Stalybridge suffer first defeat of season to strong bowling attack.
In a crucial 1st verses 2nd match, it was the opposition home side that took the spoils, starting by winning the toss and putting Stalybridge into bat, the day went from bad to worse from that point forward with the dismissal of Mike Whitworth in the second over with just 5 runs on the board, with his partner at the opposite end, Alex Wilde caught behind surviving another 10 overs before being caught behind by the most toxic keeper I’ve had to endure at 2nds level cricket, it was Whitworth’s dismissal however that saw Khalid Akram come in at three, who was Stalybridge’s top scorer on 35, taking plenty of abuse from the home side fielders for whatever reason, before being bowled by Sikander Kalifa, with Stalybridge now 5 wickets down, with only 62 on the board and just 26 overs complete.
I could see how the above could be seen as sour grapes, but it isn’t intended that way, I’d expect that sort of “banter” at a Division 1 match, or against a side with previous history, but it’s not needed at this level, but despite their temperament, their bowling couldn’t be faulted, it was probably the best bowling performance Stalybridge 2nds have faced in a long time, and they punished us with it, bowling the remaining batsmen out for just 82, the ball that bowled Pete Coxon for example was just perfect; with a 4-29 from Saad Malik and 3-11 from Sikander Kalifa.
After the interval, the misery continued, with an excellent batting performance from captain Naseem Sheikh, who almost managed to secure maximum points for his team, which would have seen them top the table, before being given LBW 6 runs from victory, finishing on 25, and his long standing partner at the opposite end with No. 3, Irfan Khalik, racked up 51 to win the game for the home side from just 53 deliveries with 5 fours and 3 sixes, two of which ended in the canal I think!
There were a couple of dropped catches by the Stalybridge fielders, Pete Coxon having to endure two of his deliveries dropped in the same over, but it wouldn’t have made an impact on the outcome of the match.
So while it was only 1 point for Stalybridge today, it was an important one, as it means we’re tied on points with High Lane, and I think we remain in the top spot in division 4 for at least another week, but I’ll let Ian Halford work that lot out, until we are again on the road to the ground affectionately known as the swamp, Offerton.
In more positive news, it was a gloriously sunny day, a shock after the weather we’ve endured all week, and the 1sts saw victory against High Lane’s 1sts, beating them by 9 wickets.
Final result: High Lane win by 8 wickets, full scorecard available here.