A sunny Sunday, the penultimate weekend in April, Nick Thompson on the roller! This can only mean one thing, it’s the 2017 season opener for Middleton Stoney Cricket Club.
Year in, year out some things never change. The Min CC provide an excellent and enjoyable first team to play, Richard Simpson blasts the ball to all parts of the ground…. And Sathya turns up late! With unusually sunny weather and skipper Simon Lee arriving fresh off a plane from New York, he elected to bat first, opening with the formidable pair of Richard Simpson and Tim House, the former all muscle and fire, the latter all style and panache. Once again, the Doctor had prepared a pristine looking pitch and we were ready for the opening shots of the season!
And what an opening salvo! Richard Simpson, continuing from the last two years, shot out of the blocks rapidly with the score rocketing to 40-0 after 4 overs! Tim House looked fairly sedate with his 1 run off 2 balls. The Middleton Innings was given the impetus through a highly enjoyable tour de force by Richard. He brought up his 100 very quickly before falling to the Min spinner Jahirul Islam who took a good catch off his own bowling.
As with all good sides, The Min never really gave up and stuck at it with all catches being held with aplomb. With the dismissal of Richard, the innings resumed some sort of normality and all the top 7 chipped in to take the score over 200. The most notable contributions were from Time House (33) and debutant Tim Riley (38) who looked as stylish a number 5 as Middleton have had for a long time! He had so much time on the ball, Sathya could use some of it to get to matches on time! All in all, The Min pulled it back well to dismiss Middleton for 223 with their wily spinners Iqbal (3-34) and Wright (4-11) mopping up the middle and late order with some aplomb. Though the early bowling figures seem rather expensive all the Min bowlers bowled well, it’s just that they encountered hurricane Simpson in the zone! However, with the pitch playing well and an early tea being taken, 223 was still immensely gettable.
Special thanks to Simon Pettit and Kath Moss for stepping up and providing a wonderful tea with superb sandwiches and cakes to complement the feast of cricket we had seen in the first half. As a side note, let’s get on that tea rota and put our names down! (Ed – here it is)
Middleton took to the field well fed and keen to take on the challenge of trying to dismiss a good batting side. Opening with Simon Pettit and Chairman Van Der Kerkhof (lovely to see him back in whites by the way!) Middleton controlled the Min openers with some tight lines and good lengths from both openers with Simon proving particularly difficult to get away. Dare I say it, it’s the best I’ve seen Simon bowl for some time. The mark of a good captain is the marshalling of bowlers to create a win. Usually he’ll only have 3-4 to juggle. Simon had 8! However, whether due to lack of sleep, jet lag or just years of playing top quality chess, Simon ably marshalled these magnificent 8 to dismiss The Min for 180 with 1.3 overs to spare! Wickets were shared all round and Tim Riley capped off an impressive debut with a sharp catch in the gully to take the last wicket off Richard Simpson.
So, both teams left the field of battle with smiles on their faces and the alluring smells of the first barbecue of the season. Great game, enjoyable day and wonderful opposition. See you next year, The Min!!!