I Have A Cunning Plan
Let's get walloped on Saturday then beat them Sunday.
It was almost as good as one of Baldrick's cunning plans when it came that this weekend we played Shadwell CC in the league on Saturday then once again the following day in the final of Fred Fleetwood Cup, to play like a complete bunch of Charlies on the Saturday and get a real stuffing. Making Shadwell think they only had to turn up on Sunday to collect the trophy. Then beat them on the last ball in a nerve shredding climax to a low scoring final.
The cricket gods had a bit of fun this weekend as they managed to get us to play Shadwell twice in two days. Once in the league on Saturday then again in the Fred Fleetwood cup on Sunday. Best to gloss over the Saturday performance as it was not pretty. The best thing about it was the excellent teas provided by the Batty family, really smashing sausage rolls. Then if a pig farmer cannot give you a decent sausage roll who can ?
Lets move on to Sunday shall we.
For the first time since 2001 Milford had reached the final of the Fred Fleetwood Cup, back then Atomic Kitten were #1 with their cover of the Bangles 'Eternal Flame' and ITV pinched the rights to show Premiership highlights from the BBC.
Youth was certainly on show on both sides in the final and Milford had 7 players under the age of 23 in the side. Two weren't even born when we last played in a Fleetwood final !!!!
Joe Raynor and Alex Ward came into the side from the one soundly beaten on Saturday, a pair of Bramley's standing aside (Martin & Charlie).
The match was played in the lovely setting of Walton Park CC. A relatively new ground with fantastic facilities. The cricket pitch is huge, you could probably put the Swan Croft in it at least twice. The weather on arrival was lovely but the forecast was for it to cloud over as the day progressed and we would be lucky if the rain held off for the finish.
Skipper Paul Hebden won the toss and decided to bat, hoping a bit of scoreboard pressure would tell on Shadwell when they batted. Things couldn't have gone much worse for Milford when Dan White was out for a duck in the second over. Dan is currently the leading run scorer in division 1 but is going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment. He wasn't to be the only Milford player getting a duck as his replacement Alex Ward joined him 3 overs later.
What a start, just 7 runs with 2 wickets down. It looked like Shadwell's confidence was well founded. Opener Stuart Morley and Ben White, coming in at #4, were really going to have to do a rebuilding job if were weren't to be humiliated.
Thankfully this is what they did, bit by bit they got on top of the Shadwell bowling. Stuart is the ideal person to have in this situation, always ready to rotate the strike, his now veteran status stopped him panicking and just playing each ball on its merits. He realised that perhaps today a score of 150 would be competitive.
Ben White backed him up splendidly, this season you have got two types of innings from Ben a wham bang over in a blink or the one which reminded you of his batting from last season. Thankfully today we got the second one, still hitting his trademark maximums, he put on 69 runs with Stuart to make us much healthier.
Ben was finally out for 42 adjudged LBW, Pete Batty was in next and our innings slowed again as two similar batsmen were at the crease. I think the pressure of having to up the run rate told on Pete as he uncharacteristically ran himself out.
Stuart made a well deserved 50 but was caught and bowled with 5 overs left. Joe Raynor and Steve Winspear kept the score ticking over and put on 26 valuable runs to leave us on 166 for 7 at the close. Milford happy with the score after the poor start but unsure if it would be enough.
Walton Park CC were the perfect hosts today and the teas they made were fabulous. A nice selection of sandwiches and classic scone with cream and jam. After battling with the fancy electronic scoreboard I needed a couple to calm my nerves.
Shadwell's innings started as the cloud started to roll in but they made a confident start, not the fastest as some tight bowling from Dan White & Steve Winspear kept them in check. After 10 overs they were only 32 but without loosing a wicket.
Skipper Paul Hebden took off Steve and put on young spinner James Bramley, the bigger outfield of Walton seemed to suit him and he was the first to make a breakthrough, trapping Joe Edison LBW.
Paul then replaced Dan White with another of our youngsters, Joe Raynor and he bowled Shadwell's captain Scot Harrison for just 2. Still Shadwell didn't panic and their overseas player, Cameron Edwards was doing the Stu Morley role for them. He batted steadily putting away the bad ball.
Milford skipper Paul Hebden tried all his bowlers to see if he could break the Shadwell resistance but though we chipped away with the odd wicket the score kept creeping up. By the 30th over they were 110 with 6 wickets in hand.
Edwards was on his way to the top score of the day, 65, and with Tariq Mohammed looked to be putting on a match winning partnership. Things were looking bleak for Milford then Paul called back Steve Winspear and in successive overs he took 2 wickets, breaking up the Edwards/Mohammed partnership.
Still Shadwell looked favorites but Joe Raynor changed the complexion of the whole game. In one over he got the vital wicket of Edwards and then Joe Burke to gets us into the tail.
From looking calm and composed Shadwell seemed to panic. Three overs left and they needed 16, less than a run a ball. Seven off Steve Winspear's penultimate over left them in good stead but Joe picked up his fourth wicket in his last over and more crucially conceded just one run.
Last over 8 needed with one wicket left. Steve Winspear given the responsibility of bowling it. Just 1 run off the first 3 balls. Then a leg bye on the 4th, two balls left Shadwell needing 6. A tie would do them no good as we would win on less wickets lost.
Shadwell ran 2 on the 5th ball and we had a little pause as Paul Hebden re-set his field. Not everyone on the boundary but hopefully the plentiful acres of Walton would help us almost like an extra fielder. Shadwell had to get a boundary and when Steve bowled a well pitched up delivery the job was done. The batsmen hit it to Ben White at long off who proceeded to run the ball back to the stumps. Clever boy ran past the two batters at the bowlers end and removed the bails at the strikers end thus running Shadwell out on the third run.
A pause for a moment then we all realised that meant we had won by ONE run, what a performance. Everyone played a blinder, great ground fielding, Alex Ward once again proving why he is the leading wicket keeper in the WCL. His one handed diving grab to dismiss Ed Whittingham would be on any highlight reel. Bet Paul is glad he didn't put the gloves on now.
So time to collect the trophies, Joe Raynor to win man of the match, pose for photographs and then spray a little champers... Some reports came in later that some of the team stayed out well into the early hours and got a little tired and emotional. You deserved it.
Who remembers the Saturday match now then ?
'I'm proud of what I've achieved in cricket, as once I didn't think I was good enough.' Shane Warne