The 2s hold on under pressure!
Stockport CC v HMCC Sat 2nd June 2018 - Draw
Stockport CC 196 all out
HMCC 145 for 9
On a bright sunny afternoon in the first of a few Derbies HMCC 2s visited their opponents with the team affected by lack of availability. A 2s side that has been dominant in the first half of the season went to fight another top table clash, 3rd week running. A good opponent with some quality in their ranks was up for taking poll position by knocking Mersey of their throne. However a determined Mersey side had different ideas. The skipper back after 3 weeks of injury still at 50% won the toss and decided to bowl first as this was probably the weaker side to Mersey on the day.
The first innings began with a new pairing of opening bowlers in the form of the Skipper Ali Shah and Gurdit Singh (Mean Machine). The first 2 overs were that of typical Mersey standards with the skipper starting his tenure with a maiden and Gurdit following up with a wicket to top the skipper. The first 10 overs saw the home side struggle to get any momentum with 21 on the board. The opening pair decided to continue their good form and gave nothing for the next 10 leaving the hosts 54 for 2 after 20.
This was then the turning point of the game as the skipper knew he was a bit thin on his bowling options so turned to the ever reliable Ayaz Cheema. Ayaz started in typical fashion only giving away 8 runs in his first 5 overs, however the pressure was being piled from the other end as make shift bowlers tried their luck and went for 21 of 3 overs. A youngster was then introduced in the form of Ali Raza who took a crucial wicket in his first over (albeit the ball bouncing twice) which unfortunately for Stockport exposed their tail. These 20 overs saw Stockport put on 103 runs with the bulk of the runs being scored by Ans and put themselves in the driving seat, eventually crumbling to the pressure of the return of the opening duo.
The last ten overs saw the pendulum turn back in Mersey’s favour with the opening pair picking up 6 wickets between them and restricting the hosts to 39 runs in the last 60 balls. Gurdit being the pick of the bowlers with his 15 overs 45 for 4, with the skipper chipping in and bowling his normal wicket to wicket deliveries and restricting runs while picking up 2 wickets. The hosts ended their innings on 196 all out. A special mention to Ans Mohammed (came to Mersey winter nets) who batted brilliantly to show his class ending his innings with 86 and getting out trying to reverse sweep Gurdit in the last 10.
The Mersey boys then took to the field with the usual confidence but saw the opening pair reverse roles with Asim taking over the power hitting and firing quickly and Zeb taking his time to see of their pacey S. Akhtar (not Shoaib) off. The first 10 overs saw Mersey hitting their way out of trouble with Asim Shah making the bulk of the runs with his elegant strokes all over the ground while Zeb quietly but typically smashing 19 runs to put on a 52 run partnership for the first wicket. The first wicket and the introduction of the Skipper J Wilks saw the brakes being applied to the Mersey innings which in turn brought the demise of a strong batting order one by one as they all chipped the ball back to the skipper who ended up with 6 wickets to his name.
A couple of innings by Shabaz and Mani in the middle looked to resuscitate the innings to not much avail as they chipped the ball back to the skipper too. An unlucky LBW decision for Colin (bowler bowling round the wicket) and Col half way down the pitch broke the backbone of the batting line up and saw a quick collapse with a small cameo from Ali Raza. The innings was then saved by the ever reliable Luke Lewis who stayed in and saved the 2s from a potential defeat, while Gurdit helped with some great defensive work. The last over had another twist as Asim Shah raised the finger to send Luke Lewis back to the shed and the skipper step up (after a year) to bat out 4 balls, horrors from last year last ball dismissal replayed but with a calm and collective head the game was saved and a sigh of relief sounded around the Mersey camp.
This was the toughest test for the Mersey line up yet, the lack of bowling had a major part to play in the runs being piled up but the batting should in theory have secured the position. Still undefeated and still at the top of the table the 2s go again next week against another tough opponent in the form of Congleton but the return of a few major influences should resolve the lapse. The pole position needs to be secured as there is only 5 points that separate 1 and 2 currently.
Written by Captain Shah
Updated 18:05 - 6 Jun 2018 by Tim Humpage