Fire & Love
Fenton had the FIREPOWER and ROB LOVE to beat Milford by 7 wickets.
An American vicar was talking about Fire & Love in that there London this weekend but we got to see it in action at Church Fenton this Saturday. Fenton veteran Rob Love once again played in a winning team against Milford and James Davidson provided the batting firepower to easily overhaul the Milford target.
This match was the fourth game of the season and things have started to settle down and trends for the season are starting to appear, you can see players who are going to have a good season and others who may be struggling.
The spine of the Milford team has been pretty fixed so far this year but we had a couple of changes this week with Matty Paul & Sean Nesbitt stepping down to be replaced by the recalled Billy Thompson and making his season debut, James Bramley.
A lovely afternoon to visit neighbors Church Fenton, warm & sunny with a light SE breeze. The ground looked a picture and the pavilion is looking just about finished and something for Fenton to be proud of. Perhaps its the best of the new built ones, not too big.
The pitch was rock hard as no rain had fallen since last weekend, so looked like the first time this season it might be the batters who would be on top. Milford skipper Paul Hebden once again won the toss and elected to have a bat.
For the second time in 2 matches the opening partnership of Stu Morley and Alex Ward posted a half century partnership. We were all holding our breath to see how Alex would get himself out this time but the longer he batted the more in control he looked. For the first time this year he looked fully set and in charge. In fact Stu & Alex almost made it a century opening partnership but then Stuart was stumped in the 23rd over. The 2nd time in 2 matches, makes a change as Stu normally is a LBW specialist.
I am not sure if anyone reads these match reports but last week I mentioned that Ben White was a changed batsmen this season, he seemed to be trying to pace his innings betters with a slow steady start then hitting out when fully set. Well it was the complete opposite today, Rob Love dispatched for two sixes in Ben’s first three balls. Sadly it couldn’t last and Ben was out 8 balls later for just 14.
Billy came in at four Milford looked back in control, Alex’s fifty coming off 65 balls and by 30 overs we were 123 for 2 looking well set for a decent score. The only fly in the ointment was Fenton spinner Simon Wilman, he appeared to be the only bowler who could keep the batsmen under control. Not a big spinner of the ball but his line & length was spot on, it was only in his last two overs that Milford managed to get on top. His first 9 overs produced 2 wickets for just 18 runs.
Wilman’s control of one end meant Fenton were never batted out of the game, but where as last week against Sicklinghall we never pushed on from a promising position this week we kept the run rate accelerating till the end of the innings. We scored 70 runs in the last 10 innings. The credit for this must go to Joseph Barr went on to be Milford’s second highest scorer with 44 not out off just 41 balls. A much better innings this week, last time he didn’t seem to have the confidence to knock it beyond the fielding circle. This week he produced four 4’s and a 6.
Thanks to Joe’s hard work our innings closed on 221 for 5, which looked a very competitive score on a batting friendly day. The Fenton teas were excellent, plenty and a very wide selection on offer. Along with sandwiches there were pizza and spicy onion bhaji’s. For the second week running cream scones with fresh strawberries were on offer. Rude not to try a couple. The recent teas are slowly covering the opening day scares inflicted by Ledsham.
Though a good score 221 wasn’t out of reach and it would depend how our double spin attack of James Bramley and Sam Thomas got on if we were to come away with the win. If they produced the control that Fenton’s Simon Wilman had in the first innings then we would probably strangle the home sides reply.
Joe Raynor & Steve Winspear opened the bowling and though neither was expensive they never looked like getting a wicket. Fenton skipper & ex Milford junior, Steve Wragg, was batting up the order as he had to leave shortly after 5 o’clock. He started to push on once the Milford openers were removed from the attack but it was Dan Ward who finally made the break through getting Tom Dean to inside edge one back onto his stumps.
In at #3 came James Davidson who joined Fenton mid-way through last season. He has played at semi-pro level up in the North East. It certainly showed, one of the best innings I have seen for a long time. He seemed to have much more time than any of the other batsmen today and punished any delivery that was anything less than perfect. His 68 not out anchored the Fenton chase and once Steve Harrison joined him for the 4th wicket the result never looked in doubt.
Paul Hebden tried the double spin attack with Sam & James bowling in tandem but neither stood out. Both failing to generate much pressure by offering at least one boundary per over. Steve Winspear was brought back late on to try to break up the partnership but he went for more per over than James Bramley he replaced, the greater pace helping the batsmen find the fence more often.
The ease that Fenton knocked off the required runs left you feeling that even if we had scored 250 they would have still got it today. So our time at the top of the league is over and we have to get down to some hard work after the week off for the bank holiday, our 2nd home game against newly promoted Rufforth.
When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. - Bishop Michael Curry (not talking about our proposed movement of the boundary stream)