James and the Giant Scone
Milford back to winning ways and scorer gets a real treat.
If you asked me the reasons for scoring at village cricket for over 30 years one of the reason might be that it always surprises you. You go to a match expecting that we might struggle and then by the end of the day come away from one of the most enjoyable days you have had for a long time.
Milford were missing the majority of the 'W' force this week. Both Wards were away and Dan White was dropped to the 2nd team.
That may not be totally true but Dan White was playing for the 2nd team on Sunday because he was away at a wedding on the Saturday.
As a result we were down to just two W's, Steve Winspear and Ben White. Plugging the holes saw the return of Sean Nesbitt, Harry Jackson and Martin Bramley.
This was our penultimate home match and it seems with the season almost over our skipper has finally learnt the knack of winning the toss. For the second week running the coin flipped in our favor and captain Paul Hebden had the choice. He decided to have a bat as every time he has chosen to bowl we have lost this season.
The weather wasn't the best with a strong blustery west wind and a bit of rain around. Still at least it wasn't too cold.
With Dan White missing it meant we had a new opening partnership today. Stuart Morley having Aussie Sean Nesbitt for company. A bit of a chalk and cheese paring. Stuart a very steady bat were as Sean is never happy unless he gets at least a run a ball. Probably a pairing you would not have chosen as Sean had been away for quite a while his last game the home match against Ledsham.
The gamble paid off, Sean showed no sign of rust and was straight on the attack. He looked unbeatable when he played anything along the ground but whenever he went aerial he seemed vulnerable. The 50 partnership came up in the 9th over with Stuart contributing 4.
Sean reached his first 50 of the season off just 34 balls and if he stayed in for any length of time would certainly have a big score. Sadly he holed out shortly afterwards. I said he looked magnificent when playing anything on the ground but very iffy when he went airborne. He was caught when on 55 failing to put Jim Ledgeway into the field.
First surprise of the day Stu Morley wasn't out LBW, he made room for the shot then missed the ball and it bowled him. Very out of character. Rufforth brought on Jim Ledgeway into the attack to try to slow down the Milford assault.
Jim currently is the leading wicket taker in Division 1. Quiet how is hard to explain, he just bowls very slow tempting deliveries. Perhaps having the massive acres of Rufforth every other week to protect him is the reason, batters take him on and fail to clear the field, also having wicket keeper Ben Lodge backing up helps. Lodge is chasing our Alex Ward for the award of best keeper of the season.
Ben White was in at #3 and this week polished up his Ian Peacock impersonation. Some of my readers may not remember Ian, but along with his identical twin brother Martin, played for Milford in the late 90's early noughties. Ian like to play his shots and his favorite was to smack the ball straight back over the bowlers head. He seemed convinced he could clear the boundary every time regardless of how many fielders were put back after he had scored with that shot a couple of times. Sadly he was often proved to be too ambitious. Ben/Ian took on Ledgeway but Rufforth posted a couple of fielders at long off & long on after after several huge straight hits. This didn't deter Ben and he tried once again only to fall short and into the hands of Angus Campbell. Not the smartest cricket.
Ledgeway then snared Joe Barr the next over when Joe also failed to clear the field, cow corner is further away than you think. Martin Bramley came in at four and capitalized when Ledgeway started to loose his line & length. Long hops & full tosses where helped into the car park the other side of Mill Lane.
Second surprise of the day was when drinks were taken at half way the scorers were treated to hand delivered mugs of teas and a delicious butterfly bun. This was looking to be a going to be a good day.
Martin became the second player to reach 50, he found the replacement for Jim Ledgeway, Steve Jackson, as easy to getaway and though his 41 ball half century was slightly slower than Sean's it kept the run rate well up.
Sadly he was to fall on 60 when he was run out by skipper Paul Hebden. Paul called for a suicidal single when he thought the ball had passed the fielder. His 'Oh sh*t' when halfway down the wicket was a good acknowledgment of his error. Still if Martin had been 20 years younger or in possession of a couple of decent hamstrings he might have made it. The run out was the result of pressure put on by the return of Chris Green to the Rufforth attack. In a second spell of 8 overs he conceded just 12 runs.
This spell changed the innings and from looking set to score 220+ Milford looked to be in danger of not even reaching 200. Some late big hitting from Paul, when Green had completed his 12 overs, improved things but he was bowled by a grubber from Jim Ledgeway. Steve Winspear once again managed a not out to further improve his batting average. Milford were all out on the last ball for 215 when super snail James Bramley was run out.
The Morley family provided teas today and after the promise of the drinks break bun proved to be arguably the best of the year. Nice selection of open sandwiches, spicy chicken wings and sweet stuff off every type. The cream & jam scones of particular mention. A slight demerit was it turned out they were bought but they were nice & fresh. Still the argument rages over the proper scone for cream, jam & fresh strawberry should be just a plain sweet one, not a fruit scone. That is just over egging the pudding.
Still that didn't stop me taking the two put aside for us scorers by Stuart back to the hut for half time.
Rufforths overseas player Angus Campbell was their danger man, currently in the top three runs scorers , he scored 151 against us in the first league game.
Steve Winspear and Sean Nesbitt opened the bowling but the bad news for Steve was that he was running into the strong wind to Campbell. He didn't bowl badly but Campbell smacked him for 22 off his first two overs. He tried pitching it up, bowling a little wider and varying his pace but it made no difference. Not your day today Steve.
Thankfully Sean trapped Campbell LBW when he finally got to the other end. Only 22 against us today thankfully. Harry Jackson replaced the out of luck Winspear and marked his return to the side with 3 wickets for just 12 runs. This knocked the stuffing out of the Rufforth middle order. It even included another stumping by skipper Paul Hebden filling in the wicket keeping duties while Alex Ward is away.
James Bramley was brought on to replace Sean at the pavilion end and he matched Harry by taking 3 wickets. He cleaned out the tail, all his victims bowled. 3 for 32 adding to his increasing list of achievements with the 1st team.
Rufford collapsed from 50-1 to 106 all out lasting just 31 overs. Almost too quickly for the second round of scones to be scoffed. A excellent result that sees us back into the middle table battle. With some of the remaining matches against the bottom teams we may once again manage to finish with a better than 50:50 win rate and an increase points total than last year.
"I've never got to the bottom of streaking" - Jonathan Agnew