It was the second game of the season at MSCC before the Delaney Big Bash the following Sunday with the popping champagne corks and the lively brass band eagerly anticipated. Cometh the hour cometh the Stragglers!!. In hope of raining on this auspicious event, the Stragglers appeared including a previous centurion in their midst along with the welcome sight of an umpire dressed for the occasion happy to do both ends and both innings. Deck chairs and lounging in the Sun and jovial camaraderie beckoned all lazy afternoon long. No more thoughts or worries about disputed LBWs and angry fellow team members skulking off in high dudgeon muttering darkly about some “ Dullard or Village Idiot” having unjustifiably triggered them in their prime.
Middleton exploded into action with Stragglers batting first and wickets tumbled aplenty in the early stages with the Stragglers being reduced to 8 for 3. The excitement was palpable, high fives in abundance and a very early tea was spoken about in hushed tones after each batsman departed cursing his luck. The number 4 was not to be so easily removed and in the immortal words of Mr G Boycott “ batted as if his life depended on it” and began to turn things around. Despite 5 more ducks after he appeared at the crease (including mercifully the previous centurion spoken of in awe hereinbefore sorry legal jargon as promised!! ) he managed to get to 82 before finally being dismissed by Richard Simpson who took 5 wickets to add to his undefeated century the previous weekend. Only one other Stragglers player reached double figures but a creditable total of 132 was reached which appeared a minor task with the largesse of batting primed and ready for action in the Middleton locker.
Sadly this did not prove to be the case and despite a better start than the Stragglers thanks to Dan and Mike Simpson wickets began to tumble and worried faces and furrowed brows began to emerge on and off the field. Oh for the brass band to arrive early to lift the spirits and for the vintage champagne to calm the nerves.
A solid but far less exciting performance than the Stragglers main run scorer from Stevyn Jackson(3) and Danny Clarke(6) both getting into the 30S steadied the Middleton ship with assistance from Jon Springer with a very quick fire 15 and finally Richard Simpson 22no and an injured Mark Ford Langstaffe bravely batting as last man having been injured whilst fielding saw Middleton home with one wicket spare.
An exciting game that went to the wire what more could the paying public want of their sporting heroes in the Park?