The belated start to the 2016 season saw Cooey’s men travel to the bleak wilderness of Beckwithshaw. Bags bulging with emergency sweaters, the team huddled together in the meagre changing facilities to preserve some collective warmth before eventually emerging for some pre-match routines. Victory at the coin toss fell our way and Cooey wasted no time in inviting a new look ‘Shaw side to have a bat. Expecting the temperature to drop even further as the day wore on, there were no complaints from the Pool lads. Buzz had already won the rest of the team over by supplying hand warmers for all.
Opening up with the ball for Pool was the 2’s answer to Walsh & Ambrose, Jamie Wilkinson and the returning Matthew Naylor. Jeffrey and Wilkins led the way for ‘Shaw. Both bowling got off to a good start, with Jamie unlucky to see an edge go between ‘keeper and slip in his first over and Richard Carlton spilling a tough one handed chance from Buzz a few overs later. Jeffrey looked to be settling in for the long haul, in contrast to Wilkins who was struggling pretty much from ball one. In the 15th over Jamie, being given one more before the first change, made the first breakthrough to open up his account for the season, trapping Wilkins in front for a scratchy 16. Controversially, this didn’t buy Jamie an extra over as Buzz swapped ends after a rest period. Dan Hewer was on at the other end but unusually struggled a little to find his rhythm. Buzz claimed his first of the season soon after, cleaning up the big wicket of Dax Guy for 6. Hebblethwaite fell cheaply next, grabbed well at slip by Carlts off Buzz, which brought the Aire Wharfe frequent flyer Liam Mulligan to the crease. Buzz was now into his stride and was pushing it through nicely. He was just too good for Mulligan who soon saw his timber rearranged with just 2 to his name. Beckwithshaw were in trouble at 88-5. It was about this time in proceedings when a few flakes of snow started to fall. Thankfully the game situation kept the lads in good spirits. Richard Wilson, in at 6, steadied the ship for the home side, although he received little support from the other end once Buzz removed Jeffrey with a decent 57 to his name. Cooey brought himself on in place of Dan but lasted just one over before bringing Phil Dibb into the attack. Jamie came back on to replace Buzz and was soon back into the wickets, showing the benefits of bowling full & straight trapping Hotchkiss in front for 5 before demonstrating athleticism more suited to a teenager in leaping, salmon-like, to snaffle a caught & bowled chance to send C Stokes packing. Tiffany came & went, Jamie’s 3rd LBW and 4th wicket of the match before Dibby sewed things up, bowling Wilson for a crucial 37. Beckwithshaw all out for 152; an easily gettable total on a good strip with a solid batting line-up. Jamie & Buzz returned decent figures of 4-40 and 4-41 respectively.
Was 2016 to be a season devoid of nervous batting and bum twitchy finishes? It remained to be seen as Pool openers Phil Dibb and Richard Carlton strode out into the middle. Things got off to a bad start when Carlts fell with just 6 on the board, bowled by Hotchkiss. Mark Wilkinson was in at 3 but he came & went fairly quickly, trapped in front for 1 as Hotchkiss claimed his second with just 9 on the board. This brought the skipper into the middle with plenty to think about, and he soon began a rebuilding job with Dibby. Whilst Cooey punished the bad ball, Dibby anchored the other end and a decent partnership was evolving. Things were swinging back in Pool’s favour, helped along by some poor fielding at times. Cooey was let off the hook once, dropped at deep mid-on by journeyman Mulligan, but in the end fell for a well-crafted 45 with the score on 75. The introduction of junior Ben Stokes to the bowling attack raised an eyebrow or two but his selection was soon vilified. Cameron Duncan, in at 5, was guilty of failing to punish the bad ball as he chipped one from Stoke straight to backward square leg and a couple of overs later Dan Hewer fell into the same trap. Dibby was really unlucky to be given out caught behind for 20 after clipping his pad with his bat and Jamie, in at 7 with instructions to move things along a bit, lasted just 2 balls before being sent on his way LBW. 74 for 2 had become 86 for 8 and the ball was now very much in ‘Shaw’s court. Rupert Wyard in the number 8 spot was grafting hard and when Jimmy Carlton fell LBW to Hebblethwaite for 7, had a big job to do with Buzz to get Pool anywhere near to the total required. A good partnership developed between the two of them, with Buzz playing some big shots, resulting in another dropped catch by Mullers, and both nurdling the ball around to keep the score ticking over. With 17 to his name, Rupes aimed to swipe one through the mid-wicket area but picked out the fielder with 20 runs still required. Josh Bent was the last man in but was unable to add to the total as young Stokes claimed his 6th wicket of the match to close out the innings with Buzz left stranded on 26.
The day’s TFC award undisputedly went to Beckwithshaw’s Liam Mulligan for failing with the bat, ball and in the field.
A disappointing result in the circumstances, but some positives to take away at this stage of the season, in particular the bowling and fielding, with good batting contributions from Cooey, Dibby and Buzz. More needed from the rest of the top order as the season moves on, and Pool should be more than capable of causing a few upsets.