Bruce Willis claimed a career best 6-44 including a brilliant hat-trick and Bully made a classy 69 however neither was enough to claim victory over local rivals Hundall at Abbeydale.
After the deluge and lack of preparation of the top pitch put paid to last week’s cricket, the VPXI arrived at Abbeydale full of determination to continue the winning start to the season against Hundall. Lack of availability across the club saw debuts for Speck, Rowland and Willis in place of our stalwarts Masterson and Well-hard. Nick Varley also returned to the side after his year long sabbatical.
Bully lost the toss and we fielded on what looked like a decent track. We all donned our rucksacks, hiking boots and climbing gear and set off to wade through the long swishy grass that was our outfield wondering whether the Rotherham Titans money could be used to replace the clearly broken lawnmower.
Bruce and Specky opened up with the former causing huge problems for both the batsmen and Bully who, similarly to Nigel Clough with Jose Baxter, had to consistently check his opening bowler for traces of Twitter. In all seriousness Bruce bowled with pace, aggression and with a real determination to get wickets. He knocked over the first two Hundall batsmen and after a short stand from numbers 3 and 4 he went on to take a fantastic hat-trick to put us in a wonderful position with Hundall at 47-5. Bruce had claimed all 5! Unfortunately this was the highlight of a very poor couple of hours as the lethargy and poor fielding let Hundall recover. Their number 4 made a good hundred as we dropped 7 catches and lacked penetration with the ball enabling Hundall to reach 191-9. There were very few highlights (other than the incredibly impressive Bruce) in the performance although Bully’s (AKA Mr Tumble) first ball wide that missed the strip and is buried somewhere beneath the forest might be one. Waif ‘forgetting’ we were giving the centurion the single on the last ball of the over however meant that he won the honours in the ‘Something Special’ award!
A KFC tea was made more pleasurable after hearing about Billy’s heroics on the bottom pitch. Bruce, keen to give his followers an all-too delayed update was allowed his Twitter ‘fix’ from Uncle Bull and you could hear the news reverberate around the globe as the news went viral.
Bob and Ashy started our reply and confidence was high. However in contrast to our fielding, with the score on 18, Bob was caught at first slip to a blinding catch from the centurion. Stewie and Ashy ticked things, Stewie breaking his second bat of the season before playing a poor shot to be caught at cover. In came Bully who played a wonderful innings full of powerful drives and delicate placement. Ashy, who had also broken his willow stick, borrowed Bob’s bat and tried hard to reach the edge of the square. He made a solid 34 before jabbing a full bunger to mid-on. T, Rowland and Specky all promised much after early boundaries but, like those before them, failed to occupy the crease and the game was soon beyond us. Bully, playing a captain’s knock, ended with a very enjoyable 69 but we were all out for 157.
Lot’s to improve for next week’s cup match away at Baslow.