MSCC v Old Leightonians CC 2022

MSCC v Old Leightonians CC 2022

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Seldom has an entire Middleton Stoney team, including some who in the past have been mentioned for cutting the arrival time fine, been on the ground before a single member of the opposition. With willing hands cutting grass, moving sight screens and completing the innumerable jobs that need to be done on match day the captain looked over his team and came to the unusual conclusion that too many had turned up expecting to play. Concerned consultations were made with the published selection to find that Harry Way was the player to miss out on playing. Disappointed but not disheartened Harry volunteered to spend his Sunday umpiring, hoping no doubt to raise his judicial finger at a crucial juncture. Players on both teams were grateful that he did, a really good example of doing his bit for the club.

The visitors did arrive in good time and having won the toss chose to take first innings. This was no surprise on a day where the weather was benign and bright.  The visitors seemed confident, most players were ominously the younger side of thirty and most were talking of successes from Saturday’s league matches. As the home team took to the field, one decided to take to his car and sped from the ground. He had not taken umbrage at the Captain’s pep talk, but merely needed to fetch his sunglasses to keep out the glare of the midday sun.

The wicket was a little tired having been used twice already. From the first ball, Matt Dipple punctured the surface and found little carry through to keeper Zippy Stoop. Both opening bats looked the part and played positively back up the ground toward mid on and mid off. At the end of the first over the mid wicket consultation was all about slow wicket and lack of bounce. They should have listened to their own advice.

Asif Kamal, rubbing his whip-lashed neck and shoulders supported Dipple. In his third over he exploited the lack of pace and bounce in the wicket. Batter Price saw that the ball was short, lined up the sycamore tree in front of the groundsman’s sheds and swung the bat in a glorious arc. On completing the shot, the ball arrived and looped gracefully into the stumps, Price was bemused, Asif delighted.

The batting still looked assured, until Dipple with a searing yorker did for No 3 Ridler and then Asif picked up a second wicket caught and bowled. 23 - 3 and the Old Boys were rocking. The fourth wicket pair saw off the remaining overs from the openers, who were replaced by Rob Barton and debutant Sam Norley. The fourth wicket should have fallen to a run out, neat outfielding by Matthew Carpenter left the batsman way out of his ground, as the throw came in one bounce at the bowler's end. It merely needed to be gathered by the bowler and Way would be able to raise his finger for the first time. Way’s finger remained resolutely unraised, the ball ungathered. Both Rob and Sam induced some wayward shots, Sam in particular unlucky not to pick up a wicket as the ball eluded diving fingertips. The Old Leightonians were well into recovery when the ball was passed for the first time this season to Paul Wordsworth and to Tim Riley to take pace off and break the partnership. Paul nearly held on to a fiercely struck straight drive, and Ben Breaker at mid-off did well to parry a ball and prevent a boundary. Sam Norley took a good catch at long off to finally break the partnership which had taken the score past 100. Paul Wordsworth caught top scorer Fazackerley at extra cover and Tim held on to a good caught and bowled low to his left. MSCC were back in the ascendency, further wickets for Tim and one more caught and bowled by Paul and the innings looked to be coming to a close for less than 150. Woods the visiting no 7 had other ideas and his final overs flourish helped OL’s to a tea time declaration at 169 - 8.

Traditionally the Morris family provides tea for this fixture. Tradition was maintained in grand style. The first strawberries of the year were much enjoyed, as were the jammy fruit scones and fine array of sandwiches. The visiting team were not keen to leave the tea table when the five minute warning bell rang.

Seril Shah accompanied Harry as a second Middleton umpire for the second innings, once again Chris kept score. Zippy Stoop; young, keen, lean, lithe and fast opened with Mark F-L. matching if only in keenness. The lively Woods opened from the Farm end. It was a good match up, Stoop looking to get forward and timing the ball exquisitely on a wicket that favoured  ball over bat. Price from the Church end was less lively and certainly less accurate. Mark licked his lips and set to work. Woods gave away little, Price was more generous and the total climbed as Middleton looked set to win at a canter. Zippy  was approaching his half century when Mark, facing first change bowler McKay, latched onto a short ball. The ball stuck in the pitch, Mark’s placement was altered and mid off took a sharp chance with ease. 75 for 1 was still a good position. Zippy was looking immovable. Stevyn Jackson struck the ball confidently for an over or two, until suddenly playing all around a straight ball. Matt Carpenter batted at four. He and Zippy took the score past the 100 mark and all looked plain sailing for the last twenty overs. Matt had reached 14 when Zippy struck a fierce drive toward the mid on boundary, it was four all the way had Matt’s ankle not been in the way. Incapacitated and in some pain Matt lasted only one more ball.

Middleton’s middle order merely needed to stay with Zippy. No risks needed to be taken. Sheryn from the Farm end was struggling for rhythm, Price from the Church end unthreatening. But the more Sheryn bowled the more accurate he became, his off spin finding any help available in the pitch. Straight bowling from Price seemed good enough. Wickets began to tumble, Ben Breaker, Paul and Sam all falling in quick succession. Zippy seemed intent on seeing the match through but a ball from Sheryn found him beaten by lack of pace and at last Harry was able to raise his finger for a very obvious LBW. A limping captain came to the crease to Join Dipple. Tactics were discussed, and then ignored as Dipple attempted to launch Sheryn into the next parish. Asif too perished to a poor shot. The win which had seemed in Middleton’s grasp now slipped away as Tim was a second and final chance for Harry to raise his finger.

It has been a good game that the visitors were delighted to win and the home side disappointed to lose. Stevyn and Mark manned a very busy barbecue as bar host Seril served refreshments. It had been a lovely day, but would have been so much lovelier with a win.

During the week Chairman Peter has refurbished the netting around the practice net. The whole area is in much better shape and the players are very grateful. It would be nice to see a few extra faces at Wednesday practice. Howard has been instigating a fifty club to help raise funds to further improve facilities and to make a charitable contribution on behalf of the club. Tickets are available at an entry cost of £20. Prizes are displayed on the poster in the foyer.

 

Tim Riley


Comments are not activated