Sheffield Collegiate suffered two defeats against Yorkshire Academy in 7 days, however the manner in which this happened could not have been more different.
Firstly there was the Cup semi final, played at Headingley on a beautiful batting wicket. Things were not looking promising as Academy’s openers, Zimbabwean Gary Ballance and some kid who hangs around Abbeydale motored along to a 100 without loss. After 35 overs Academy were 180-0, Ballance a chanceless ton and this Root bloke on 50. After a rain delay Ballance went absolutely pompeii, Collegiate’s bowlers powerless in the face of such an awesome hitting display. Depite getting Joe out for 80 odd- an opening stand of 290, Ballance kept on hitting 6s and 4s, to finish on a Yorkshire League record breaking score of 236not out, Academy ending up on 358-1.
Collegiates innings did not get off to a great start, Wall-e nicking off and Grizz soon following. Bill and Matt ticked the score over until Bill was bowled by brother Joe, cue massive celebrations. Simmo and Albert swiftly departed, and Collegiate were staring down the barrel of a defeat of epic proportions. However Nads came in and blasted the ball around, Matt ably assisting him at the other end, and Sheffield were inching towards a more respectable score, if still an inevitable heavy defeat. Nads completed his fifty, and some late runs by Josh Jones as well took the score past 200. A crushing defeat, but hats off to such an awsome display of hitting by Ballance.
A week later at Weetwood, it was a different proposition in the league as the Academy groundsman had served up a pitch that looked a little more condusive to bowlers. Academy batted first, and things were not looking good after double centurion from the week before Ballance was dropped on 0 and 4! Oh dear. However he did not look in the same nick as the week before, and we always fancied getting him on a pitch that was doing a bit. He then walked past one from Nads and was stumped for 20, a sigh of relief all round. Joe Root was going well at one end, but wickets kept falling at the other, Nads and Dicko extracting spin from the pitch. Joe completed his 50, but was out next ball and Sheffield sniffed a chance of dismissing Academy out for a low score. In the end Academy were bowled out for 154, Nads and Dicko both claiming superb 5-fors.
Collegiate’s innings got off to a solid start, Billy and Blade seeing off the seam attack to take the score to 45. Again it was the introduction of the spinners that changed the game, Blade caught at mid on trying to go over the top. Still 100 needed with 9 wickets left. However it was the introduction of the off spin of Joe Root that turned the innings, removing both father and brother in quick succesion. Charlie quickly departed in his new middle order role, and Academy were now well on top. Albert and Simmo began to repair the damage, Simmo combining big hitting with watchful batting to take the Collegiate score past 100 and less that 50 needed. with only 40 odd required, Albert was bowled and this precipitated an almighty collapse, 110-4 becoming 120 all out, as Academy’s spinners dominated. Simmo was out for 38, and after that the game looked up. 4 spinners all taking 5 fors, surely a unique occurence? On to the Sheffield derby next week, Collegiate looking to get their season back on track.