MSCC 213/6 R.Simpson 44, M.Ford-Langstaff 40, J.Mumtaz 36, J.Springer 32*
The Law Society 138/9 S.Vadivale 4/24
After nearly a full days rain the previous day our groundsman Dr. Nick Thompson had done another wonderful job in preparing the wicket, putting the covers on and making sure we could get the game on.
Captain for the day, Mark Ford-Langstaff lost the toss and The Law Society asked us to bat on a green, slightly moist wicket. The sun was out and batting got easier as time went on but the first hour was tricky with the ball doing all sorts off the wicket.
Mark indulged himself by selecting his son, Jacob to open the batting with him, having never batted together before. The Ford-Langstaff father and son combo looked settled with Jacob (3) showing plenty of future promise before succumbing to a jaffa from the lively Henderson who bowled with pace and skill all afternoon.
Mark dug in whilst new batsman, Dan Simpson looked in a hurry swinging his blade with plenty of intent. It would have gone a long way had Dan connected but instead he was bowled for 2 and walked off wondering what might have been.
At 16/2 a partnership was needed. Jay Mumtaz looked in the mood and together with Mark the pair added 60+ with some good ball striking and efficient running. Mark departed for 40 bowled off an inside edge whilst attempting another cover drive. A frustrating end to an innings that promised more.
This year's leading run scorer, Richard Simpson took just 17 balls to reach 44 as the Middleton innings took off in explosive style. Richard only managed two singles with the rest coming in boundaries!
There were at least five attempts at catches by the Law Society that went down during our innings so Jay was unlucky when he smashed one straight to mid-wicket where he was caught for 36 despite it coming right out of the middle of his very heavy bat.
One of the drops was off the bat of Jon Springer (32) when he was on nought. This was possibly the most costly of all because the partnership between Jon and Sathya made the difference between an average total and a good total. Between the two of them they put on nearly 50 and enabled us to post 213. Sathya had scuttled well between the wickets for his 19 not out and worthy of particular mention was Jon's six that missed his car by inches! No one individual reached 50 in Middleton's innings so this was an excellent team performance to pass 200.
Tea was a splendid occassion as the Morris family did us proud with a fantastic spread. Jack Morris was playing his second game of the year for us today and we look forward to Richard returning next year from his club in California. Not much mention of rain in their match reports I suspect.
Olly Selway in his accustomed role of opening bowler started well with good control and plenty of swing. He bowled few loose balls for a tidy return of 6 overs for 19 and would have picked up the prized wicket of Miles Picknett had the slip cordon been stood just a bit closer.
In a suprise move, we opened with spin in the form of Sathya from the road end and he struck with his fourth ball, bowling the opener for a duck. The already mentioned Miles (a former MSCC player and welcome back at any time) has scored plenty of runs against us in the past and his wicket is always an important one to take early. The introduction of Richard Simpson proved to be his downfall and was an important moment in the match. With Jay Mumtaz twirling away at the other end in economic fashion, Richard picked up a second wicket to leave the Law Society at 50/3.
Stuart Midson and Adrian Langdale were introduced into the attack next and both bowled with variety and threat, each picking up a wicket in the first over of their respective spells. Adrian bowled with passion, Stuart with precision and the combination proved very effective. Stuart's energetic fielding must also be praised at this point. One chase to the boundary saw Stuart attempt to leap and backheel the ball to prevent a boundary. Unfortunately he missed the ball and the resultant mid air somersault would not have been out of place in the recent olympics. He scored a 10 from the judges!
With 18 overs or so to go, the opposition were 5 wickets down and we were hunting a win. Jack and Jacob (combined age of 25) bowled two overs each at a difficult time with their wicket keeper/opening batsman well set but represented the younger section of the club very well. Indeed, their opener biffed his way to a pugnacious, entertaining 72 before the reintroduction of Sathya into the attack brought an end to his knock - clean bowled off Sat's first ball back.
4 wickets needed, Vadivale and Simpson bowling well but just 8 overs to go. Had we left ourselves too much to do? Not if Jack Morris was going to have anything to do with it. Standing at square leg with the sun right in his eyes we all turned to watch as a top edge flew high off the bat. Looking as cool as a cucumber, young Jack took a stunning catch, moving in fast and getting under the ball to give us every chance of victory. A champagne moment.
Sathya was inspired, taking two more wickets in his next two overs before the final over was blocked out leaving us frustratingly short of victory.
A splendid game of cricket, played in the right spirit with everyone involved at some stage or other. Thank you to the Law Society for being excellent opposition as always and we look forward to welcoming you back again next year.