle-order to open with skipper Wilson in the absence of the child minding Glen Harwick.
With the dark clouds gathering over Dick’s mother’s (the chairman said “it’s the purple ones that you have to be wary of” – rather enigmatically) they set about the bowling with intent, and when the first rain break came they had already advanced to 30 in just 5 overs.
Inevitably there was much talk amongst the crowd about the night before’s Olympic opening ceremony. Well Mr Boyle, your decision to involve a cricket match was interesting to say the least, but instead of some rustic types with grass hanging from their mouths, a better representation of cricket this year would have been to have 11 players charging manically around the stadium with a tarpaulin flailing wildly over their heads as rain bucketed down on them!
The cover in place, play was suspended for 25 minutes as the rain passed over and the groundstaff and players got things in order to re-commence proceedings. 17 more minutes were possible before the whole pantomime took place again, during which the batsmen continued where they left off, and it was only a lapse in concentration from Wilson that surprisingly allowed himself to be bowled off his pads for 22. 52-1 as the threatening skies once again got about their business.
More faffing, more squeegying and play resumes once again at 5.30, but with now 3 overs lost to the weather. The crowd spent as much time craning their necks to the sky as watching proceedings on the ground from hereon in.
A superb partnership was now formed however. On this evidence young Seville has more than enough technique and ability to become a regular opening batsman, and Danny Brightmore
took on the opposition bowling superbly, being particularly brutal on anything leg side. Ped hit ten boundaries before falling for 49 caught on the edge (over the edge?) going for a maximum. Apparently it looked like a clever piece of quick thinking by the fielder, but I got the impression that he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. 80 runs had been added in just 11 overs, a brilliant effort as the darkness enclosed the ground ever more tightly.
Gerrard was promoted to 4 to get things over quickly, and almost immediately Brightmore reached his 50 off just 38 balls with yet another boundary.
The rain was already in the air as Gerrard finished things off with a towering six.
Twenty points to Dinting then, and a glance at the league website shows that the speed at which they chased down the target – just 24 overs – was vital to their points total, as yet more matches fell foul of the weather.
Buxton put up a far better fight than they did in the fixture earlier in the season but it would be a brave man to bet on them surviving the drop now.
A superb 58 not out from Danny Brightmore
was an unboubted highlight of the day, but for his excellent knock in his first innings as an opener, the Bodycheck man of the match award goes to Ped Seville