1st XI Match Report 23/07

1st XI Match Report 23/07

First team report - Home to Steeton 23 July 2020

Following the excellent start made away at Pool, the first team were looking to double their win total in a match-up where we anticipated perhaps sterner opposition than that of the first week. No changes were made to the team, nice that all players were available for the first two weeks!

The weather was fine if a bit underwhelming, more sun required to bake the wicket and upon inspection of the turf there was enough green around for the skipper to decide that bowling first would be the option subject to winning the toss. It was again, however, a waste of the skippers time to consider his options as he proceeded to lose the toss again and Bolton the skipper of Steeton promptly inserted us. The warmup was more of an gentle river walk rather than an intense white water rapid trip but it still trumped that of the opposition who appeared happy just to knock up a bit.

So, Hester and Groom opening once more. Gill and Pearson would open the bowling for the opposition and generally bowled a tight line but without troubling either opener, an opening partnership of 34 was reached, Dave looking the more fluent of the pair, noticeably a rather sumptuous flick off the legs over the trees by the beck sent Gill trudging back to his mark. But when Dave attempted another flick off his pads from a full delivery from Pearson, he could only manage to find the hands of the mid-wicket fielder, 34–1.  Imran strode to the crease to join Groomy, but by now Steeton had made their first change and brought Nutter into the attack, fresh from an eight wicket haul last week. There was immediate pressure on the batsmen as his short run up disguised his good pace generated from shoulder strength, and coupled with lateral movement, he caused problems pretty quickly. Eventually the pressure was too great and a good delivery to the skipper dislodged a stump, cartwheeling back a few yards and suddenly we were 40–2.

Fawad to the crease, he threw the kitchen sink at his first ball rather fortuitously earning him a boundary. Both he and Imran played with positivity, perhaps too much earlier on and may have cost them their wicket another day but they say “fortune favours the brave” and it was to be as such. This approach certainly disturbed Nutter as his early pressure dissipated and a quality partnership of 90 was made. This included some lofty blows over the clubhouse by Fawad. It seemed a big score was on the cards and the pair of batsmen would be seeking to cash in on the wicket that was playing better than it looked. It was probably the bounciest wicket at home since the square was relaid after the devastating floods, (the work on the ground is eternally appreciated and it was a picture). It was not to be however as Fawad inexplicably missed a long hop from the spinner Hardwick and he had to depart. Imran however, carried on and reached his 50. He would argue it was three runs earlier when the milestone was achieved but not according to the scorers. Nevertheless, he had his first 50 for the club and he looked increasingly fluent as his innings progressed. His undoing was a full ball that cleaned him up just after he had made the decision to swap helmet for cap. 159-4.

Gaz joined Saki At the crease and both played with the positivity that rewarded them both with innings in the 30s and +100 strike rates. Saki first to depart LBW to the returning Pearson, which brought Zulfi to the crease, short lived as it was. He was out hooking straight up into the air and then Gaz suffered a similar dismissal to that of the skipper but to the impressive Pearson this time who had bowled straight all day.

From that point on, we lost constant wickets and ultimately were dismissed for 230, five batting points obtained, but 40 runs short of where we should have been. Much like the first week though, at the start of the game we would’ve taken that for the first half.

Second half, same opening pair for TPE. Mahir perhaps this week not looking as fluent, particularly given his reluctance to run up in full flow due to a drainage channel that runs a couple of yards from the popping crease, it has put him off for a number of years!

Dan Taylor was 1st to enter the wicket column as Rowlett chased a full ball only to edge Gaz at first slip, a simple chance. Dan could have had more but Drew C couldn’t take a chance at mid-off therefore he would take a solitary wicket,6 overs 1–15, much improved from last week, but his father tells me much more to come, I look forward to it.

By now Mahir was in on the action at the other end including two wickets in two balls which had reduced Steeton to 9–3. Steeton perhaps feeling aggrieved that one decision didn’t go their way but, you can always choose to use your bat and not your pad thinks the writer. When Pearson, fresh from a ton the week before shouldered arms to a top of off delivery, Steeton were 32-4.

Fawad toiled for a few overs, nowhere near his best and ended fruitless so it was down to Zulfi and Saki to turn the knife on the middle order of the opposition. The latter much alike Malli managing two wickets in two balls Including removing the dangerous veteran Akrigg. With that wicket we were well on top, and once Zulfi had revised his line to become more dangerous, Steeton had dropped to 115-9. A few blows later, Steeton had got themselves their first batting bonus point and Saki was given a breather to be replaced by Hester, and once into his second over of liquorice allsorts, he managed a delivery that would’ve removed many a player, let alone Gill at number 11, a sharp chance taken by the impressive Adi. Steeton all out 130.

Notwithstanding the reflection that included an agreement that we should’ve scored more and probably bowled the opposition out for a lower total, it was an immensely satisfying performance and result. Once again the wickets and runs were shared around, the opening partnership taking the shine from the ball, the middle order showing its indisputable depth, the bowling accurate and the fielding primarily of a high standard including some sharp catches. The skipper looked pleased, I hope it was the case.

The third match will see us travel to Kirkstall which is usually a road, and always a small ground. Keep up the good work.

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