Can we stop having these close games, they’re not good for my heart!
After the last two games being close, and knowing we were down a few key players, I went into this game fully expecting defeat, from a Birch Vale team who have been hitting some big numbers, so when asked what I’d do, I suggested we batted, so if we’re turned over, then we could at least get home early, then we found out their big-hitting batter wasn’t available either, so changed my tune; the weather however had other ideas!
With the rain coming down, and Brian Stone on one of his many, many holidays :), stand-in Captain James Beswick lost the toss, and Birch Vale put us into bat, obviously with the thought, that should the game be on and off, they could at least get a couple of bowling points, so with Martin Hatton glued to his phone telling us minute by minute when the rain was going to be cleared, we all sat semi-patiently… At 3:25, with 5 minutes left before the game has to be abandoned, Stalybridge finally take to the crease, with both sides overs reduced to 25, Jordan ‘Son, you’re not an opener’ Elliott and Alex Wilde opened, with Jordan hitting a career best of 35, lasting 18 of the 25 overs before being caught on the boundary that was looking to be a guaranteed six. Well done son!
With the overs ticking down, the runs were coming at a steady pace, and Stalybridge put in a respectable performance finishing 117-5.
Having had tea before the the match commenced, Birch Vale were soon back in to bat, and with just 6 runs on the board, both opening batsmen were dismissed by Pete Coxon, it was the arrival at three of Alex Wood, coupled with the removal from the bowling attack from injured opening bowler Beswick, that saw their revival, with Wood hitting 35 and the next two batsmen hitting 32 between them, with number 5, Will Hall‘s dismissal, it was the turn on Anthony Haywood to turn on the pressure, whilst starting slow, with ten overs remaining, Birch Vale were 56-4 requiring 62 to win, a seemingly daunting task, however, with about six overs left, he managed to turn a 6.8run/over requirement to a 4.3 by smacking a now hobbling Pete Coxon for 20 in a single over, putting 5 balls to the boundary, but he stepped out to thump the ball once too often, and the dismay of conceding 20 in the previous over was washed away with Pete’s 5th wicket of the day, bowling him middle stump, knocking it out of the ground.
The damage had been done, Birch Vale now just required 8 runs to win from just four overs, and with number 9, Saan Moore edging past leg slip to the boundary, the visitors required just 4 more runs with just over 3 overs to go, to secure a now certain victory from the jaws of defeat, it was our own fault, our fielding had been shocking, with me losing count of how many dropped catches we had done, though Adam Stones and Keith Bowers managed 3 catches between them.
Stalybridge St. Paul’s bowlers Martin Hatton and Pete Coxon however had other ideas, with the first two balls of the 23rd over, Martin dismissed youngsters Harvey Lee and Edward Johnson, finishing the over with a two-wicket maiden, with the final Birch Vale incoming batsman at the off-striker’s end, Pete Coxon faced the stronger looking of the two tail-enders, but finally managed to displace his middle wicket on the third delivery clinching his 6th wicket of the day, and confirming Stalybridge’s unbeaten, however closely, run continued for another week at least.
Well done lads, can we try to secure victory a bit more easily though in the future, it may make for a more enjoyable game like this, but my ticker ain’t up to the job!
Final result: Stalybridge win by 3 runs, and the scorecard can be viewed here.