By Dan Riley
Quintessentially marvellous English cricket grounds should probably be a coffee table picture book to pour over during the murkier months. If there was such a book, Toft CC would feature for sure. It's always a great place to play and over the years there have been some great battles in the seconds but always a beer and a chat afterwards, just as it should be.
With Reg's injury requiring a pin, Will Fisher injured and Matt Hodges unavailable, Dan brought back Joe Killoran as the main leg-spinner, Jack Yates and Archie Riley to bolster the bowling ranks.
It's not a bad thing to lose the toss sometimes and this proved true as Toft chose to bowl on a helpful looking track. Luke's solid start to the season has seen him solidify his top order spot and Reg's keeper/opener role was taken by Griff who adds a bit of class at the top of the order. The pair rattled the score along to 50 in 10 overs as some inconsistent bowling from Toft's openers offered up plenty of scoring opportunities.
Griff's looking in good order this year; his batting is in a good place too! Characteristically solid in defence, good running with the ability to punish anything short, he scored the majority of the 80 for the fist wicket.
Luke's 29 from 67 balls set the platform for the powerhouse middle order of Jack Yates, Spavo and McGovern to up the ante...85 for 3 wasn't ideal. Yates first ball, Spavo guiding one to gully and McGovern in at 5. But Griff looked booked in for the long haul, eying his first ton since 2017.
Another excellent 80 run partnership clicked the score along. Jack is a very destructive player with the ability to make things look easy in the same way Bobby Evans used to. He flicked Nige Muirhead for 6 and struck the ball very cleanly all round the ground before finally perishing for an excellent 45 from 42 balls: fine batting. Joe Killoran, who looked coiled to explode in to runs, came in as the MS Dhoniesque finisher.
Griff progressed serenely to 100 and was finally out for an excellent 105 (13 x 4) leaving Wiggy and Joe to scramble as many as possible. Superb running, baseball style diving for the plate and clean striking from Joe pushed the score to 222. Joe 28 not out - top stuff.
Of all the places not to have teas, Toft seems the most disappointing but with Tesco meal deals and cold pasta salads consumed, Wiggy led the attack into what would be no easy task on a relatively flat looking track. Wiggy has hit the ground running this year, bowling wicket taking balls, threatening batters and, perhaps most importantly, not conceding runs. You can't ask for more! He and Kam Hornby once again set about taking the top order scalps. Kam has been a perfect addition to the side; a really good all round player who fits in to the side well. His 2 wickets and Wiggy's 3 reduced Toft to 45 for 5. Some super deliveries in there too including a snorter from Wiggy which removed Rahid ct Griff for just 1 and an excellent caught and bowled which turned out to be the second best on the day!
Ed Bones still there and Dan shuffled the pack and put on Fishy and Riley...the younger one. A good time to come in to bowl for the youngster who has been playing really well in age group cricket backed up by good reports playing for the 3s. Once he settled in, he bowled a probing line and length, a very promising start in his 6 overs for 17 which could arguably have had a wicket with a sharp stumping from Griff turned down.
Fishy removed Bones and Lloyd before Nige Muirhead rallied the troops with solid batting as Chester searched for wickets. Then Dan got in on the act, taking two courtesy of good catches from McGovern and Griff. Nine down, Wiggy back and locked in to some hostile bowling at Nige - great contest. But with only 4 overs left, the skipper iced the cake with a, some say, needlessly athletic diving one-hander to seal the win and the best caught and bowled of the day award.
Judge for yourself on Toft's Youtube! Wiggy 15 overs 3 for 25, Dan 9 overs 3 for 15, Fishy 2 for 5 and Kam 2 for 42. Top work.
Fantastic 100 run win set up by skilful batting and excellent fielding.
MotM - Griff - An excellent 100 and tidy keeping.
DotD - Jack Yates - He asked Mike the umpire when he was going to get involved in the game to be reminded of his one ball innings!