Another One Slips Through Our Fingers
Once again Milford fail to take the chance of a win and Winnie has a day to forget.
This week we traveled to the current league leaders Garforth Parish Church. The team were still feeling confident in spite of the mid-week defeat by Kippax in the Senior Evening Cup. Last weeks exciting tie had proved we had a bit of grit in the team but we seemed to be developing a habit of getting into winning positions only to throw them away. Could we avoid that today ?
Big changes to the team today as quiet a few of the regulars were away, Stu Morley on his charity bike ride, Alex Ward at a music festival and Ben White attending his Mum’s wedding. To replace that trio were Peter Batty, Matty Paul & Sean Nesbitt, not a bad set of replacements so the team were not much weaker than at first choice perhaps.
A lovely day was in prospect as the sun was out and it was getting warmer. The ground looked a picture and the long dry spell we were enjoying made the wicket hard and the outfield lightning fast. The team felt that we should be chasing totals after the last couple of weeks had seen us failing to defend modest totals. The captain, Paul Hebden, once again won the toss so we had the chance to try out this new theory.
Milford’s cunning plans were chucked straight out of the window when opening bowler Steve Winspear was forced off after bowling a second full toss in just 7 balls. See rule 41.7 if you want to see the full explanation.
Steve had one of those days when the Cricketing Gods decide your going to have nothing but bad luck. Once he had been removed from the bowling attack the ball started following him all round the field and he couldn’t catch anything today. I think if he had hid behind the pavilion the ball would have found him. Then in trying to take a diving catch he landed on his knee which swelled up to the size of a large orange.
So Dan Ward found himself bowling a lot earlier than he expected and though neither himself or Joe Raynor was really expensive Garforth got themselves off to a really good start. Openers James Alinson and Jamie Stockton put on a century partnership. Stockton has long been a thorn in Milford’s side in these fixtures between the two clubs and once again made a big score.
If Steve was having a bad day then Milford skipper Paul Hebden was not that far behind him, loosing his opening bowler wasn’t the best start to a match then it looked like Garforth would bat all day. Even bringing on the spin twins of James Bramley & Sam Thomas didn’t do the trick. He compounded Milford’s misery later when a shot was miscued high into the sky off Joe Raynor by dropping it when confidently calling every one off and trying to chase it down himself. Oh skip, no one to blame but yourself...
Eventually things began to go Milford’s way, Billy Thompson held onto a catch to dismiss Alinson and Joe Raynor, on return to the attack, found a way past Stockton’s bat to stop him getting the much deserved century. It was the introduction of Sean Nesbitt that really changed the match, from looking to be posting something beyond 250, he started to peg Garforth back.
The longer Sean bowled the better he got and 4 for 38 was a fine return for a really fine spell of bowling. From 158 for 2 in the 34th over Garforth closed their innings on just 210 for 8. He would have had a fiver if it were not for skipper Heben. His conscience pricked when Garforth wicket keeper James Baldwin was given out LBW. Paul called him back and rescinded the appeal, it cost us 15 runs but he got a good nights sleep.
So another fighting performance by Milford in the field as we kept going right to the end of the 45th over. Leaving us with a target that was chaseable at just a smidge over 5 an over. Garforth teas were not in the Thompson league but perfectly presentable and decent amount (please note Ledsham) and a cream strawberry scone was on offer. Only squirty cream though, marks lost there.
It was still a glorious afternoon when we took the field to open our innings and a new opening partnership of Peter Batty & Sean Nesbitt strode out to the middle. Very contrasting styles of batting, Peter the orthodox steady opener where as Sean tries to score off every delivery. This might be the perfect combination and when Sean rocketed to 6 off three balls it looked like an inspired selection. Sadly that was as good as it got as next ball Sean top edged a return to bowler Darren Childe. A Big blow.
Matty Paul came in at three and though he and Peter made sure a collapse wasn’t on the cards they didn’t push the run rate on much. Neither are known as great runners between the wickets and they left quite a few singles out on the field today (classic cricket reporting phrase or CCRP). So much so at halfway we were just 60 runs and the rate had climbed to over a run a ball.
Not an impossible task but one of these batsmen, so settled in now, really had to go on and get a big score to give up any hope of reaching our target. Alas both fell just short of a fifty and within an over of each other. This meant the new batsmen had to rebuild the innings, get themselves in and still keep up with a run rate that was slowly rising.
This scoreboard pressure proved to be the deciding factor in the match as none of Milford’s middle order could mount a serious attack. Lower order hitting from the spin twins, James Bramley & Sam Thomas, provided entertainment but by then we were too far behind and the final result never looked in doubt.
Just to put the cherry on the cake the Cricket Gods hadn’t finished with poor Steve Winspear yet and awarded him a golden duck just to round off his miserable day. The scorer bravely volunteered to get driven home by Steve just in case he felt suicidal, though the way his day was going he would probably find the gas cut off at home and the rope been used to tether the nipper.
So the Milford innings closed on 187 all out with two balls to go, we did get 1 bonus point for our efforts but there had been a chance of at least 5 during the match. That is the third or fourth time this season where we could have come away with a win, bit disappointing compared to last year.
"A diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." – Chinese Proverb - think i prefer 'wax on, wax off'