Flipping heck, that was close!
Thankfully, the threat of rain, that had been promised throughout today, failed to materialise, and on winning the toss, Stalybridge captain Brian Stone decided we’d have a bowl on the damp track, presumably hoping to maximise bowling points should the game have to be abandoned later on.
Compstall openers C Bray and P Jackson and their No. 3 R Bradley put in a proper shift, wearing down the Stalybridge bowlers, with the former staying at the crease well over 2 hours before being run out by Jordan Elliott on 43, with those three out, the rest of the Compstall attack crumbled, with only D Davies coming in at No. 6 able to break double figures before being caught at slip by Brian from Faz Hussain, who returned after a self imposed break to help out today, cheers Faz.
After probably the best teas we’ll have this season, (gotta love strawberry fresh cream scones!), Stalybridge came out of the blocks unsurprisingly sluggishly given the food coma we were in, with both openers being dismissed in short order, with only 3 runs on the board, and less than 4 overs in. James Beswick came in at three and Tony Mooney at four, and both managed to stay at the crease for almost an hour, steadying the play before being bowled and caught respectively. With only 35 runs on the board and wickets four down, it was looking like tall order to come back from, it was the arrival of Mike Hatton at five however, that was the turning point of the match, where last year, he would have been swinging recklessly at every ball he faced, this time he was calm and took each ball on its merit, and stayed at the crease for the remaining hour and half of the match, as others came and went to run up 46* with 7 boundaries.
It was his final partnership with captain Brian Stone however that proved the most tense, with Brian coming in with 6 overs to go, and just 20 runs now required, it was a very nervy 20 minutes, as Compstall’s opening bowling pair came back on to try and dislodge the dogged pair, to no avail, again, like the Compstall innings, the match was decided in the final over, with just TWO balls to spare, with the captain hitting the winning couple of runs to see Stalybridge to victory, but denying Mike his well deserved half-century, leaving Compstall stunned, but who then applauded Hatton’s efforts as they all left the field.
So, for the second game in a row, it has come down to the wire for Stalybridge to clinch victory, it’s not doing my ticker any favours, but whatever the result would have been, it was a great game of cricket!
Final result: Stalybridge win by 1 wicket, full scorecard available here.