After a tropical Saturday, we took to the field in weather promising a tropical storm! This week’s opposition were the highly rated Steeple Aston. I had only heard and read previous reports of the previous titanic meetings. Steeple Aston’s 11th man only arrived after tea, though, and having won the toss, they inserted MSCC, an interesting choice on what seemed like a placid pitch but maybe the opposition captain knew about the oncoming rain! We generously gave them a fielder throughout our innings.
MSCC opened with the reliable partnership of Howard Lancaster and Tim House. Both started brightly until House fell after looking fluent. Enter the tall and stately Moorman Jnr. fresh from his 100 last week. Joe continued where he left off, driving strongly and flicking off his legs gracefully, supported by his father and grandfather.
Joe cruised to 50 before a mix up led to his run out. Mark Ford-Langstaff joined Howard and started solidly. Howard fell immediately after the drinks interval and form batsman Tim Riley strode out and strode back in as the half an hour of constant rain finally became strong enough for the players to retreat to the pavilion. This 20 min interlude would prove crucial to the result of the game as Middleton were on course to pass 200 comfortably. Instead, after going back out, we only had time to reach 198-5 before declaring with Mark undefeated on 39. Special thanks to Steeple for braving the rain and to Simon Lee for providing an 11th man to field and not continuing batting after tea.
A sumptuous tea was waiting, made by the Vadivale family. After a shortened tea interval, Middleton came out to defend their score on a drying pitch. Simon Pettit and Martin Randall opened but the Steeple openers coped well with good bowling. David Lewis replaced Randall with his leggies, bowling with great skill and cunning.
Despite the bowlers’ best efforts, many changes and wickets falling regularly, we got to the 20 over mark with Steeple needing exactly 100. Game on. Though some control was applied by the bowlers, Steeple opener Stan Owen stood firm and, taking advantage of being dropped a few times, began to open up favouring the leg side boundary. Simon Pettit was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three wickets, and Mark Ford-Langstaff was the pick of the fielders, chasing a ball to the boundary and returning perfectly to secure a run out. Simon Pettit also threw in fiercely and accurately from the boundary to come as close as possible to a second run out. In general, though, our fielding was below par.
With wickets falling in the last hour, MSCC began wresting the initiative back, so 3 runs were still needed in the last over. A single and 4 dot balls followed leaving Steeple needing 2 off the last ball. A lusty blow by Simmons saw the ball sail to the straight boundary for a six as Steeple Aston won on the last ball, to round off a great game with an exciting finish. It was a pity about the rain but well played, Steeple Aston.