Opening game of the midweek season started with an away fixture at TOA with a short drive to Coal Aston bottom pitch. An indifferent day of weather saw a damp outfield but hard wicket. Due to poor light and poor weather forecast the standard 12 over’s (8 balls per over) was agreed.
Mike Simpson opened up playing what is possibly his only midweek outing this year, with the midweek newcomer Danny the magnet Walton at the other end. A relatively steady start by midweek standards saw Walton being the main aggressor with a couple of boundaries and several 2’s…not to the enjoyment Mike. Some average at best fielding saw the score creeping up, before Danny the magnet misjudged a slower ball and bowled for 12 in his opening innings, score on 22 for 1. Next in Jonny Dobby Udall, looking keen and previously scored midweek runs, but he was also out foxed in the same over, leaving the score 23-2. Andy Mo Simpson joined brother Mike in the middle, managing to survive the rest of the over. Another set of 2’s saw Mike even more tired/cross that the boundaries weren’t flowing and decided to change his approach calming whacking it over long on for the 1st maximum of the evening. This kicked started the accumulation of runs, with bowling changing coming thick and fast, 4’s and 6’s were happening every over. Andy Mo took charge against the spin (mainly to give Mike a rest!), run rate was increasing quickly, for Mike to make another midweek 50, and this was soon followed by Mo reaching 50 too. The partnership was eventually broken when Mike missed timed a pull shot to square leg, scorebook saying “caught” but more likely out “tired” for a score of 72. A partnership of 129 (highest ever between Mike & Mo), left Josh Varley just a few balls in the last over. Not requiring a guard, “lapping” his 1st ball through midwicket for 4, followed by a 6 over the same area and then a single, leaving Mo the last 2 balls, both founding the boundary, leaving Mo 73 not out (with more 6’s than Mike), and an impressive score of 181 for 3 in 12 over’s.
Quick turnaround due to dark clouds approaching rapidly, lead to a frantic start to the chase. Rob Shaw opened up, good 1st cherry, helped on by Dobby to 3rd man, batters run an easy single but the none striker obviously not fancying Rob Shaw, went for a 2nd but was sent back…good throw by Ollie Pearson saw a run out on the 1st ball, the none striker out without facing a ball! The new man to the middle on strike was walking back off the very next ball, nicked and caught behind, score 1-2 off 2 balls! TOA then consolidated their batting “midweek style” by striking a few more 6’s over the leg side boundary. The stand for the 3rd wicket helped TOA back out from the awful start, until James Scholfield found the breakthrough after bowling an excellent tight spell, caught Danny the magnet, score now 43 for 3, Schoff bowled out 3 over’s, 1 for 14. Change of pace at both ends saw Alex Aggie Varley slow the run rate and speed the ball was travelling down considerably, and Ollie Tank Pearson showing how a proper spinner should bowl midweek, both bowling 2 over spells, 1 for 13. Last year’s “Midweek Premier League bowler of the year” yet to bowl, with TOA looking along way short was prime time for Josh Varley to show why he’s the best around. A variety only rivalled Murilli of slower balls, cutters and who knows what else lead to a precession of wickets, Josh also bowling 2 over’s taking 3 for 11. With 1 over to go, score on 91 for 9, Alex Bruce Willis charged in for the final over and didn’t disappoint! Only 3 runs coming off the last over, unfortunately no final wicket, leaving the score 94 for 9, a comfortable and convincing win to open the midweek season.
A good win was followed by an excellent curry as usual with plenty of midweek banter. Next week home to Darnall who should prove a trickier game (this game was rained off!).