Dropped Catches = Dropped Points
Achilles Heel Proves Costly As Heysham Benefit
And so here we are again with the same old chestnut of the early season causing headaches for the selection committee due to the ongoing availability issues within the 1st team. Fortunately due to the depth of players within the club, the 2nd team provided able stand-ins resulting in 6 changes from the previous week. Clearly meeting top of the table Heysham would be no easy task. At first light, the prospects looked poor with rain having fallen overnight and still falling. However, anyone who cared to keep an eye on the forecast knowing that 3 weeks of dry weather had preceded the rain, would realise that a 2.00 start would be eminently possible. Although clearly Burneside must have experienced monsoon conditions!
Well the Heysham square was looking in decent fettle although it was a bit soft towards the fence and the weather was bright with the sun starting to poke through, as forecasted. 3rd time unlucky for Boycott as he lost the toss and was asked to bat. Right from the off, it became evident that the pitch, although true, was two paced, with some balls dying and then one or two flying so it was not easy to time the ball. Boycott opened with Trev again hoping for another steady start, but by the 5th over with the score on 12 Trev was back in the clubhouse having nicked a ball from Rawlings through to the keeper. The lure of the sandwiches and cakes having arrived, proving too much of a draw. George Willacy joined Boycott in the middle and soon announced his intent with his first scoring shot going for 4. The pair took the score (78) steadily on through to drinks without any further loss and by this time, Heysham were relying on the guile of Ancliffe to stem the flow of runs. The introduction of McClements shortly after drinks proved pivotal as he caught George off his own bowling with a low full toss. However he had scored, according to his reckoning, and the book, a creditable 54 which not only made the scoreline of 87 for 2 look healthy but it also improved his average as well. Bernard became Ancliffe's first dismissal when on 10 he was bowled and in his very next over, Sean Garnett making his debut this season failed to trouble the scorers by providing a straightforward catch at gully. 96 for 4 from 30 but Boycott was still hopeful of posting a decent total in the region of 160. Tom Willacy tried to force the pace but was caught for 2 at mid on off the spin bowling of Hughes. Boycott then tried to hit Ancliffe over the top but only managed to find mid on as well and he departed with 40 to his name.
John Wright (4) then became another victim to a catch off the bowling of Rawlings and the score by this stage had moved on to 124/7 from 38. So with 7 overs to go, Ashley and Wrighty proved they could make the tail wag as they scored a bright and breezy 15 and 13 respectively but by the 44th over both of them had gone as Ashley was bowled by Hughes and Wrighty was caught off the bowling of Rawlings. It was then left to Meg Lewis and Rob Hornby to see the innings out and Meg flicked a well timed four off her legs to finish with 5 not out whilst Rob (0 n.o) watched from the other end. 158 for 9 and a reasonable total to defend if the team played to its best.
After the tea break, the opening bowlers certainly warmed to the task causing all sorts of problems early on but not managing to find the edge of the bat. The first 10 overs yielded only 7 runs and it looked like things would be going to plan, especially when Wrighty bagged his first wicket having Butcher caught for 6 down the legside by Rob Hornby behind the stumps. 15 for 1 and this brought McClements out to the crease and clearly he had been taking a leaf out of George's book as he began in positive fashion. And this is when things started to go wrong in the field. Boycott made a double change replacing Ashley & Wrighty with Sean Garnett and Meg Lewis and whilst Meg took the wicket of Smith for 15 in her first over with the score on 44 for 2 from 18, Sean was not so lucky. Twice he had McClements dropped in the same over and this proved to be influential in the course of the match. He was also caught off a no ball and dropped again. His partnership with Ward amounted to 88 runs in 20 overs and swung the game back in Heysham's favour.
The introduction of George Willacy and Trev did not change Sedgwick's fortunes as the ball somehow managed to either evade the catcher or was put down, and marginal LBW decisions went the way of the batsmen. Finally a bit of fortune went Garny's way as he dismissed Adams for 35 with the score on 132/3. So McAllister came to the crease with Heysham needing 27 from 8 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Unfortunately a collapse did not materialise and the batsmen saw Heysham over the line with 3 overs to spare, McClements finishing not out on 75. And if I was him, I would have gone and bought a lottery ticket as he won't get that many chances in one innings for the rest of the season.
All in all it was a competitive match with the main difference being down to the fielding which Heysham executed much better than Sedgwick. It doesn't matter how good you are at batting or bowling, as the old adage goes, catches win matches, and this was a game we could have won.