Birch Vale regular frustrates Stalybridge once again.
For the last game of the 2018 Season, Stalybridge St. Paul’s 2nds were at home, hosting Birch Vale & Thornsett for the second time this season, and much like the game on the 9th of June, Stalybridge lose the toss, and are put into the field by the opposition.
Opener Anthony Hayward was ticking along nicely before being caught by Steve Monks from Mark Connelly for 29 off 29 deliveries, his replacement Rob Barrett (1) lasted just 9 balls before looping Ned Woodman’s ball gently back into his welcoming hands.
And this is where it started going downhill for the home side. Steve Burns in similar form to his previous visit to Gorse Hall Road acted as the anchor to the Birch Vale attack, and although he started slower than back in June, he was still able to notch up the 30 required (according to his missus, everyone else thought it was 11, but she was adamant) to pass the magnificent milestone of 1000 runs in a season in all formats of the game, fairly comfortably. Congratulations Steve.
With his half-century out of the way, and suitably settled at the crease, he started punishing the weary Stalybridge bowlers, doubling Ahmed Hyatt’s figures up to that point in one over, with a single and three sixes, the next over was unfortunately equally as bad for Mark Connolly, with three fours, a six and a single to retain the strike.
The last ball of Birch Vale’s 45 overs was another six for Mr Burns, his 5th of the day, narrowly(ish) missing being caught on the boundary after looping his shot over bowler Jordan Elliott’s head, to finish personally on 125 not out, and Stalybridge set a target of 217 to win.
During the interval, Chairman Nigel Corless gave a speech that praised and thanked Joan Broadbent, who after over 10 years of service to the club, in preparing teas, as an integral member of the committee, and responsible for looking after one of the club’s major income streams, the function room in addition to her late husband Barry, has decided to step down and enjoy her retirement. Nigel then proceeded to present Joan with two engraved glass goblets in recognition of her service. (p.s. best home teas of the season, thanks from me too Joan).
After the break, Stalybridge started the batting well, with the home side staying ahead of the curve for the first 15 overs or so, with Stuart Nock (24) and Alex Wilde (34) initially then with Stuart seemingly changing his batting stance having his bails removed by Josh Barrett, Khalid Akram (47) at the crease, but both started slowing down, with the change of bowling to George Johnson and Anthony Hayward. With the required run rate now just above six and half an over, it was of no joy to finally see the albeit expected introduction of that man again… Steve Burns (3-32), who like on previous occasions then proceeded to frustrate the batsmen with his deliveries, and despite Tony Mooney (23*) carrying the middle order, there wasn’t enough strike left in the squad to win the day, though it didn’t help that Peter Coxon had to retire after suffering a recurrence of his calf injury whilst bowling in the opening innings.
Stalybridge still managed to finish their 45 overs on 175, a decent score on any other day, but like I said in my report following their first visit this season, “Stalybridge put in a good batting performance, unfortunately Birch Vale put in a great one.”
Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Presentations and Race Night held later in the function room, and special thanks to shirt sponsors Candolim for generously providing the food for the evening.
Also, thanks to Ajeet Kaintura for your time at the club this season while on work placement in the UK, hopefully you’ve had as much enjoyment as you’ve given to others during your stay, and have many fond memories of your time with us on your return to India after Christmas.
Final result and score-card of the 2018 campaign: Birch Vale and Thornsett CC 2nd XI win by 41 runs.
See you back in 2019 for more fun and frivolity, but before then league will be hosting their annual Presentation Evening, at the Alma Lodge in Stockport on Friday 9th November, at £30 a head where you can see newly promoted and Division 3 Champions, Stalybridge St. Paul’s 1st XI receive their awards, with a guest speaker and comedian Mike Farrell.