Congratulations to the League Champions for the 2nd year running.
No, obviously I’m not making a sneaky jibe about my other club Manchester City who have just done the same, as that would be unprofessional and puerile of me, and I’m obviously better than that, I am of course speaking about Hadfield St. Andrew’s who mid-way through their innings, despite it being only the 3rd match of the season, I proclaimed to anyone around me at the time would be top of the league come the 14th of September, after topping Division 6 last year.
The toss was taken and won by the home side, and Captain, Brian Stone put Hadfield into bat, openers Rick Ball and Jonny Hollingworth took no time to start racking up a score putting on 43 before Mark Connolly earned a catch from Adil Zaman at backward square-leg to dismiss Hollingworth.
With a break brought on by the rain, everyone was brought off for 45 minutes until rain playing tricks on the home players, allowing them to get the covers off, just to start up again, forcing a hasty re-cover, with the delay 4 overs were deducted from the 2nd innings.
The Hadfield skipper Ball was next to fall with the visitors on 80, again to the hands of Adil, but this time from Ahmed Hyatt, who also took the next in bowling Michael Hockey, soon to be followed at the other end by Connoly bowling Ian Morten.
His replacement, Hadfield’s keeper, John Nicholson at number 5, is where it starting going wrong for the home side, Nicholson was able to soak up anything the Stalybridge bowlers threw at him, and was comfortably hitting the boundary on 17 occasions (14-4s & 3-6s) to rack up an unbeaten 105 while all but the last Hadfield batter being dismissed, as they completed their 45 overs 238-9.
After tea, with the high score playing on people’s minds, a few wild shots were taken and greatfully caught in the field for the first three wickets falling for 51 runs, the idea of catching the total was now a pipe dream, and it fell to the remaining batsmen to try and salvage a draw, which drew ire and the visitors according to some of the returning batsmen.
It was Hadfield’s captain Richard Ball who did the bulk of the damage, with an excellent tally of 6 wickets for just 8 runs in 10.3 overs, that saw Hadfield destroy Stalybridge for just 80 runs, with 4 overs to go, denying the home side what would have been an honestly undeserved 7 “rain affected draw” points, and ensured the visitors the maximum 20 for the second week running.
With the strength in both batting and bowling, I stand behind my prediction that they will be atop the table come the end of the season.
Next Saturday sees another Cup Final match for the 2nds, this time down the A6 when the hosts will be Hazel Grove, with Stephen Monks taking the reigns with Brian Stone who this week narrowly escaped the dreaded Golden Duck taking one of his 30 annual holidays, to go golfing.
Final result and score-card: Hadfield St. Andrew’s Sports Club CC 2nd XI win by 158 runs.