A Thrilling Start to 2nds Campaign
Hrishi Goes From Masterchef To Master Batsman
Bloody typical. A glorious Saturday and no game, and then Sunday reverts to proper April weather. Plenty of layers and a coat at the ready. After the previous week's weather, Holme, who would be entertaining us, had done a fine job in getting the pitch ready. Apart from needing your wellies down the hill by the sightscreen, the rest of the ground was damp but perfectly playable.
And so, Boycott rocked up with his band of merry men, all eager to get off to a good start, and he was even afforded the luxury of having a proper umpire thanks to Phil deciding against having a day on the ocean waves. Unlike many clubs, he was able to select from a squad just big enough to put two teams out on consecutive days without anyone having to play twice, even after the loss of 4 players who decided the grass was greener on the other side. We shall see!
Holme A, who were promoted back to division 3 after an absence of just a year were fielding a decent team as well and it included Sedgwick's nemesis Mike Halhead, whose average against them is now three figures. Perhaps today would be different. The new rule changes would be coming into force or should I say farce, especially when it is two waist high balls and you're off. A damp ground and wet ball, one slip and that's it, you're under pressure for the rest of the game.
Anyway, enough of the rambling, it's time to get the game under way, and at the toss Boycott called correctly and unsurprisingly decided to field. Mike Brierly and Chris Norman opened the bowling and it wasn't long before Mike notched up his first wicket of the season, having Moysey caught behind by Hrishi in his second over with the score on 3. This brought Bennett to the crease and having had 1st team experience, he looked pretty useful with the bat. Having said that, the scoring rate was being kept in check and in the tenth over Chris took his first wicket, removing Wolfenden for 5 with the score on 24.
In walked Mike Halhead and this would be a crucial wicket if we could get him early. And it very nearly happened as Mike had a really good shout for LBW against him, but Phil turned it down. Boycott would have gone to DRS. In the meantime, Mike decided to go for a wander and strayed out of his crease and Wrighty who had the ball in the slips missed the stumps from about 3 yards. Would that prove to be crucial? Still, it wasn't long before Wrighty made amends as he bowled Bennett with a Jaffa with the score on 32/3. This brought Wolfenden number 2 to the middle. Boycott introduced Tissy into the attack and he and Wrighty kept things tight and by the halfway point at 20 overs, the scoreline read 34/3. In the 26th over, Wrighty took his second wicket as he had Wolfenden caught by Kev Sealby for 2 with the score having crawled to 43/4.
Fourteen overs to go and Kev Stephenson joined Mike at the crease and this is when it started to go pear-shaped. Tissy had been no-balled for a high delivery in his second over and then unfortunately, another marginal one slipped out and Strongy called it high, so he was off in his fifth over and Kev Sealby had to bowl the remaining balls. Boycott kept him on to make up some of the remaining overs and it it was at this stage that Stephenson and Halhead decided to go into 20/20 mode. With 10 overs remaining, Holme A were 62/4, but unfortunately at the close of their innings, Stephenson and Halhead were still there courtesy of a couple of dropped catches and the score had raced on to 147/4. Having said that, Tom Willacy bowled a particularly good over when the carnage was taking place.
So just over 3.5 runs an over to chase down and Boycott's plans to open with Hrishi went awry when he found he could hardly walk having been hit on the top of the foot by a full toss at the end of the Holme innings. Plan B meant that Chris would open and unfortunately, he fell into the trap at long on when he was caught in Stephenson's second over with the score on 3/1. Alistair came in at 3 to face the opening barrage from Stephenson and Strongy and having got off to a promising start, he strayed too far out of his crease and Strongy had him stumped for 9. Tom Willacy was next in and he played with a great deal of maturity (take note dad!) as he and the skipper took the score onto 45 before Gosling found the leading edge of Boycott's bat to give a catch to Stephenson moving smartly from slip as the ball looped towards gully.
Bernard joined Tom and they took the score up to 77 in the 25th over when another Gosling claimed Tom's wicket as he skied a pull to leg, but it was a very useful innings of 31 to keep Sedgwick in the game. So with 15 overs to go and 71 required, would Sedgwick have the firepower on a slow outfield? Tom's dismissal brought Matthew to the crease and unfortunately he didn't last long as he was adjudged LBW for 1 to the bowling of one of the Gosling's. Another one for DRS though if it had been available. So then Hrishi hobbled out to the middle to join Bernard, and looking at him, you would have thought a runner was needed. But no, with the serious look on his face, he was going to survive on adrenaline alone. No messing with this lad, he's in the North now and they're made of tough stuff. He would bat on one leg if needed! Anyway, he got off to a bright start and his first three scoring shots included a four and a six and he and Bernard to the score past 100 in the 32nd over. 47 from 8 and it was starting to get a bit tense. Boycotts nails were shrinking at a fairly rapid rate and when Strongy had Bernard stumped in the 36th over, 25 more runs were still required.
Wrighty went out in the gathering gloom and helped hopalong Hrishi to take the score onto 133 when he holed out to long on from Strongy's first ball in the 38th over. Fortunately, they had crossed and Hrishi was able to hit two fours off the rest of the over to take the score to 141/7 with 2 overs to go. Kev Stephenson then bowled an excellent over restricting Hrishi and Mike Brierly to only 3 runs, which meant that 4 runs were required from Strongy in the final over, with Mike on strike. First ball- swing and a miss, second ball - swing and a miss, third ball - swing and a miss. What was he doing? get a single you muppet! Boycott's fingers were down to the knuckles. Fourth ball a scrambled single so Hrishi to face with 3 required from 2. Fifth ball, a loud crack in the gloom and nobody watching could really see where it went, but Phil's arms were raised signalling a six and the game was won with one ball to spare.
Jubilation and relief for Sedgwick, and despair for Holme in a match that had everything including 2 bowlers, one from each side, who had to be taken off due to the new rule on waist high balls. Fortunately, the match was played in good spirit but decisions like these can turn a game and provide the potential for things in the middle to become a bit fraught. And since the rule applies to spinners as well, I'm sure it will do the confidence of a youngster trying to learn their craft no harm at all. Not. So, hats off to the ECB and Westmorland League for adding extra pressure onto bowlers. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Here's hoping for a little less drama next match.