A Sunday with 3 games saw a ‘Mansfield XI’ left with only 10 players, and not even the draw of Wellbeck’s amazing facilities could tempt an 11th player. A mixture of 2nd team and juniors took the trip across the motorway, to play on the 2nd team wicket at Wellbeck due to Nott’s women’s team having a game on the main square (the 2nd team pitch is also approved for county cricket!). Toss lost – asked to take the field and bowl suited the 10 players as 8 were bowlers!
Rob Shaw & Tom Flash Newman opened the bowling (both Sunday only this week players!) on a green but fairly flat wicket, both hitting good areas from the 1st ball….all apart from Shawsy 6th ball, his hand hitting the stumps on the way through – this caused the ball the bounce at least 4 times, roll wide of the whites lines by several feet, to which the umpire shouts “you can have that 1! Over!”, interesting decision. A good spell from each but with no wickets to show after the 1st 11 over’s score on about 40. A double change saw Ravi making his senior debut replace Newman and Josh Russell on for Shawsy. Ravi with superb flight made a brilliant start to his senior bowling career, only singles possible and keeping up the pressure. Josh got the ball to swing, sometimes too much, running in hard and giving the ball a chance; drinks at 20 over’s with the score 80ish for no loss of wicket. After drinks Ravi continued his spell and was joined by Matt Mutters Lee to have spin from both ends. Mutters got the initial breakthrough, drawing the captain into a false shot trying to increase the run rate, caught by Shawsy at midwicket; 93 for 1. Not to be outdone, Ravi got his 1st senior wicket soon after, removing the other opener, also caught midwicket this time by Josh Russell for a well made 50; 97 for 2! A couple of misjudgements and dropped catches (again!) meant Ravi didn’t double his wicket tally, Ravi bowling a full 10 over spell, finishing 1 for 44. The new batter in at 4 for Wellbeck found a few boundaries quickly, helped by the poor catching and the run rate start to increase again; bowling changes then followed, with James Scholfield, Alex Aggie Varley and Jack Mr Cricket Lister all getting a few over’s under their belts, Mr cricket picking up the 3rd wicket. 8 bowlers used out of 10 players, score at tea 198 for 3.
Take away tea was ok, sandwich, pork pie and 2 excellent cakes taken over to watch Nott’s women chase down a low total…polite applause as they walked off saw the 2 batters wearing England helmets!
Aggie and Mr Cricket opened the batting getting off to a steady start on a wicket looking flatter by the minute, Mr Cricket being the main aggressor finding several boundaries through the covers. The opening standing was broken when Mr Cricket was bowled for a well made 23, score 38 for 1. Mutters walked out into the middle under pressure after self admitting “I need to score at least 3 runs today to make sure I’ve scored more runs than I’ve dropped catches this weekend!”. An early boundary got him past this nightmare situation, but fell shortly after, leaving the way for Edd Crafty Croft to make a meaningful contribution after a long “rest” from cricket. Crafty must have been netting all winter somewhere else as him timing was perfect, playing several text book on drives through and over the field, with a maximum over midwicket too! A lack of time in the middle saw Crafty dismissed for 26 off only 19 balls, replaced by skipper Simmo, Aggies still not out and going well. A strange tactic from Wellbeck saw almost everyone go out to the boundary for Simmo but everyone in for Aggie?! A few bowling changes lead to boundaries coming easier for both Simmo and Aggie with the Wellbeck captain feeling worried with the scoreboard ticking over quicker and quicker. With almost every fielder on the boundary Simmo found another 6, before dragging the ball onto the stumps for 34 off 32, score now 152 for 4 with only 7 over’s to go. With no ‘specialist’ batsman left, it fell to the all rounder’s to keep the push on, Schoff joining the unbeaten Aggie in the middle. Aggie reached a well made and well deserved half century, ending the match unbeaten on 62. With the full total of 197 looking too far away, an extra point was available for 180; with 1 ball to go, 2 runs needed to earn the point, Schoff turned for the 2nd, but even with a dive came just short, run out for 12, final score 179 for 5. Shawsy batting at 7 (nose bleed time) ending up with pad rash!
An enjoyable game of cricket played in an excellent spirit, with some of the younger juniors mixing, playing and sharing banter with some of the senior guys from the 2nd XI. A losing draw, but a good day had by all. Hopefully a sign of things to come for the Mansfield, with other juniors getting to mingle with some of the more experienced players…?!