Having been lampooned by certain quarters for the garrulousness and prolixity of my last match report I will keep this one mercifully short.
In glorious sunshine the Headingley T20 League XI arrived at Glen Rd in confident mood, having so comprehensively dispatched the opposition in our first fixture of the season. But there was no chance we would let the one wicket, scraped victory, in the dark at Horsforth go to our heads, and there seemed an acute awareness around the dressing room that there were still small improvements which could be made to enhance our individual and collective performances.
After a brief battle of chance which saw Captain Wyatt once again valiantly come second, HCC were invited to take to the field. Picking up from where the team left off last week, the bowlers were accurate, the fielding sharp and the intensity immense. The Cookridge batmen were never really able to get going pinned down by pressure exerted from consistently tight lines and lengths (aside from one over) and some excellent fielding. Simmy’s deft stumping and the accuracy and power of Batesy’s gun arm, rifling down the stumps at the bowlers end, quickly set the tone that that there were no easy runs on offer at fortress HCC. Cookridge finished their 20 overs 69/9, Bates the pick of the bowlers taking 4/14.
After a short interlude the tried and tested opening partnership of Simmy and Stu strode to the crease in confident fashion. On the back of Cozzie’s recent form his family waited eagerly on boundary, in exited anticipation for another Viv Richards esque innings of power and grace, ready to witness a beautiful bout of stroke-play fit for any of the world’s premier stadia. HCC were soon one down, Simmy the not out man, with family Cozzie heading home disappointed. This brought in the debutant Duncan Heath
, and HCC proceeded comfortably, pushing the score along to 40-1, with a couple of customarily lusty blows from Simmy. The rest of the HCC team relaxed on the boundary, improving their tan, feeling the job was nearly done.
However this mood was disappointingly short lived, to be replaced instead with a nauseating feeling of ‘counting chickens to soon’ for the remaining overs. The introduction of Mashood Aktar into the Cookridge bowling attack and the dismissal of Simmy for 32 cued a spectacular mid-order collapse from 40-1 to 52-7. A mixture of excellent work by the Cookridge bowlers and fielders, poor shot selection, bad luck and fading light conspired to make the hallowed Glen Rd turf as unfriendly a place for batsmen as it had appeared earlier in the match. As Wyatt walked onto the square conscious that he had made everyone wait whilst getting pads on (such was the speed of the collapse) the 18 runs required for victory looked a long way off. Eventually the target was achieved off 16.4 overs, 8 down, by means of a couple of generous deliveries, which were awkwardly dispatched for four.
Full credit to Cookridge for almost turning the result around, Headingley will be hoping to bat a lot better away at St Chads Next week.
Man of the Match – Michael Bates
4/14 and a run out.