In what has been an unusual 2020, Wyre's season reached "peak unusual" when it was discovered that one of our 1st XI players had developed Covid symptoms on Sunday - a subsequent test returning as positive. An urgent committee meeting was called where the decision was made to withdraw 1st XI players and officials from selection for this week's game, and other players who may have come into contact with the infected individual the previous week. The league then confirmed that our course of action was the appropriate one - safety and wellbeing being the priority.
This prompted a scramble to fill the 1st and 2nd XI teamsheets with a dozen players missing - requiring a lot of phone calls to members past and present, and a few family members. Unfortunately we were not able to get 2 teams out, but we did manage to get enough people onto the field to battle South Shore II in the Palace Shield Level 4 Gold Semi-Final.
Having lost the toss, Wyre were invited to field first, with Scott Taylor and Glendon Ackerman opening the bowling. Mr Ackerman, playing in his first game in a year, elected to bowl into the wind, tossing up enticing leg breaks and inviting the openers to drive. South Shore got off to a steady start, before Ackerman broke through trapping Trippathi lbw for 8. Scott Taylor broke through at the other end, almost immediately after, David Lever taking an excellent catch in the gully. Wyre's fielding was excellent throughout, and soon South Shore were 44-5, following a THIRD catch at gully by Dave Lever - an absolute worldy of a catch, hands down catch of the season.
However, Zakir Hussain and Rashid dug in, with a 35-run partnership that was looking to ruin Wyre's afternoon early. Captain Hargreaves decided to bowl Ackerman and Taylor out, then bringing on Weber and Pope. The bowling change saw the partnership broken, Chris Gregson taking an excellent catch, running in from deep backward point, off the bowling of debutant Pope. However, the South Shore batsmen dug in, and Hargreaves opted to switch Weber to the other end, bringing on Dave Lever to bowl accurately, taking one wicket into the breeze.
Wyre were unable to finish off South Shore, the only further highlight being a fantastic caught and bowled from Weber (left handed!) and South Shore finished on 140-9 of their 40 overs. The pick of the bowlers was Ackerman with 2-15, and Taylor with 3-32.
Wyre then enjoyed a short, socially distanced break for tea, where Mr Weber discovered that he had neglected to bring his own food - complaining that he was expecting tea to be provided and he wasn't told about the Covid regulations! A quick-witted Tom Gregson's reply - "What year do you think this is? 2019!?". Indeed.
Wyre went out to bat, opening with Chris Gregson and 'keeper Jon Minshull. They looked set to provide a good platform, facing the accurate pace of Richardson and the wiley spin of Iqbal. Unfortunately Jon suffered a hamstring injury, meaning he had to come off the field. Hargreaves promoted Duffield up to number 3, with the instruction to block it out, and hold up an end, while the other batters progressed the scoring.
Despite Duffield's attempts to run out Gregson, they both managed to bat out a good few overs with a mixture of resolute front-foot defence and quick singles, Gregson playing some lovely shots. However, Gregson had a lapse in concentration and played a back-foot shot to a ball he should have been forward to and was bowled for 12. Minshull returned with runner Taylor, but hampered by his injury was not able to add many runs before he was bowled. Pope, inserted at number four after massively over-stating his batting credentials to the captain was gone quickly for 0 and Wyre were 29/3.
It was at this point that skipper Hargreaves strode to the wicket. Keen to impose himself upon the bowling attack, an expansive back-foot drive off his first ball fell just short of slip. Having definately not learnt from the experience, Jon repeated this shot to his next ball, knicking behind to South Shore's jubilent 'keeper. If you ask Jon, he will tell you he never touched it; lets just move on from that one!!
At 29/4, Weber strode to the crease knocking some lusty boundaries, including one massive 6 that the fielder had to retrieve from across the road in front of the Trebaron garden centre! Sadly, this cameo came to an end. To add insult to injury next man in Taylor proceeded to run down the wicket, attempting to hit a 6 off his first ball and being stumped MILES out of his crease. The writing was on the wall at this point, but Duffield continued to dig in, figuring that if Wyre can't win the match, we can at least keep South Shore in the field and bore them to death! However, the rest of the order was dismissed cheaply, and despite a few bigger hits from Duffield toward the end, and a beautiful 4 from Ackerman off his legs, Wyre were all out for 65.
Sadly it was not to be today, but with 12 first-choice players ruled unavailable, Wyre did well to field a competitive team - the highlight being a really good performance in the field. While the result was a disappointment, we did prove one thing, that as a club, we can pull together, get a team out there and compete. Despite our disappointment, the team enjoyed the day and it was really good to see a few old faces back, and to welcome debutant Pope. Lots of positives to focus on - 2021 is going to be a top season for Wyre!