Headingley made the trip round the ring-road to sunny Crossgates for the re-scheduled second round of the Senior Evening Cup and despite reports from the opposition camp that the ground had been hit by a tsunami of unprecedented scale (in East Leeds), found a very dry square with only a couple of squelchy patches in the outfield. Skipper Clifton called correctly and HCC went out to set a total.
After Whicker was yorked by Shaw in the first over, Tony Williams and Ian Rogers set about stabilising the innings and giving HCC a platform from which to set a competitive total. After seeing us to 42 from 8 and a half overs, Ian was bowled trying to up the rate and Tony was unfortunately run out after a chanceless 23. However, with all of the team’s biff lined up to come in at 4, 5, 6 and 7, we were on course to set a decent target. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out like that with Ifty, Gazzard (shovelling one off his rubenesque hip) and Khan all falling in single figures. Only Amjad hung around, making 18, although sensible bowling in the conditions and a committed effort in the field by the home side kept him pegged back.
Skipper then entered the fray and quickly joined this year’s duck race; triggered first ball to one that might have hit another set of stumps. On the next strip. After that, only Abid showed any real resistance smearing one out of the ground with a typically orthodox heave. Crossgates bowled well keeping it full and straight and backed this up with a good showing in the field to restrict us to 89 all out, with 11 balls criminally unused.
Amjad and Abid opened up for HCC and whilst Amjad struggled to find his usual consistency coming down the hill, Abid was devastating coming up it taking 2 for 4 off his first two with catches from Stelfox (running downhill into a small padi field) and Ifty. HCC then turned to this season’s main man Ifty to turn up the heat on the home side but despite a couple of (very, very) good shouts as Hattersley seemed to be hit bang in front and very well back, he couldn’t get the breakthrough. Hattersley and Molloy then consolidated and batted very sensibly to take their side to within 11 runs of victory, taking advantage of most of the unusual amount of loose deliveries sent down. Whicker’s spin up the hill was very effective and slowed the scoring rate considerably and this, teamed with Stelfox’s wobble coming down the hill, allowed the Chairman to bowl the impressive Hattersley and then knock over Mohan and Lindsey soon after.
With Crossgates now 5 down, their number 7 not looking comfortable with a bat in his hands and a number of colts starting to pad up, HCC looked ready to wrap up the tail. Sadly, with only 5 needed, this proved beyond them as Crossgates got over the line with 4 overs to spare.
Plenty to take from this game. Performance wise Tony Williams was outstanding both with the bat and with an electric display in the field. As is the HCC way we dug in and never gave up even as it seemed Crossgates were cantering to an easy victory. However, we were comfortably beaten by a mid table 3rd Division side who delivered a better performance in all three disciplines – loose balls were punished and they bowled straighter and fielded sharper than we did. This is at least the level we will face next year and we’ve been given a pointer as to the standards we need to reach in order to compete. Plenty to work on over the second half of the season