The 3rds went off to play the last game of the season at ‘home’ in Graves Park needing 7 points to secure the title. We firstly have to thank Norton Woodseats for letting us use the ground and for having 3 people there to help us get everything set up before the start.
Simmo made it in time to toss with the game being closer to work than Rossington the previous week. He duly lost the toss and we were inserted to bat on a deck which didn’t look fantastic. However any misgivings about the deck were soon put to rest as Straws and Alex Varley opened up and looked in no trouble at all.
Straws went off like a train hitting a flurry at boundaries including everyone’s favourite shot of the day a glorious on-drive off the opening bowler.
Elliot reached his half century off just 43 balls and didn’t stop there continuing to hit the bowling to all parts moving swiftly towards what would be his first adult ton. At the other end Alex was playing the supporting role beautifully knocking the ball into the gaps and taking the singles. The pair put on 151 for the first wicket before Alex fell caught off Rotherham’s best bowler of the day Stuart Guy for 35.
With Straws moving on serenely everyone now had a license to play their shots and let us post a massive total. Straws reached his hundred with another exquisite shot to bring up his first senior ton and got a standing ovation from the small but appreciative Graves Park crowd!
Joe Rooke was batting with Straws and pushed the score up with a quick-fire 26 before being trapped LBW again to Guy.
Straws continued to plunder the bowling to all parts and reached his 150 off just 120 balls before he fell run out for 151 batting with Ben Rooke. This is definitely the best innings I have seen played this season by any player at the club not just our junior players. He by his own admission has not scored as many runs as he would have liked throughout the year but he came out and looked confident from ball one and didn’t give a chance in reaching 150. It was a superb innings and if he continues that kind of form early next year he will score runs a plenty.
The rest of the batting line up came in and had a bit of a swing as we were on 226 when Straws was out. Scores of between ten and twenty were registered most of the way down the order with Zain scoring 26 off 15 and Ben F 17 off 11 at the end. One more mention to Goldberg who tried to late cut a ball on middle and leg from an off spinner turning the ball into him… ??? Needless to say he was comprehensively bowled.
We finished on a mammoth 293 – 9 with Stuart Guy being the pick of the Rotherham bowlers with 5 – 55 off 11 overs.
Tea was an Abbeydale packed lunch and wasn’t a bad effort to say we couldn’t have any warm food. The other tea time highlight was painting the lines in Dulux Gloss Paint which turned out to be very good at reflecting sunlight (unsurprising as its gloss paint I suppose!)
After tea we came out to field knowing we had a fight for the league bowling averages in our side, Zain was in second place with an average of 8.64 and Ben Fielding was just ahead with an average of 8.62.
Zain and Zabe opened up and both bowled a decent spell although being critical I’d say we needed to make the batsmen play at more deliveries. Zabe made the first breakthrough with a great one handed caught and bowled.
Zain finished his 7 over spell only going for 7 runs but not taking a wicket which is very unusual. This brought Ben into the attack and he had immediate success in his first over getting the number 3 caught by Ben Rooke. Zabe picked up another wicket and we knew we were in with a great shout of taking the full 7 points and with it the championship.
Zabe finished a ten over spell with figures of 2 -11 and that signalled the return of Goldy to the bowling attack. Ben and Goldy bowled a tight line and we were soon in the wickets again with Simmo taking a good catch at 1st slip of Ben to remove the Rotherham opener who had hung around well for a good 20 overs.
We reduced the opposition to 80 for nine and knew we had about 12 overs to take the final wicket. Unfortunately one of them happened to be a Yorkshire League player who had come to “make up the numbers”. For 5 overs we toiled away without success before Guy ran at Goldy but could only manage to hit the ball to Straws at midwicket who completed a fantastic day for both him and the team by holding onto the catch and promptly being mobbed by his teammate and Crofty who ran on from the far side of the ground. It was another good win with Goldy finishing with 3 – 30 off 9 and Ben finishing with 5 – 33 of 12.
It has been a fantastic season for the team well led by Andy Simpson who has had a difficult job a lot of times knowing that he was the oldest by 8 years on several occasions! The young team have done themselves proud though with great performances from our youngsters in many games for example Zain has taken two 6 fers, Kuram has hit a 70odd* and Goldy taken 7 in a game among others.
These performance combined with the more experienced (though not much older) players have made for a great side. Simmo finished top of the league averages finishing with 461 runs at 51.22 and Crofty 265 at 34 in just 11 innings. Ben finished top of the league bowling averages taking 52 wickets at 8.42 in 154 overs. Other notable bowling performances are Ollie Hepplewhite with 36 wickets and Zain with 25 at 8.92.
One final mention must go to Nina who has scored every game of the season for us and always provides transport to and from games too! She definitely has the neatest scorebook in the league! Thanks Nina!
Moving forward to next season if we can keep a similar team there is no reason why we shouldn’t be looking at promotion again and getting back up to a good standard of cricket one division below the second team. A great season lads! Well done.