Bill & Ben 2 – This time it’s flobberdob
The new season starts as the old one ended with Ben White & Billy Thompson making a match winning partnership.
The 2018 season finally got underway, a week later than previous years due to having only 10 teams in Division 1 this season. Our first game the short hop to local rivals Ledsham. The match was in doubt right from the off, heavy rain Friday had added the problems of a very poor spring to leave the ground looking very soggy.
Credit to Ledsham and their groundsmen as they put in some hard work to get the ground anywhere close to fit to play on. Thought the weather threatened to put the decision beyond doubt it never really rained and the umpires decided to get the game underway at 1.30pm and reduce the match to 40 overs per side.
With the conditions the way there were it was a crucial toss to win and for once Milford skipper Paul Hebden came up trumps. The winter training schedule his wife Sue put him through obviously paying dividends. I assume it was training as every time Sue was asked where Paul was during the off season she would say ‘He’s tossing it off somewhere…..’
Just as well we were bowling first as Steve Winspear might be called from the field at anytime. His second child was due to be born today, but Sarah was been a trooper and keeping her legs crossed so Steve could bowl his 11 overs.
A youthful looking Milford side out today and this season without all-rounder Dan White who had moved on to Carlton CC. Hopefully we have someone in the side who wants to fill his roles in both batting & bowling.
With ground conditions like there was today you never know which side it favors at least the bowlers seemed to be able to come through on their normal run up without falling flat on their face. Steve Winspear and Joe Raynor opening the attack today. In fact it was Steve who was first to open his account when he got Josh Were to tickle one through to Paul behind the stumps. Joe was soon to join him when he bowled Were’s replacement the following over.
Ledsham, a little under strength today with some of their better players missing, found it hard to score and even when Sam Thomas & Dan Ward came on to replace our openers things didn’t improve. Sam is trying to win back the Spin King crown from James Bramley this season and made an impressive start. His opening 9 overs returning figures of 1 for 10. Sam managed to give the ball lots of flight and kept it well up to the batsmen hoping the wet wickets would provide lots of demons for the batsmen.
The ground fielding backed up the bowling today though two difficult low catches were dropped. The comical sight of fielders falling on their bums was seen a couple of times as the ball ventured into the deep ends.
Dan Ward provided the over which cracked the Ledsham defiance, getting opener John Spate to play on when on 22 and then getting wicket keeper Sam Wright caught. Dan was replaced by Joe Raynor, this time coming up the hill and he immediately made an impact. 3 wickets in 4 overs for just 1 run turned the innings on its head.
At one stage it looked as though we would be chasing less than 50 but late order defiance from #9 Will Day kept the Ledsham innings alive. He stood undefeated on 24 when we finally took the last wicket with an over to go. Sam Thomas getting last man Matt Bloomer stumped. Ledsham all out for 76.
Top marks to Joe Raynor with the best bowling stats, 4 for 14. Joe Barr two outfield catches and Alex Ward the best skid marks on his once pristine whites.
Normally now is where I report on the teas but sadly by the time I had added all the boxes up the meager teas were all gone….. A small bun and a bag of crisps were all that were on offer. S*d that.
Thankfully Gareth Dodson turned up later with some of the 2nd team teas he had made which were not required as their match was abandoned. Thanks Gadge, much appreciated.
So 77 required. Small totals are either knocked off easily or it becomes a real slog. Still overcast, damp and blooming cold as Pete Batty and Alex Ward strode out to bat. A new Milford pairing as both Dan White & Stuart Morley won’t be available this year.
It seemed the dream start for the pairing as Alex started off in fine form with two lovely boundaries, then it tuned into a nightmare when Pete called him through for a suicidal single and he was run out. Not the best of starts then for Pete who then compounded the error by trying to play a late slice on a delivery which he only managed to help onto his own stumps. Poor shot selection especially on a damp early season pitch.
With two quick wickets Ledsham now had their tails up and sniffed an unlikely win might be in the offing. New batsmen at the crease and the bowlers storming in. Fortunately for us that was the best spell of the game for Ledsham and Ben White & Billy Thompson quickly settled in. Billy in particular taking the attack to the bowlers. For once Ben was happy to play the supporting role and let Billy produce the fireworks.
Ledsham captain Freddy Dewhirst tried all his bowling options in an attempt to breakup the pair but nothing worked, the Ledsham ground fielding also not on a par with Milford’s to back him up. Pretty soon we were over the 50 mark and the game was in the bag. At one stage it looked as though Ben would go through an innings without scoring a boundary but late in the day he managed to squeeze a 4 through the Ledsham fielding ring.
Billy scored the winning runs which also gave him his first half century of the season, a splendid knock. A fine 6 point win to open the season and been one of only two 1st division games played a useful 5 point gap to the majority of the other teams. Barwick won the only other game which managed to get played.
I was asked after the game when we had last won an opening day fixture, well it was back in 2015 when we were in Division 2 and we then went on to win the first 4 matches that year.
If practice makes perfect, and no one is perfect, why practice? Derek Pringle