2nds back to winning ways, but it wasn’t a walk in the park.
The second half to the season began, unsurprising like the first, with Offerton the opposition, after losing the toss to stand-in captain Dave Scholes, Brian Stone‘s team were told to field, and I’ve never seen him happier to lose the toss in my life.
The Offerton openers, Karl Martin and Steve Pickles were pegged in quite effectively by Stalybridge’s James Beswick and Maurice Barber, but neither bowler could make their hard work pay with a wicket until the last ball of the 9th over when a peach of a ball from Barber almost took the middle stump out of the ground, dismissing Martin for 7, and Offerton on 15, his partner managed to last another 15 minutes before being caught at silly point by Tony Mooney off a Beswick delivery.
The arrival of Faz Hussain replacing Maurice saw another quick wicket with No. 3 Imran Sohail caught on the boundary off an awful delivery (sorry Faz) by Beswick; it’s true what they say, ‘sh*t balls get you wickets‘, but he went on to complete 9 overs for just 31 runs, so it’s not all bad, when Pete Coxon took Bez’s place in the attack, you could see that the opening game where he took 7 wickets was playing on the captain’s mind, who was dismissed for a duck just two balls after Pete’s first scalp of Simon Kirkham, Pete took two more wickets over the space of 8 overs with Halimi on 15 caught behind, and then Suban Ahmad out LBW on 5, with 10 overs left, Offerton were now 61 for 7, and a repeat of the first game where we bowled them (albeit a 10 man side) out for 79, looked on the cards. Andy Thomas however had other ideas, and proceeded to put another 31 runs on the board for the home side, despite running out No 9, Tony Davies (3) in a what seemed a fool-hardy attempt to get back on strike for the next over, he did manage to steady the ship, and helped Offerton into 3 figures, before JJ Smith deemed him deliberately putting pad in the path of ball, and sent him back to the dressing room LBW, his replacement Liam Smith could only last 4 more balls in that over before Maurice swung another lovely ball in, to see the home side all out for 113.
After the break, a visibly injured Mike Whitworth and Alex Wilde took to the field, but with Offerton manoeuvring to switch the ends of the bowling attack of Andy Thomas and Suban Ahmad, saw Steve Pickles come in for a single over and his looping, slow ball must seem like it’s Christmas for batters, but it was one such delivery that saw Alex ping one to the boundary, only to be picked out of the air by the expectant Karl Martin, the next two Stalybridge batters, Khalid Akram and James Beswick had similar innings, with Khalid getting bowled by Ahmad for 13 off 25 deliveries, and James’ C&B by Imran Sohail for 14 off 26, Stalybridge were now on just 56 runs, and were 5 wickets down, and only 15 overs into a maximum of 50.
Andy Thomas, much like in the batting innings, put in a decent bowling performance, netting just the 1 wicket of Anthony Hunter, for his 12 overs, he only conceded 20 runs but Pete Coxon punished his final delivery lumping the ball for a six towards the pavillion,
The return of Steve Pickles however, coming back in the 25th over saw Pete Coxon’s eyes light up for the high-lofted delivery, but only saw it lift up and over his head to the welcoming hands of the keeper, seeing him dismissed for 21, and Stalybridge now 87-7, with Keith Bowers caught the next ball by Liam Smith saw Stalybridge staring imminent defeat in the mouth.
Thankfully Faz Hussain who had come in at 7 following Ant Hunters dismissal and Maurice Barber coming in at No. 9 had the wisdom to realise Stalybridge still had as many overs left as had already gone to get just 27 more runs, and proceeded to take each subsequent delivery on its merit, not taking the bait of the fielders urging them to finish it off quick, and slowly added runs and a the odd boundary where it deemed safe to do so, though that didn’t stop Faz putting a dent in Steve Pickles (3-13) figures, to end the match in style, hitting a big six to finish 114-8 in a very close and excellent game of cricket, on a glorious summers day.
Returning to Stalybridge saw us able to watch the 1sts suitably demolish Offerton’s 1sts with a 5-fer for Rob Mallet, beating them by 125 runs after putting 246 on for the visitors to chase in the opening innings. (They also need to get someone to give me a proper match report so it’s not just an afterthought to the 2nds team report.)
Next week sees a break for Stalybridge with a bye, but the following week sees us back on the road to Chapel-en-le-Frith, who gave us another close game at the start of the season.
Final result: Stalybridge win by 2 wickets, and the scorecard, if you can be arsed to sign into CricHQ, now that they’ve made it compulsory to do so, thereby removing the option to embed it into this website (bloody ar*eholes!), can be viewed here.
Well, you could if their servers hadn’t crapped out yet again.