White’s Efforts in Vain as Fenton Complete the Double
By John Richardson
Milford’s mid season slump continues with defeat to local rivals Church Fenton.
This week saw us play host for the local derby against Church Fenton. The summer drought had finally broken but fortunately the thunder & lightning of the previous couple of days had gone away though there was a threat of it returning later in the afternoon. The ground was still rock hard though and the outfield almost golden.
Milford were hoping to get their second half of the season kicked off after back to back defeats. Our only win coming when Ledsham conceded the match not been able to raise a team on the weekend of the England football teams semi-final match.
A couple of changes this week as Stu Morley & Joe Raynor were away. Peter Batty returning and Matty Paul back after his adventures in deepest darkest Africa. The return of bowler Steve Winspear was welcome news as the bowling line-up was still looking a little light.
Milford skipper Paul Hebden this time lost the toss and we were asked to bat. Fenton obviously wanted to give new bowling recruit Alex Rose an early chance to show his class. Rose had been playing for York CC first team but had fallen out of favor and their coach, ex England & Fenton player Jim Love, had persuaded him to get some cricket under his belt lower down the pyramid. He looked useful while warming up much to the consternation of Martin Bramley who had volunteered to open in Stu’s absence.
The game started on time under sunny skies but with a freshening breeze. A new Milford opening partnership of Alex Ward & Martin Bramley started off cautiously. Alex settled in quicker than Martin and welcomed Fenton’s Alex Rose to the Swan Croft with two sixes but Rose had the last laugh when he trapped Alex LBW the next ball. Martin was struggling at the other end and failed to trouble the scorers by the time he was also caught on the pad in front of the wicket by Tom Dean for a 16 ball duck.
If things looked poor for Milford at 20 for 2 it was even worse one ball later when Billy Thompson was caught behind for a golden duck. It had certainly been an eventful opening 6 overs. Ben White decided the best form of defense was attack and took on Rose. Ben won this little battle and Rose was taken out of the attack after conceding 5 boundaries. Milford needed a steadying partnership but Joe Barr couldn’t keep Ben company long getting caught for 10. A big improvement on the brace of ducks he got in the last few weeks.
Matty Paul didn’t last much longer becoming Tom Dean’s fourth victim. Ben White at the other end must have been wondering what was going on. Finally Milford managed to build a partnership when skipper Paul Hebden joined Ben. Paul had the experience to let Ben have the majority of the strike, which proved to be the right decision. Ben started to accelerate and had a touch of luck when he was dropped on 48. This didn’t seem to phase Ben as he reached his fifty shortly after, off just 35 balls.
Milford were now in the driving seat and the score rocketed past 100, by the drinks break we were 125 for 5 looking in a much better position. Shortly after the drinks the wind started to really pick up and the sky to the west was very grey and lightning could be seen in the distance. A sudden burst of rain made everyone scuttle off the field but by the time the covers had been put on it had blown over and we were set to re-start. Only a 10 minute delay meant we lost no overs but Paul made the classic mistake after a break of playing a loose shot to a bad ball and was caught at cover when he failed to clear the boundary. Not the type of rookie mistake you expect from Paul. The promising 75 run partnership broken.
Ben would have to farm the strike cleverly as the Milford tail hasn’t a big history of wagging furiously. Saying that we managed to put on 33 & 29 runs on for the next two wickets, James Bramley & Steve Winspear keeping Ben company as he marched to his 2nd century of the season. In fact they have come in consecutive home games.
Dan Ward fell with 4 overs left from a fine catch by Simon Wilman, the big spinner taking one that came over his shoulder, never easy. Sadly Ben White finally got out for 128 with two overs remaining when he tried to put young Aiden Ruckledge into the gardens.
So 225 all out which was certainly better that 69-5 but perhaps those lost couple of overs at the end had been critical as a score nearer 250 would have put extra pressure on the visitors.
It was James Bramley’s turn for teas this week and an excellent spread was presented. Three different types of warm sausage were on offer, though I couldn’t tell much difference. Lovely sandwiches and a fantastic range of cakes. Lemon drizzle and chocolate brownie the stand out.
Milford needed a good start to back up the efforts of Ben with the bat but neither Steve Winspear or Dan Ward could get that illusive early wicket. Steve the more dangerous of the pair, Dan looking a bit wayward. Good balls mixed in with some real rubbish. Dan picked up one warning for an above waist no-ball in our opening spell.
Steve was taken off after 5 overs for James Bramley and it seemed an inspired decision when he claimed the first wicket in his opening over, bowling Fenton skipper Steve Wragg. This brought in James Davidson who had scored a match winning 68 in our first game against Fenton. He continued in similar fashion and together with opener James Langrick put on 110 runs for the 3rd wicket. Another fine innings.
By 30 overs Fenton looked favorites for the win 162 for 1, well up on the run rate with plenty of wickets in the shed. Neither of the Bramley spin twins could stop the flow of runs or pick up wickets so Steve was brought back on and star of the batting, Ben, was bowled from the pavilion end. It proved it was Ben’s day when he finally broke the Fenton pairing by bowling Davidson.
This didn’t seem to stop Fenton’s march to the win, Alec Rose was pushed up the order the finish it off and just when it looked like the job was done Steve picked up two wickets in consecutive balls. Ben backed him up the following overs by getting Langrick caught for 53.
Fenton now were certainly wobbling, five overs left 26 needed and 5 wickets left. To Fentons advantage Steve Winspear had now bowled out so Dan was brought back into the attack but on his third ball bowled his 2nd waist high full toss and had to taken off (the second time this year this has happened to Dan). This meant James Bramley had to come back on. As it turned out it was to our benefit as James picked up his second wicket.
It looked like the game was going to go to the last over but Simon Wilman decided to take the responsibility of getting his team over the winning line. He knocked 20 off Milford hero Ben White from 9 balls to finish the game with 2 overs left. Two big sixes off poor leg side balls into the beck side field sealed our fate.
So Church Fenton get the bragging rights for this season completing the double on us and we are still looking for our first ‘proper’ win of the 2nd half of the season. Congratulations must go to Ben White who with his 128 is currently the leading run scorer in the WCL division 1.
The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity.
George Bernard Shaw