All Tied Up
A flurry of no balls ensure Milford let Rufforth escape with a tense tie.
It’s not very often that a cricket match ends up in a tie but this Saturday the game between Milford and Rufforth ended with both sides scoring 198. Either side could feel they had pulled 3 points out of the bag at some stage during the afternoon but then again also feel they had given away 3 points.
This match was a brilliant advert for local village cricket played in a fantastic spirit and with some great performances on both sides. The match swung one way then the other all afternoon and the result was in the balance right up to the last over.
The start of the afternoon the prospects for a great game of cricket looked very remote, the weather was fluctuating from drizzle to steady light rain with a cloud base lower than a hedgehogs dangley bits. Thanks to our skipper Paul Hebden the covers had been put on the square Friday night so once the weather started to clear we would be pretty much ready to go.
The same Milford team for the second week running (must be some kind of record) and once again possibly the youngest average age of a first team we have ever put out. I reckon the average will be slightly under 30. A complete contrast to a match remember away at Kirk Hammerton in the days of Rodger Hodgekiss’s captaincy where the average weight of the team must have been close to 20 stones !!!!!!! (yes I am including the scorer in that stat….) No surprise we lost but we could have stuffed them in tug of war.
Because of the weather it was a late start and the match was reduced to 40 overs per side, though this looked optimistic considering some of the forecasts that were showing on various mobile phone apps. Heavy thunderstorms been predicted for after tea.
A good toss to win with the conditions but this week our skippers luck deserted him and Rufforth won and to no ones surprise asked us to bat. Once again Stu Morley and Alex Ward opened the batting and the two batsmen couldn’t have made more contrasting starts. Alex in to the 20’s in no time at all and Stu struggling to get going. Both though were out within 5 balls of each other and when Billy Thompson quickly followed them back to the changing room we were really struggling on 29 for 3.
Ben White and Joseph Barr tried to start the rebuilding of the innings but neither was looking comfortable. Joe getting dropped when on just 6. Not the hardest of catches though the fielder was having to turn and chase after the ball. He still got his hands to it before letting it slip. That would prove to be an expensive error as Joe went on to finish second highest scorer with 44.
I think last week I mentioned in my report I don’t know what to expect from a Ben White innings this season, sometimes it is patient the next wham bham thank you mam. This was more from the Stu Morley play book and he eventually nicked one through to the keeper for just 20 runs off a very surprising 33 balls. Not often you see a Ben innings with a strike rate so low.
It needed someone to come in and keep Joe company as there were still 25 overs left in the innings. This captain Hebden did to perfection. Together this pair put on 67 for the 5th wicket, Joe getting more and more expansive with his stroke play the longer his innings went on. Just when it looked like we were getting on top Joe was bowled. Steve Winspear was out the over after and once again we appeared to be struggling. Joe Raynor replaced him but couldn’t seem to get going at all, as a result our innings seemed to flag and Paul couldn’t seem to get much of the strike.
As it turned out Joe was out in the 34th over so there was still a little time to see if we could push to a half decent score. James Bramley replaced him and he was a complete change in style. I haven’t really seen James bat before but today was an eye opener. The long swing of the bat was very similar to England star Jonny Bairstow and soon boundaries were flowing at a great rate.
Paul and James put together our second 50+ run partnership of the afternoon with the skipper getting a really well deserved 50 not out off the penultimate ball. James tried to end the innings with a flourish but was bowled for a fantastic 35, coming in just 18 balls with 5 fours and 1 six. This left us on a decent 198 – 8 which I think we would have bitten you hand off earlier when we were struggling on 29-3.
Teas were provided by the Thompson clan this week and arguably were the best of the season so far. Despite the disadvantage of a half complete kitchen in the pavilion the amount laid out was staggering. Each sandwich selection had a little flag telling you which was which, home made onions bhajis and then 2 trays of strawberry cream scones and the now Milford trademark fruit keebab were just some of the items available for pudding. Don’t think there was anyone who didn’t have at least two plate fulls, well perhaps the opening bowlers.
The weather was trying it’s best to allow us to get a full game in though the cloud was still low but it was a lot brighter than earlier in the day. Phones were still threatening heavy rain later though.
It seemed that after 6 o’clock might not be a problem the way we started the 2nd innings. By the fourth overs Steve Winspear and Joe Raynor had torn through the Rufforth opening batting to leave them just 9 for 3. Steve really generating some pace but starting to build up a rather alarming collection of no balls. This would come back to hurt us later in the game.
Unable to find his rhythm Steve was taken off and replaced by Sam Thomas. Unfortunately Sam couldn’t keep the pressure on the Rufforth batters and the run rate started to push up to 5 and over required.
Rufforth captain for the day, Paul Charlton, led from the front. He was the lynch pin of the Rufforth reply with a fantastic innings. Try as we liked we couldn’t get him out. Closest to it was when he blasted one through Billy Thompson’s hands when on 34.
Thanks to some superb fielding we managed to chip away at the rest of the Rufforth batting. Dan Ward should buy Joseph Barr a pint for the fantastic catch he took on the beckside boundary to dismiss Warren Lowe. You wont see many finer this year, that wicket gave Dan much better figures then his spell really deserved, not much FIZZ. Perhaps still suffering the after effects of the Bank Holiday tour ?
Rufforth seemed to be cruising to victory with Phil Charlton anchoring 65 & 42 run partnerships for the 7th & 8th wickets. James Bramley had been brought on to try to stop their advance and though very economical couldn’t find that delivery to claim that prized wicket of Charlton.
Sam Thomas was brought back on and it looked at first like a poor decision when 14 runs were smashed off his first 4 balls then he got the wicket of Jack Doyle to leave the game at 183 for 8. Still a big ask for Milford but if we could just get Charlton out we may be in with a chance.
That is exactly what happened in Sam’s next over, Charlton, trying to repeat a boundary like the previous ball, spooned one up for Sam to run on to for a catch. Surely we weren’t going to pull this out of the fire.
Sam had bowled his full 10 over allowance so it was down to Steve and Joe to bring the win home. It looked very unlikely when we conceeded our THIRTEENTH no ball in Joe’s first over back. The second time keeper Alex Ward had been pinged for taking the ball in front of the stumps.
From the extra ball Rufforth scored a vital single, this left them just 2 runs from victory. Amazingly for the next 13 balls we held them to just a single run.
So last over, scores tied, 4 balls left and Steve Winspear thundering down. Not a no ball and the luckless Steve Jackson pushed it straight to Joe Barr at mid on. Thankfully Joe has been as safe as the Bank of England so far this year and made no mistake in taking the catch to leave the game tied.
Blimey, what a game. To be fair we should never have got that close. Giving 13 no balls away is really handicapping ourselves. This cost in total 20 runs when you take into account what Rufforth managed on the extra balls, thought Steve did take one of his wickets with one of them.
Still it showed fantastic attitude from our team, never at any stage did we look like we had thrown in the towel. Well done. 3 points gained I think. Little gripe though, don’t like to see players not changed into whites once the match is underway. Not a very ‘professional’ image to portray as you loaf round the boundary…
If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out. ~George Brett, 1986