Holme vs Warton
New boy Price hits debut fifty, whilst Crowther returns career best figures in maximum point win.
With Holme appearing in the first division of the Westmorland League for the first time I can remember (15 years at least), the most noticeable change in the venue is the revamping of the clubhouse, providing an amenable ground for all ages.
Unfortunately, the week leading up to the game had not been the kindest in terms of weather, leaving the ground with a long and slow outfield with numerous daisies to slow the roll of the ball, meaning that lack of fitness was not so noticeable at this early stage in the season (G. Finney took to diving aimlessly in order to not have to chase the ball, a tactic I wish I had also taken).
With all the team present and warming up with some slightly unorthodox stretches in an attempt to show that we meant business, G. Crowther was undecided as to whether the greenest pitch on record was a track to bowl or bat on. Most players were decided on wanting to bowl first and go for 12 points; very confident I might add, but ultimately the captain decided his best chance was to purposefully lose the toss and let Holme decide their own fate; a wise decision!
Holme decided to put Warton in to bat on a pitch that could be as unpredictable as the British summer time. Thankfully G. Price, making his second appearance for the club, embraced the challenge opening up with the explosive J. Winder. The first delivery of the day epitomised exactly how the rest of the day was to play out: slowly! Unfortunately the normally exhilarating batting style of J. Winder was not to come to fruition, as he mistimed a shot and lost his wicket to Weiss for only 6 runs. With the score 8/1 in the third over, it meant that none other than J. Bolton was to make his first appearance of the year, with cries of “see it through” and “take your time” spurring him on as he anxiously made his way to the crease. This was not to be J. Bolton’s time to shine as he drove the ball comfortably into the palms of Hunter at mid-off; Weiss now had two in the over and J. Bolton couldn’t do anything other than slink back to the pavilion with ‘quack quack’ ringing in his ears.
With the score only a mere 8/2 from 3 overs, T. Barnfield trundled to the crease, knowing that stabilisation of the innings was a must. Some elegant stroke play was witnessed over the coming overs, with both Barnfield and Price delivering the ball to the boundary on numerous occasions. Entering the 13th over, both batsman were taking the game in their stride and got Warton to a solid 56/2 when Weiss, chasing his third wicket of the day, managed to scalp Barnfield at the aid of the hands of Manderson. Barnfield left the field with a respectable 28 runs to his name and in the safe knowledge that he had got the innings back on track.
Enter stage left G. Finney, who has this year taken on the VC position after spending a couple of years away from the spotlight, joined colleague, friend and now team mate G. Price in the middle. G. Finney, knowing all too well that a good score was needed and that opportunities would come his way, waited patiently for the chance to dispatch Hunter for 6 on the leg side, a textbook execution that even his pupils would have admired. Hunter, despite having seen the ball go for 6 in the previous over, showed G. Finney that it was an unwise decision, taking his wicket. With the scores now at 84/4 in the 21st over, G. Finney departed with a score of 15 and made way for the competent and experienced R. Nelson who became G. Price’s fifth partner of the day.
G. Price had an afternoon to remember as he showed all players what it takes to make a determined and patient debut half century. Congratulations G. Price; may this be the start of many successful innings at Warton CC. Sadly he was not to push on towards his first century and lost out to a rhythmic Hunter who trapped him in front and dismissed him for a well-worked 56.
The score now at 113/5 from 35 overs, G. Crowther, hoping to display his batting masterclass with R. Nelson that we saw all too often in the previous season, decided not to be selfish and give players down the order an opportunity to don their pads, unfortunately at the expense of joining J. Bolton with a duck to his name.
S. Partridge, having seen G. Crowther cleaned up by Hunter for his third wicket of the day, showed the bowler little respect and the ball was once again sent sailing over the boundary for another maximum putting the scores at 125/6 from 38 overs. However S. Partridge suffered a similar fate to G. Finney after his electrifying stroke and was caught by Stevenson off the bowling of Hunter. Hunter now had 4 wickets for 32 runs.
It was now the turn of A. Weatherill to demonstrate his batting ability, eagerly anticipated by his team mates. However after successfully getting through two deliveries, the third proved to be too much for A. Weatherill who chipped the ball to silly mid-off and set off for a single despite the ball firmly sticking in the left hand of Manderson. The score was now 125/8 from 40 overs.
R. Needham, having not played cricket since the end of last season, made a return to the side and started as he left off, still not knowing how to bat but surpassing his batting tally of last year by sending Hunter for a maximum back over his head, endangering the lives of children playing football in the field beyond. Unfortunately R. Needham attempted the same again the next delivery and was caught by Weiss on the boundary at long on, leaving the field with only 7 runs to his name. Hunter was gleeful at the fact he now had 5 wickets for 38 runs. With R. Nelson and R. Needham crossing mid-flight of the ball, Holt came into the game at the none striker’s end, delivering a red inker of 0 not out as R. Nelson fell to Hunter on the next ball, setting Holme a target of 133 runs to win the game.
Tea was taken between innings with a delightful spread, ranging from cheese and onion sandwiches to home-baked Victoria Sponge and Jamican Ginger Cake which Barnfield simply described as one of the ‘moistest’ cakes he has had the opportunity to experience. All players took the opportunity to fuel up for what would be a cold second innings in the field, tossing up for whether they would need wellies in order to field at fine leg down the hill.
Holme came out to bat having already admitted that their top 5 batsman elected to take part in a stag do rather than playing a game of cricket, a decision that many of us were confused about. Nevertheless, Warton took to the batting line up like any other in the league, knowing that nothing less than 100% in the field was required of all players.
G. Crowther set the tone for the second innings by delivering a maiden over first up and clearly trying to redeem his duck from earlier on. S. Partridge took the difficult job of trying to get anything he could out of the pitch at the opposite end, fighting an uphill battle. G. Crowther was the first to strike, dismissing Stephenson for 2 runs in only the third over, scores 6/1. His success continued as Holme entered their 5th over with the scores at 13/1, and Barnes was cleaned up for a score of 11. S. Partridge joined the party in his third over taking the wicket of Weiss as he went fishing outside off stump. S. Partridge, despite having bowled well up the hill for his first four overs, was asked to come off to allow R. Needham to get some much-needed overs in ahead of the next game against Shireshead on the 5th May. S. Partridge finished with figures of 10-1 from 4 overs. R. Needham, having seen the issues that S. Partridge had been battling, opted to bowl from a much shortened run up and despite some opportunities that weren’t taken in the field, ended his 6 over spell with a return of 28-0.
G. Crowther kept up the pressure as usual, delivering a display of tight bowling, forcing batsman into errors and managing to earn a final tally that will be tough to beat for the best bowling figures of 8-11 from 12 overs. Well bowled captain!
G. Finney came on to replace R. Needham up the hill and delivered straight up with what only can be described as a magical moment, as A. Weatherill leapt like a salmon with his right hand out in front to snaffle the wicket of Varden: definitely one for catch of the season! G. Crowther completed Warton’s bowling display in the 23rd over, bowling Holme out for a total of 49.
Warton CC took the 15 points, making it two wins from two and showing the intent of a team that has a lot to offer this season.
Performances to mention;
G. Price – 56 with the bat, his first half century for Warton CC
G. Crowther – Bowling figures of 8-11
S. Hunter – Bowling figures of 6-38
A fantastic game to play; I would like to thank on behalf of Warton CC the umpires, Mr Dixon and Mr Marshall, who also had an excellent game, and Margaret and Becky who kindly scored all day for both sides.
Many thanks to our generous match ball sponsor; Joe Greenland & Son Roofing.
Written by R. Needham