Milford A Whisker Away From 3 On Bounce
Milford’s winning streak finally ended with defeat by Sicklinghall but by the smallest of margin.
Last Saturday saw the 1st team finally play their first home game of the season. We played host to Sicklinghall and we were on a two match winning streak, not having tasted defeat yet this season.
The Swan Croft looked a picture, a credit to new groundsmen Andy Fisher and the help he was getting from Mr President, Bryan Ransome, and senior pro John Cain. Trouble is he will now have to keep it as least as good for the rest of the year.
The weather helped as it was a nice sunny afternoon with a light breeze and it was forecasted to stay dry till dusk.
The Ward brothers were back in the team this week with Vice Captain Pete Batty missing and Billy Thompson stepping down to the 2nd team. The scorer made his return after refusing to travel to Kippax last week and was surprised to see the score hut looking so neat & tidy.
Milford skipper Paul Hebden won the toss and decided we would have a bat. Sicklinghall hadn’t played the first week of the season and had been heavily beaten by Garforth PC last week, but they still fielded 2 of the Wood family in their 11. All members of the Wood family have had many good days against Milford over the years, I think even Ma Wood has a quick 30 not out against us a few years ago !!!
Alex Ward back opening this week and was probably hoping he wouldn’t get sold out by his batting partner like he was first match against Ledsham. The innings opened quietly with both batsmen been careful not to give Sicklinghall an early breakthrough. Slowly Alex and Stuart Morley started to make headway and by the 14th over had recorded the first opening 50 run partnership of the year.
Veteran Andy Wood was brought into the attack to see if he could split the pair, now looking set and seemingly ready to push on. I don’t think Andy would deny that he probably hasn’t taken many wickets with the ball he got Alex with. It was a rank wide long hop, Alex really should have left it but it was that bad he couldn’t resist. Trouble was he didn’t get close to it and as a result of having his bat stuck out one way and his arse the other only managed to spoon it to Tom Ryszkowski at point. Such a waste of a great opportunity for a big score. So Alex walked back to the shed kicking himself all the way to be replaced by Ben White.
This season I have seen a new Ben, more patient and calm, looking to build an innings rather than tee off right from the start. Today was similar and it was Stuart who seemed to loose patience first at relatively slow scoring rate on what appeared to be the day for big scores. He went after one of spinner George Barton’s deliveries only to be comprehensively beaten by the flight and stumped by Sicklinghall’s skipper Imran Ali. Still he had given Milford a good start though only scoring 27 off 81. An early contender for the Escargot Award but I am sure we will have much ‘better’ innings as the season progresses.
Stuart was replaced by Aussie Sean Nesbitt, the complete opposite type of batsmen to Stuart always trying to score off every ball. This eagerness was nearly his undoing when he was on just 10, pulling a ball to the beck side boundary he was relieved to see the relatively easy catch spilled by the fielder at deep square leg. This proved to be an expensive mistake as Sean topped scored for Milford with 59 and as a result tops the Wetherby League 1st Division batting averages. A 45 run partnership with Ben and a 36 run one with Joe Barr saw us get to 170 with 8 overs left.
Sean chanced his arm once too often and was adjudged LBW and with his departure the impetus in the Milford innings seemed to vanish. This year a change in the league rules has led to the introduction of a 30 yrd fielding circle been marked on the field and 4 fielders must be inside it at all times. I think Joe got confused and thought this meant he shouldn’t hit the ball any further than the ring.
In the last 7 overs we only managed 3 boundaries and one of them was 4 overthrows by the opposition. So rather than posting something close to 230 the innings closed on 202-6. Perhaps we would pay for that later in the day.
It was a Morley cricket tea this week and it fully restored my faith in the cricket tea which had been so badly shaken by what we will call the Ledsham Affair (see previous match report for my distressing tale). Plenty of big open sandwiches of every description. Fresh fruit kebabs and best off all clotted cream and jam scones !!!!! Top notch, I even took a couple of scones back to the score hut for the 2nd innings just in case my blood sugar dropped dangerously.
Note – I have finally found a use for the Milford CC ‘What’s App’ group, you can order a cuppa and one of the team will deliver it….. Thanks Alex.
So a confident Milford team took the field for the Sicklinghall innings, the weather still dry and mild but the cloud starting to make an appearance. The Tiger Moth biplane from Sherburn aerodrome was still doing circuit & bumps overhead, change of colour scheme for it this year. Gone was the WW2 training camouflage with yellow underside, replaced with a mock RFC WW1 look. Olive drab with light grey on the bottom, very Biggles.
Sicklinghall also started cautiously but Steve Winspear managed to break the stalemate in his 5th over by bowling the dangerous Andy Wood. Joe Raynor replied the very next over with the wicket of the other Sicklinghall opener Matt Hetherley. When Dan Ward came on and took a wicket in his very first over we seemed to be well in control of the match and on our way to win #3.
This is where the match swung in Sicklinghall’s favor as the fall of the wicket brought Martin Wood to the crease. He proved to be the match winner for the visitors today. Scoring at more than a run a ball he pushed the score closer and closer to the target. An 89 run partnership with Ben Williams and then another 32 run partnership with Richard Brooke seemingly getting Sicklinghall home and dry.
Remarkably the Wood / Brooke partnership flourished despite Brooke needing a runner. He had tweaked a hamstring in the first couple of overs when fielding. Usually a runner means chaos reigns, nobody ever knows what is going on, fielders, batsmen, runner, umpires and scorer all get confused and it usually doesn’t take long before a wicket falls. Not the case this time as Brooke’s held the innings together when Martin Wood finally fell for 86 when Sam Thomas was reintroduced into the attack.
Sicklinghall were still 30 runs short when Wood left the field and reintroduction of Sam and Steve Winspear reaped rewards. Four quick wickets in just 11 runs left the match on a knife edge, the visitors needed 3 runs with 1 wicket left. Due to an error by the umpire Steve didn’t get to bowl his last ball of the match, a brace of wickets in the over causing the umpire to forget Steve had bowled a no ball earlier. Whether he could have taken a third for the over with it we will never know but it’s a good tale…..
So Sam Thomas was left to tease us the wicket that would pinch us the win. Alas it was not to be, the margin for error was too small and Sicklinghall last man Shirish Mohan smacked a maximum to end our hopes.
Hard luck lads, you almost pulled it out of the fire but I think the failure to push on in the last overs of our innings cost us the win.
If you can keep your head about you when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. (Quote by - Jean Kerr)