A Declaration of Intent.
By Matthew Gibbons
The one where we scored lots of runs then dropped lots of catches.
Back to the BPSA this week and a showery blustery day (possibly more aprilly than last week’s aprilly – may have to derive a new word for degrees of aprillyness) and the ancient one made it two from two with the customary lost toss and insertion against Janghir and the boys from Whitmore Reans. We opened up with Scarey senior (an obvious choice fresh from his dnb at 9 last week) and the man-child Oli (fresh from his season-opening half century). This all went swimmingly to plan as Oli departed soon afterwards for a duck, shortly followed by the returned Barnes for just 5 and we’re 15 for 2 with the first of the day’s many showers starting to fall. Enter Phil McShane (fresh from his own quack last week). At this point a different game ensued as Macca and Scarey proceeded to first dig in, then smack the ball around the park with some aplomb and great entertainment for the next 20 overs. Scarey was first to 50 in a great knock (although perhaps too many running runs for his liking – an all-run four his particular favourite) and when he finally fell for 70 this only brought in Josh Banks to join in the fun as he smacked the ball some more. Macca’s 50 came in a flurry of 4’s and if anything the tempo of the innings increased some more.
It wouldn’t be a Whitmore Reans game without rain breaks and sums and so it proved again. Credit to Janghir and his troops for staying out in fairly horrid conditions at times (although amazingly we did manage to beat the wet-averse Birmingham Leaguers next door off the field on one occasion – shameful !). We moved into a period of they bowled it, we smacked it somewhere, they found it, dried it, bowled it again and repeat. The score moved into the 230’s and off we came again to do some more maths, Macca by now in the late 80’s. After some discussions we went out again with a few overs decided before a declaration and Phil’s possible ton. Sadly it was not to be as after one more glorious four he swashed his buckle once too often and was bowled by Hussain for a wonderful 93. With more rain expected the declaration came soon afterwards on 235 for 4 and we retired to a contented tea (wonderful as ever – many thanks Matron). Banksey not out 31 at the close.
Obviously it never rained again ! But we cannot really blame part two on that. We know how Reans like to play the game so the scouts were out from the off. Ben Walton bowled his usual tight lines with little luck. Matt Rees, a bit out of sorts and struggling a bit with his line at times, created the better chances and on another day could have picked up 3 quick wickets. Skipper Janghir Khan and keeper Sarfraz Riaz settled in and runs began to flow at a similar pace to our innings (nothing wrong with the new BPSA track these days). Time to take the pace off so on with Banksey and Andy Barnes. That slowed things up a bit. Banksey soon bowled Janghir for 15, following up with Sarfraz for 38. Mehmood biffed it around some more before he too fell to Josh for 21 –again bowled. We needed to hit the stumps because, oh dear, we had one of those days in the field where we couldn’t catch a cold. True the ball was wet, true at least later in the innings it was getting bloody dark, true most of the chances were not totally straightforward but oh dear – we lost count at ten missed opportunities as Reans rode their luck and began to pile on the runs once more to by now a scatter field. Raees Qaseer is a very good batter and he controlled the innings, farming the strike well and merciless in dispatch of the bad, and also pretty good, deliveries. One particular massive tonk onto the roof of Stan’s container next door a particular delight, for them at least ! It got later and darker and colder. We stuck to it, as we do and rang the changes on the bowling. Nick Bill picked up Naeem for 36 and Rocco proved it was possible to take a catch snaffling another one for Banksey in the deep. At long last the tail was exposed but by then it was too late. Nick picked up another with the scores tied but Qaseer steered the ship home for Reans, unbeaten on a fine 75 at the close. Well played Whitmore Reans.
Another good game of cricket against a tough and friendly side, some great batting by us and them in fairly grotty weather and many positives to take not the least being Macca’s fine knock – he has mentioned that he scored more than the 1st XI yesterday ! Catching practice I think on Wednesday.