Bad day at the office see 2nds fall to heavy defeat.
After all the heavy rain over the last couple of weeks, it was good to be finally back at a cricket ground without the threat of a downpour looming, the sun was out, and it was a lovely clear day looking over Kinder Scout; that’ll do, you can stop reading now, it’s done.
Coming off the strip smiling, it was immediately apparent that the toss had been won by Stalybridge’s captain Brian Stone, who decided he’d like to have the team bowl at the hosts, which with the openers Will Freeman and Oliver Wyatt dismissed for just 4 and 1 respectively seemed a good decision. Alex Wood coming in at three had other ideas, putting 37 on the board in the hour he was at the crease, before being bowled by an on-the-day grumpy James Beswick, his 2nd of three wickets he’d take.
Andy Haywood coming in at 5 managed 16, and Andrew Given at 7 put another 28 runs on the board for the home side, but was bowled cleanly by Faz Hussain, for his third of four dismissals for just 19 runs, the remaining wicket of youngster Harvey Lee fell to Faz again for just 1 run, leaving Mohamed Wasseem on 4* just 8 minutes after arriving at the ground, and leaving the home side 1 point shy of their second batting point, all out for 124.
After the “interval break in proceedings”, Stalybridge came out all suitably buoyed by the score, knowing that 124 was presumably a below-par score for a ground with a number of short boundaries, despite having a make-shift team due to a number of holidays, with the cheap dismissals of the openers Alex Wilde and Anthony Hunter, it fell to James Beswick to try and put Stalybridge back on course, and in spite of his 23 runs, he was back in the changing room after half an hour, and it was at that point Stalybridge’s batting collapsed in earnest, with Chairman Nigel Corless called in to help dismissed by an LBW decision that had the loudest edge that only the umpire seemed to not hear, for a duck with Stalybridge now 27/3, it took just over an hour for the rest of the team to be caught, bowled or run out for just another 40 runs on the board, with the final wicket being an equally dubious thick edged LBW of Jordan Elliott who was apologised to by the Birch Vale bowler, who realised he’d hit it, but had to appeal, because they knew the umpire wanted to get away early, as was suitably rewarded for it.
Both teams were playing with a depleted squad today, but it was the home team who capitalised on the handicap, and if Stalybridge are going to keep their title hopes alive, it will require a much improved batting performance going forward, it can’t all fall to a quality bowling attack.
Final result: Birch Vale win by 57 runs.