Birch Vale & Thornsett CC 2nd XI vs Stalybridge St. Paul’s CC 2nd XI

Anthony Haywood cent
ury and 5fer for Steve Burns seal victory for Birch Vale.

For the second week in a row, Stalybridge have won the toss, this time at the hands of Brian Stone, and put the opposition into bat, given our current form, and our propensity for our heads to drop when the opponents put a big score on the board, I’m much more inclined to think we’d be better suited to opening the batting, and seeing what we can put on, without worrying what they’ve set us.

However we started the bowling well, with 6 of the first 15 or so overs a maiden, with Ned Woodman having his first spell of 8 overs conceding just 15 runs, however, it was soon that balls were being delivered short and down the legs side, and the Birch Vale batsmen lapped them up, and were rapidly ramping up the over rate, peppering the boundary, firstly with Steve Burns (41), then more-so Anthony Hayward, normally a number six batter, but today slotted in at number 4, he knocked up his half-century in short-order, while his partners succumbed to 3 wickets for Mark Connolly and 2 for Maurice Barber, and he continued to coast comfortably to apparently his debut century, before being caught on 117 off “one of my worst balls of the day” from bowler Ned Woodman by Ajeet Kaintura, by which point Birch Vale were now 268-6; the innings was interrupted midway through, when a thunderstorm brought a downpour for half an hour, during which time the call was made to take an early tea and play resumed around 45 minutes after initially coming off.

Birch Vale vs Stalybridge St. Paul’s, before the heavens opened.

Haywood’s however was the last wicket to be taken by Stalybridge, with my fellow scorer Jamie’s dad David Platt finishing off the overs 32 not out, and Birch Vale on 288-6.

Having taken lunch tea early, it was a quick turn around to have Stalybridge into the crease, just 4 balls had been played when the umpire called for the ball to be changed, whether it wasn’t a new ball or it was damaged, I have no idea, but seemed strange.

Whereas Birch Vale were content to send the ball down the hill to the boundary, it seemed Stalybridge wanted to send everything in the opposite direction, into the banking and up the hill, it was one of these up hill slogs that saw the first wicket of Stu Nock (who I still owe a beer to, sorry bud), caught for 18, and Stalybridge on 25, with Maurice Barber, caught also just 2 runs later, it seemed like it was going to be a painfully short afternoon, but no sooner as Maurice was out, it seemed like the impetus opener Alex Wilde needed,  and he started to add runs to his tally along side Khalid Akram, by the time he was bowled, Stalybridge were now on a more respectable 75, and Khalid then started a partnership with Steve Monks, but unfortunately was given run-out in what can only be described as a “umpiring error”, for fear of censure, members of both sides insist he was safely home, but the umpire deemed him two foot outside safety and Stalybridge were now 95-4.

Keith Bowers has recently been picking up some decent batting performances, but he’ll not thank me for mentioning when he asked what the * next to his name in the WhatsApp chat was, it was because of his

Sorry Keith. 🙂

With Monksie falling fowl, sorry foul to the catcher on the hill, Neil Spedding, just five runs short of his half-century, the last of Stalybridge’s recognised batsman were all out,  and they were still 121 runs behind Birch Vale’s total, that however didn’t stop opening bowler Ned Woodman from making a decent batting cameo before being caught on 39, not long after initially being given out “caught behind”, despite the ball hitting him near his elbow before bouncing off to the keeper; thankfully despite a little petulant outburst of chucking his bat away, the Birch Vale players came to his defence and the umpire overturned his decision.

With just one wicket remaining Brian Stone was the last man left standing when Ahmed Hayat was cleaned bowled on the last ball off the innings, giving Steve Burns his 2nd of that over, and his 5th overall in the game.

A decent knock from a number of Stalybridge’s team, but not enough to overturn the big target set by Birch Vale, but plenty to proud of, even if it’s not the catching in the field (which was woeful again).

No pessimistic drivel from me after next week’s match you’ll be happy to read, when the 2nds are back on the road, this time up in Dinting, as I’ll hopefully be enjoying myself in sunny Alicante, you just can’t get the committed staff these days, and the following week, is a free week for the seconds, with High Lane not fielding a 2nd XI this season.

Final result and scorecard: Birch Vale and Thornsett CC 2nd XI win by 100 runs.

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