The second team had the daunting trip to Shiregreen on Saturday, with pressure increasing to grow with a big game against our relegation rivals. It was the proverbial 14 pointer – and thankfully we came out on top!
Riaz lost the toss, and we were inserted. I kid you not, we had no idea which wicket we were playing on, as the pitch had not been cut at all (phone call to league before hand by umpires). That said, too much talk beforehand by our batsmen about this, who managed to talk themselves out before even batting. Anyway, Butts went off and got the chip butties in.
Israh and Lister (who may not be alive now) opened the innings, and what a surprise – we were soon in disarray. Lister first out, bowled (again!) quickly followed by Danny Walton – bowled, trying to hit a straight one through midwicket (q all the net bowlers smiling to themselves). Captain Fantastic did not fair much better, and he was bounced out on one of the slowest pitches I have ever seen. Simmo, fresh from his holiday, ensured that his poor form continued with feet stationery as he was next to be bowled. The 3rd duck of our innings, and at 24-4 we were in a spot of bother.
Israh was joined at the crease by JJ (anyone see Cannonball Run?), and those 2 repaired the damage for 9 runs, before Israh was next to be bowled – to a ball that kept low in all honesty. Senior Pro Butts came in, played a few nice shots, before he holed out to mid on – 48-6, and wit the possible exception of Israh – all 5 had got themselves out. Josh and Benji however, got stuck in, and although runs were fairly hard to come by – they batted sensibly and took runs where available. They put on 24, before Josh was next out for a well earned 19. Colton became the 4th duck of the innings, and at 78-8 we were heading for another early finish.
Enter birthday boy Bully, fresh from a 30 minute nap. He had Benji batted extremely well, scoring freely and running hard which put plenty of pressure on Shiregreen – ultimately making them buckle. A partnership of 43 proved crucial – with Bully eventually missing a straight one. The 2 Ben’s (Watson and Fielding) put on a few more, before the later was out in last over. Benji not out at the end for a priceless 26.
Tea was good – Lister got worse though.
We made a dream start, with Bully picking up early wickets – 19-2, and it was game on. Butts bowled well without luck, and although we bowled tightly and fielded well – runs were too easy to come by, and at 58-2, it was game over. Enter Riaz – he chirped out their number 4 with a torrent of abuse, which ended in an unsavoury moment, as after being harshly adjudged lbw to Benji – he quite literally squared up to our SA! Bizarre. Anyway, game on!
Straight after drinks, Riaz picked up the crucial wicket of Rasool who had batted really well and at 60-4 we were well in the game. Another wicket for Benji, thanks to a superb catch at mid off by JJ, made the score 70-5 and it was quickly becoming a battle of who was going to have the bottle to win the game.
One over changed all that – as Riaz picked up 3 wickets! 82-8!!! 3 wicket maiden – good catch by Colton, great caught and bowled, and the final one taking middle stump! We could smell victory, as well as Lister’s trousers.
Butts returned, and picked up his first wicket – caught and bowled, and at 83-9, we surely had won the game!!! Think again, Fida came in and hit a few lusty blows, and before we could draw breath they were 105-9 and panic was setting in.
HOWEVER, panic over, as Butts got one that he nibbled and the calmest man in the world, James Colton, took the catch ONE HANDED and we had won a game of cricket!!!!!!!! 7 points – barmy army went mad (we only had 2 fans and a dog). Great feeling, and good team effort in the end. Best we have bowled and fielded for a long time.
Man of Match : Mark Hickman