Skipper Mark Stelfox
won the toss and invited the hosts to bat and opened with Will Clifton and Nick Saunders
, but they found openers Hughes and Hartford-Cross a talented and composed pair, Will's metronomic reliability was slightly out of kilter, and anything loose was being dispatched by the opening pair, Nick was producing the odd jaffa but Bramham & Clifford were progressing at close to 4 per over and looking relatively untroubled, Hughes offered one sharp high chance to Ash Khan but on a bitterly cold afternoon it wasn't to stick. Ifty Hussain and Abid Hussain
were brought into the attack and initially this did nothing to bring down the run rate or create a breakthrough, but after a few overs Abid settled into a rhythm and started troubling the batsmen with more regularity.
Ash Khan replaced Ifty but it wasn't looking it was to be his day either as he struggled to find the control we know he can exact, and the impressive batsmen continued to cash in on anything loose, Abid provided the breakthrough finally with the score on 75, clean bowling Hughes for an impressive 41, at drinks Bramham & Clifford were 94-1, and it with no disrespect to the B&C openers who had batted brilliantly and cashed in on virtually every bad ball, it was one of, if not the sloppiest displays from a Headingley team in living memory.
With Abid doing a good job of shoring up one end, Skipper Stelfox decided to try to do the same from the other end with his first bowl since pre season. After a couple of tight overs Glynn Tasker squirted one through point, and bravely called for two, Ashfaq Khan
turned and send the ball in like a bullet over the stumps to keeper Steve Manton
who whipped of the bails. Stelfox then sent Dom Midgely back assisted by a catch by Manton, next ball Trevor Howard chipped up a comfortable caught and bowled to the skipper and HCC were back in the game, Stelfox took his third with a quicker ball that was superbly caught at 1st slip by Ian Rogers
throwing himself to his left. Will came back to replace Abid who had bowled really well after the first few overs and Clifton quickly got in on the act, trapping captain Charles Harford-Cross for an impressive 51 and then bowling Matt Warrington for a duck, with Will feeling a slight twinge ifty came back and with Stelfox they looked to finish B&C off, a number of 'play and misses' frustrated the visitors as Kidd and Franklin stood their ground for their team, Stelfox's last ball beating Franklin all ends up but missing his leg stump by a coat of varnish as Bramham and Clifford finished on 117 which represented a much better second half to the session by HCC.
Chris St Clair Whicker and Ian Rogers
making his 1st team debut opened for HCC and moved the score along at a steady pace punishing the bad balls and exercising caution with the good ones. Ian having looked in no trouble whatsoever other than some calling 'mix ups' was the fist to go run out for 21 and trudged back to the hutch somewhat less than happy. Jim Hinks
departed for a 'froz' which brought Chris Page
to the crease for his first outing in the 1sts this season, the South African pair looking as though they were going to see HCC home as the scoring rate accelerated, Chris St Clair Whicker being particularly clinical with the bad ball, with the line in sight, Pagey got one that kept very low that caught him LBW, Chris St Clair Whicker passed 50 and Ashfaq Khan
ensured their were no further scares HCC cantered how with plenty of overs to spare, Chris 64 not out and Ash 6 not out.
This win takes HCC 1st XI through to 1000 days unbeaten in league cricket, dating back to the back end of the 2009 season. A remarkable achievement that owes everything to a tremendously dedicated, bunch of players who have managed to keep 'turning up' week after week and do the necessary to keep the win's coming, thanks to everyone who has contributed to that run, and played their part in the progress of the club.