I Just Need 5
Milford falter as the heat and Barwick’s strong batting prove too much.
The hottest day of the season so far saw us travel to Barwick in Elmet. Not a cloud in the sky greeted us on our arrival and none turned up all day. As you would expect with the heatwave we are experiencing the ground was rock hard and the outfield like lightning. Not a day for 45 overs in the field.
A couple of changes from last week, Sean Nesbitt back as Rich Taylor went back down to the seconds due to family commitments. Steve Winspear was back as James Bramley was out with a very nasty gash to his none bowling hand picked up on a wild night out (apparently).
It would be a good toss to win but for once Milford’s skipper, Paul Hebden, good form with the toss failed him and Barwick won and asked us to bake in the field for 45 overs. No surprise. This was going to be a good test of our team, Barwick are always in the top of the championship come the end of the season and I can remember very few occasions when we have left with a victory. Their form, like ours, has been very up and down so we are neck and neck with them in our chase of Garforth PC at the top of the table.
Joe Raynor and Steve Winspear opened the bowling, Steve taking the uphill end. It was Steve who made the first break through when he got Barwick’s overseas player, Mitchell Cullen, caught at point by Sean Nesbitt.
With the heat short bowling spells were the order of the day and after just 10 overs the spin of Sam Thomas was brought into play. Sam wasn’t having the best of days having had problems with laundry and transport before the start of the game. I thought Barwick was going to really suit him today, the bigger outfield offering more protection and the dry wicket giving the ball more grip. Alas I was wrong and his day got no better as he struggled to find a consistent line and length. Perhaps he was missing his spin twin James at the other end.
Our main threat with the ball today was Sean Nesbitt and once again he claimed a wicket in his first over. Sean was to finish his 10 over spell with a best of the day 3 for 55. Milford were very much on top for the first third of the game restricting Barwick to just 38 runs in the first 15 overs but as the game progressed and the heat increased our grip started to slip. The strong Barwick middle order started to dominate, more and more the ball started to gallop through the gaps to the boundary.
Rob Nichols was the first Barwick batsmen to get his fifty in the match coming off just 42 balls and together with Luke Pocklington started to pick up the pace. Not sure if they sensed that Milford were starting to tire but from 127 for 5 in the 30th over to the eventual closing score of 233 for 6 the run rate kept steadily increasing.
Milford skipper Paul Hebden tried changing his bowlers but Dan Ward proved costly and the return of the two openers only gained us the wicket of Nichols. Pocklington found the perfect partner in Kevin Wrensch with whom he pushed the ball all round to add 80 valuable in the last 10 overs and take Barwick over that psychological barrier of 200.
Pocklington finished on 58 not out and his partner Wrensch on 29. Looking at the target it seemed we had let them get away and if we had kept the score to 180 to 190 ish we would have come off the field very happy with our performance. As it was Milford left the field hot, sweaty, a bit red and slightly disappointed.
Barwick supplied us with excellent teas, good selection of sandwiched and sweet stuff all laid out against the side wall of the bar. A new choice for the season was Coronation Chicken, that classic making a welcome return. Didn’t see the almost obligatory cream scone thought.
As the Barwick innings proved a nice steady start was all that was required but just when it appeared openers Stu Morley and Alex Ward had got settled both were out within an over of each other for an identical score of 9.
The Milford wickets kept falling at regular intervals, no one partnership really proving to be the match winner. Hope were raised when Joe Barr and Sean Nesbitt got together but after pushing the score up to 76 Sean was given out LBW. Joe battled on this time with Matty Paul and once again gave us hope but he was bowled for 40 shortly after his Dad decided to come over to spectate.
Matty was out soon afterwards and it was up to skipper Paul Hebden and Joe Raynor to try to rebuild the run chase. In this heat Paul was never going to do it in singles so was forced to look for a boundary every over. This pressure finally proved too great and he was bowled for 30 with the score on 180 with 6 overs left.
A gamble was taken and Dan Ward was promoted up to 9. It was hoped he could repeat the fireworks he showed in his maiden first team 50 at the start of the month in the Fred Fleetwood Cup. Alas one ball was all that was needed to prove that was going to be a false hope.
15 runs off the 42nd over gave us hope of an unexpected win, taking the score over the 200 mark, but alas Mitch Cullen bowled last man Sam Thomas to end our hopes. It left Joe Raynor with a fine 36 not out at the non-strikers end.
So the last match of the first half of the season had been lost and we have learned a few things so far.
Most of the games will be close affairs (we could/should have won at least another 2).
Sam can take wickets but will get a bit of tap, twin James is much tighter but not getting as many wickets. Perhaps need that ‘Pie’ ball that Sam has which seems to get many batsmen. Almost as if it’s planned.
Our batsmen get started well enough but none has yet gone on to make a really big score, we are yet to congratulate our first centurion.
Matty Paul CAN catch as long as he doesn’t have to think about it.
Stu Morley currently is the front runner for the SNAIL but has the biggest 6 of the season so far. The straight hit at Scholes closely followed by a couple of thumps by Joe Raynor into the car park at Milford when we played Thorner.
Joe Barr will feature in the season highlight reel for the catch against the beck side boundary.
Fruit kebabs are this seasons must have tea item.
The fines kitty has not been this fat so early in the season. Tip – get saving or negotiate a good payment plan………...