Possibly the youngest Academy Eleven travelled to Clifton Lane to take on table toppers Rotherham Town on a refreshingly bright afternoon. Welcome back summer.
A combination of holidays, dinner parties and suspected swine flu(text message received at 10.30p.m on Friday Night) deprived us of three of the senior players from the Wath game. Add to that T being promoted to the firsts to replace the injured Josh(get well soon mate) and the age profile dipped considerably.
Simmo 14 years my junior the closest in age to me, Tom Lister 21 in the week next. One under 19, one under 17 and six under 15s.The added bonus for Simmo of a pair of Rookes. Much mileage in that one I am sure.
I am pleased to report that the team performance taking in to account the opposition and our age profile was our best of the season.
Clifton Lane looked a picture with Big Al Kettleborough applying the finishing touches right up to the start. The wicket whilst apparently on its fourth match played immaculately. A proper cricket wicket which made the bowlers work hard for returns. As did Straws and Tom Lister.
Toss won. New opening partnership. My word was it a pleasure to watch on as the top team in the league toiled without success for the first 30 or so overs. Tom driving the ball with style, Straws (not perturbed by the fact he took 12 overs to get off the mark) placing the ball in the gaps and running the ones.
Big Al extremely impressed by both. Lister a Yorkshire League player and too good for the Rotherham attack and Straws playing one of the best knocks by a schoolboy Al had seen for some time. Praise indeed.
126 for the first wicket. Both players have the ability to play YL cricket on that showing. Others were to show similar potential. Rotherham players falling out with each other.Happy Days.
We perhaps lost our way a little in making 170 odd but good contributions from Ben, Simmo, Picko and Ben Rooke on debut topped off an enjoyable first half.
Taking in to account some words of wisdom from Big Al during an enjoyable chat first half we decided to open the bowling with Ben and to try and limit the onside scoring shots of Johnny Allen (no not the East End gangster).
I had not envisaged anything less than 15 straight from Ben with Tom’s off spin to finish from the scoreboard end. I had not envisaged more than six or seven from me let alone 15 on the trot. Ben’s accuracy ensured I got less of a break between overs than usual. No choice but to revert to 15 yard run up of yesteryear. Not to gain more speed you understand, simply to gain more time to recover breath between deliveries.
The look of surprise on the openers faces to be met with left arm spin told a story. Ben bowled a sensational, thoughtful and accurate spell finishing with 1 for 40 odd off 15. But for two spillages it would have been a thoroughly deserved 3 for. I was impressed with the intelligent way Ben engaged both the batsmen and the umpire.
No trip to Rotherham could be complete without some idiotic abuse from the balcony. I bet the opener was really pleased to hear “Come on Rotherham” as I delivered a trimmer to remove the off bail. Well done to the fool on the hill.
Liver replaced Yours Truly and trapped the prolific Allen who hit the ball straight to the Optician the ball after he was relocated at mid wicket. Hamps I do listen you know. Harry followed this up with a stunning one handed (left at that) caught and bowled. I was running back to the boundary from mid off to retrieve the ball only for its path to be rudely interrupted.
Good tight spell from Picko and a promising return to the attack for Tom Lister. But for some good clean hitting by the number 6 we would have won the game.
An excellent fielding performance despite a few dropped catches shows that our concentration levels and anticipation are improving. Much work still to do but the effort is faultless.
Joe Rooke and Goldberg (Oliver Hepplewhite- just to prove that I do know your proper name Ollie) didn’t bat or bowl but showed great commitment and character. Well done to all involved. Days like this make the whole thing a pleasure.
Even worth the agony of 15 overs on the trot! Apparently some guy called Onions bowled a 14 over spell at taunton earlier in the summer much to the amazement of the Sky Commentary team!!!! He’s 20 odd, an international and paid a fortune. It makes you laugh.
A number of future YL players featured in this match. Not more than one from the opposition second eleven.