Terry Griffiths famously said that to David Vine when he got into the final of the snooker world championship at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield in 1979 in his first attempt. He then went on to win the final, beating Denis Taylor 24-16. Hopefully South Milford’s 2nd team can do the same after they easily reached the total set by Kippax in the re-arranged Hare Cup semi-final.
A fortnight ago Milford looked set to beat Kippax in the Hare Cup when the weather spoilt the day. We were cruising on 87-2 chasing 179 when the rain set in and the game had to be abandoned. So it was time to press the reset button and try again this Sunday. In the week the weather forecast was very pessimistic but as the week progressed it got better and better. By Saturday it was predicting a half decent day with little chance of rain and a lot calmer than Saturday.
Milford had a few changes from the side we put out for the first match, Will Hodgekiss, David Batty, Gareth Dodson & Will Bramley missing with Stuart Morley, John Cain, Hew Oeppen and Thomas Richardson coming in as replacements. On paper you might say a pretty fair swap. Kippax had been forced into changes as well and some old faces that used to play for Milford were in evidence, Steve Henshaw & Paul Eastwood. Thankfully Steve’s bubble perm has long since gone.
This time Kippax won the toss and decided to bat, once again the wicket was well over to the beck side but didn’t look too bad and would only dry out as the afternoon progressed with the sunshine which dashed across the ground pushed by the frisky breeze.
Hew Oeppen & John Cain opened the bowling for Milford but John had problems getting his length, bowling into the wind he never settled and Danny Hall took full advantage. Thankfully Hew was bowling much better and had only conceded 4 runs in his first 3 overs.
Milford skipper Billy Thompson was forced to take John out of the attack but his replacement, Sam Thomas, was initially just as bad. His first 3 overs an expensive 30 runs. Kippax were making hay at this stage with 50 coming up in just 48 balls, the only good news for Milford was Hew dismissing Lee Thompson for 7. Danny Hall benefitted from facing most of the out of sorts bowling from John & Sam and raced to a half century.
At this stage it looked like the visitors might be looking at 250+ but then the game started to turn in our favour. Sam started to bowl a better line & length and when young Thomas Richardson got Hall caught by a wonder one handed grab by Martin Bramley at gully we were back in the game. Matty Paul then got James Goodall run out to prompt panic in the Kippax middle order.
From looking set fair at 94-1 Kippax collapsed to 142-9 in the space of 14 overs. The introduction of Charlie Bramley at the pavilion end and Matty Paul from the other prompting wickets to fall. Matty continued his excellent form of Saturday and finished with the best figures, 3-21. Admittedly he proved the old saying that bad balls take wickets, but a wickets a wicket.
Charlie perfectly backed him up with 2 for 32 off his allotted 8 overs. He only blotted his copy book when he overstepped the crease while taking the wicket of the last pair. This mistake was then compounded by Hew dropping the same batsmen while at mid-wicket. It was one of those catches where you get 2 or 3 bites at the cherry but still cannot bring it in. These two errors were to prove costly as the final pair of Ammed Dockrat & Kalim Lajporia put on 32 valuable runs before Hew made amends and yorked Kalim with the score on 174 when he was brought back on to bowl.
It was surprising how close Kippax had got to last times total of 179, almost if we had picked up where we left off the previous game. Hopefully Milford would bat as well as we did in the first game. Teas were provided by the Morley family today and very nice they were. A lovely selection of sandwiches and savouries with the roast ham a stand-out. Home made scones with cream and jam finished it off nicely.
If the younger members of the team had proved to be the key while we were bowling it would be the more experienced players that would set the tone in the batting. Stu Morley, Steve Korko, Martin Bramley & Billy Thompson the top four. If they scored anywhere close to their respective ages we would be well on our way to the win.
For once Stuart started at a gallop and was well into the teens by the 2nd over. Kippax opening bowler Kalim Lajporia not having the success he enjoyed the day before when he collected 6 for 12 away against Thorner. His opening bowling partner James Goodall faired much better and sneaked one through Steve’s defences in the third over. Sadly a duck for Steve today.
Martin replaced Steve and together with Stuart showed how to take the game away from a bowling side. They resolutely defended the good ball and punished anything wide, helped by the quickening outfield they easily kept up with the run rate. The pair obviously had decided to wait James Goodall out and Kippax skipper Paul Eastwood played into their hands by bowling him out in one spell. A fine 1 for 16 was his reward but it left Kippax with the problem who they could bring on to replace him with two now well set batsmen at the crease.
Kippax never solved this problem and by halfway Milford were looking in the box seat on 84 for 1 and both batsmen closing in on half centuries. Sadly just after the drinks break Martin was trapped LBW for 47. He tried to sweep one into the leg side and it kept a bit low. Plum.
Any thoughts of a Milford wobble were soon blown away by skipper Billy who came out swinging. He must have seen that the Kippax body language was poor and decided to keep the pressure on. Three boundaries off his first 10 balls set the tone. Martin & Stuart had put on 73 runs for the second wicket and Billy & Stuart put on another 60 before Stu edged one to the keeper shortly after racking up his second 50 of the weekend.
By this stage it looked like the game was ours for the taking, we only needed another 26 runs when young Joe Thompson joined his dad in the middle. Billy continued in the same vein as he had when partnering Stuart and much to everyone’s surprise fell to the bowling of Danny Hall the ball after scoring a quick fire 50 (26 balls).
There wasn’t much celebration in the Kippax ranks at Billy’s departure as they realised the jig was up. We only needed another 13 runs and when Joe top edged a six into the pavilion the match was ours. A great performance by the whole team, we never panicked when it looked like we were going to be blown away and slowly but surely chipped away at the Kippax batting. We then showed how ‘boring’ batting can prove to be the key to setting the platform for a comfortable win. Top effort.
Now the selection committee has the problem of who to pick for our last final in the Wetherby League when we play near neighbours Church Fenton sometime in early September at Scholes. Lets hope for a warm day as it can be a bit bleak there….