Depleted Stalybridge team right royally beaten by Birch Vale.
On the back of a double header last weekend, where the 1sts continued their unbeaten run in the league on Saturday, beating Dove Holes 2s by six wickets at their place, after bowling the hosts our for 59, then only to be soundly trounced by a strong 1st Division Woodley side in the 2nd round of the Bissenden Cup by 171 runs, the following day, today could have gone either way, given the depleted nature of the squad when I arrived at the ground, with a number of key players missing, to the point of bringing Club President Paul Whitworth out of retirement.
Captain Mike Whitworth was in a Jubilee jubilant mood winning the toss, and put the visitors into bat, and everything seemed to be going to plan up until to the ninth over, when Muddy Bashir picking up a couple of wickets, and James Brady picking a pair also, before Bashir tripped on his follow-through, injuring his knee mid-way through his 4th over, his only consolation is the ball was subsequently caught by Gary Sandiford at Extra-Cover (admittedly two balls before Brady’s 2nd wicket, at the start of the 9th, but cut me some artistic license).
With Bashir unable to continue his bowling, the visitors sensed blood in the water and started to build runs on the board, with David Platt and Steve Burns putting on a 43 run partnership before Burns was given LBW in the 19th over to net Gary Sandiford his first of his five wicket haul, but dismissing Burns brought Ash Barrett to the crease, and his partnerships with Philip Trueman (16), Adam Robinson (12) and Naman Jawaid (10), netted him 69 runs out of the combined 93 earned while he was at the crease, taking the visitors to an unexpected 186/9, the final wicket of Jawaid saw the visitors just 1 run short of 200, and maximum batting points.
After the interval, losing opener Rob Mallet in the 4th over with 8 runs on the board, wasn’t part of the plan, but with the dismissal of Captain Mike, at the start of the 8th over, to Philip Trueman definitely soured his mood, which deepened even further when Trueman picked up the scalps of Saad Jelani and Gary Sandiford in the next two deliveries giving him his hat-trick.
Gary apparently shared Mike’s ill mood as evident by launching his helmet at my score-hut following his dismissal.
With the hosts now 16/4, Birch began to turn the screw further with some very economical bowling, Trueman doing 10 overs finishing five maidens, 4-11, Ash Barrett (4-23) who had punished Stalybridge batting, proceeded to take the next four wickets seeing taking the score to 55-8, with defeat on the cards, Bashir attempted to return to the crease with Gary Sandiford as his runner, but just 8 balls into his innings, he collapsed in a heap after striking a four past the bowler and was unable to continue, get well soon matey, hope it’s nothing too serious.
Much to his (comical) disgust, Paul Whitworth’s return from retirement, and Stalybridge’s innings ended just 12 minutes later with 3 runs to his credit, after being run-out by his opposite partner Ash Wardhaugh (2), to see the hosts lose their first game of the League campaign by 131 runs.
Next week, the firsts will have to lick their collective wounds, when they make the 40 minute or so trek to Macclesfield, where they face Pott Shrigley who dismissed Chapel-en-le-Frith for just 50 runs and chased the total for the loss of just two wickets this afternoon.
Final result and score-card: Birch Vale & Thornsett CC 1st win by 131 runs.