This early season fixture always battles against the weather but Stragglers arrived under grey but dry skies ready once again to take us on.
Captained by fine batsman, Tony Hooper but without a few men who were running late, Stragglers requested some help in the field when Simon won the toss. Happy to oblige but with strict instructions not to run out his father, Jacob Ford-Langstaff helped out along with Tim House and Simon Lee.
Nick Moorman and Mark Ford-Langstaff making their first appearances of 2017 opened the batting on a fine wicket prepared to his normal high standards by Dr. Nick Thompson.
Nick saw off the first over but Mark only lasted 5 balls before falling to new Middleton bowler, Jim Watson (on loan for the day) miscuing a savage in ducker after first kicking it with his shiny new left boot. He trudged off miserably before returning shortly afterwards to replace Jacob in the field. Simmo (umpiring) kindly pointing out how long the day can seem when you’re out in the first over.
Nick was joined by Jay Mumtaz who proved to be in excellent form bludgeoning his way to 61 with his latest bat. Nick prodded around for a while accumulating 13 runs off 50 balls helpfully removing the shine from the ball before falling caught at point.
Jay’s strike rate was matched by Richard Simpson who hit his usual boundaries with aplomb despite being dropped very early on in his innings. When Richard was finally caught for 46 it was to an excellent over the shoulder running catch by Perry that impressed all those watching.
At this point a collapse would have left Stragglers with a very gettable run chase but Tim House scored a fine 47 in the fifty minutes left which included 1 six and eight 4’s. A tremendous effort that took Middleton to 195 for 9 at tea. Mike Simpson supported well with 11 but ran himself out after a successful ramp shot. Howard Lancaster (1) and Jason Williams also batted.
Tea was very posh. The House family supplied crust less sandwiches whilst the Williams family had baked all manner of cakes. Cups of tea warmed the fielders and Middleton were by now ready to have a bowl themselves.
Tony Hooper hasn’t always opened against us but with at least two hundreds scored on our ground in the past he decided that he would lead the run chase in an ominous show of intent.
Middleton’s opening bowlers had different ideas. Tim Cranston took a wicket in his first over, bowling the opener. Jacob Ford-Langstaff had Tony caught behind by Tim House off his gloves with a lovely rising delivery. He followed this up in his next over with two more wickets (both bowled) at which point Stragglers were 8 for 4 and in deep trouble.
Tim took another wicket but at 23/5 Allsop and Calder started a fightback. Both scored 40’s and scored at 6 an over. They had a long way to go but things had suddenly got easier.
Simon had introduced the double spin threat of Mike Simpson and Jason Williams and each took one of these important wickets. Allsop was caught particularly well on the boundary by Jacob. The tail was finally exposed.
Mike took a second wicket, Richard Simpson bowled another and Nick Moorman smashed one into the pads to seal the victory.
With the threat of rain ever present (it did drizzle for a bit) this was an excellent victory and thoroughly deserved.
Our thanks to Stragglers and we look forward to your return next year.