MSCC 231 for 3 dec R. Simpson 163*, A. Willcock 23*
Old Salopians 137 All Out R. Simpson 6-14, S. Pettit 2-33, A. Willcock 1-7, O.Selway 1-30
MSCC won by 94 runs
We welcomed back the Old Salopians, maintaining a regular fixture that in recent years has been hard to call. After a miserable June where several fixtures had been lost to poor weather, the scene was set at Middleton Stoney with glorious sun, a good track and what looked on paper to be a strong home line-up. And we welcomed Andy Willcock (who coincidentally happens to be a real Old Salopian) to the club and team for his debut.
Our captain, Simon Lee, won the toss, and had no hesitation in choosing to bat first, deciding on opening with Mark Ford-Langstaff and Richard Simpson, who had actually opened the batting for the opposition in 2014, but only managed a paltry 89 then; so no historic form to talk about.
Regular opposition quickie Richardson opened their bowling, with lucky “13” on his back, but the first over was not, and went for more, in fact Richard’s version of the “off-road” bowler, 4x4.
Mark settled in for an elegant supporting innings, facing roughly a third of the deliveries that his partner went on to handle. Thirteen overs in, and with 75 on the board, Mark fell for a classy 16 off 20 balls faced, including one of the best timed cover drives of his career. It felt like a pitch for run making. Jon Springer agreed, and settled in quickly to join the free-scoring Simpson. The partnership doubled the score in no time at all when Jon was caught for 21 off 20 balls, only 16 overs into the innings. Tim House felt like runs as well; he was disappointed, leaving the way open for the debutant Andy Willcock to join the run fest.
Richard moved onto his 100 in 40 balls, with Andy scoring well. 21 balls later Richard had charged to his 150. The pavilion had been in danger of further damage, the crowds were gathering (and ducking) to see if the club record held by Mike Simpson would soon be passed by his son, and yet the Old Salopians kept their heads up and tried everything to stop the flow of runs. However, it wasn’t enough, and in a flurry of well-timed boundaries (as they all seemed to be) Richard passed the 162, and posted the club record of 163 not out, in 70 balls; his dad must be proud.
Simon Lee called the team in, declaring 45 minutes before tea, with the score on 231, with Andy on 23 not out. 23 overs had been bowled. Middleton Stoney had some work to do.
The Old Salopians were asked to bat for a while before we could all enjoy another great tea from Karen. Middleton Stoney were unlucky not to make early inroads, and the wonderfully calorific tea certainly added to their initial sluggishness. Their regular opener, Bailey had proved to be stubbornly difficult to remove in the past, and was so here, going on to make 42 hard-grafted runs (to add to his 41 last year). Simon Pettit managed to make the breakthrough for MSCC with a huge, toe-crushing in-swinger and followed it up with a second wicket when Bailey decided to go after him and was caught.
But Simon Lee’s canny declaration started to look even shrewder than we should have guessed it was. After 30 overs (7 more than MSCC batted against) we had only two men back in the pavilion, and a draw was likely. However, as it turned out, MSCC still had another twenty-four overs left to bowl…
Andy Willcock – retire now; first over at the club – wicket maiden! (The author’s maiden over for the club was 0-22).
Simon Lee bowled well, and economically, without luck, as had Tim Cranston, and Olly Selway, who was later to pick up a classy LBW with the straighter, but not slower, one.
But Richard Simpson was eventually thrown the ball. Having gone on at length about his record breaking start to the game, I am loathe to do the same now. But the ball turned sharply, Richard put his mind to getting batsmen out, rather than falling out with batsmen, and his return was a well earned 9-2-14-6. Nice work. Mark F-L and Simon P battled in the field to share catches, (only half successfully), and Simon Lee gallantly palmed one up for Andy to snaffle the catch to finish off a good day for them both personally, and a great one for the club. Three overs to spare showed what a good declaration can do and how MSCC can fight hard when they need to.
Many of the Old Salopians commented what a pleasure it was to witness such an innings and a record one at that. Good cricket, good spirit.