After the disappointment of Sundays cup defeat, mainly due to our deficiencies with the bat, the big question was how would the team respond in our first league fixture of the season at home to Chippingdales? The new Middleton cricket shirts were being worn for the first time and the sponsors were in attendance to see if their investment was a wise one!
With the sun shining down on MCC and a vast crowd in place, umpiring the game would be a tough task, especially with the BBQ being fired up and the vino flowing! The pre-match team talk was all about putting right what went wrong on Sunday and being mentally stronger with the bat as the bowling and fielding has been nothing short of superb.
Captain Christian, or lucky Chris, won the toss for the 3rd game running and elected to bowl. Charlie and Monty opened the bowling and Charlie was particularly impressive taking 1 wicket for 0 runs (2 maidens) dislodging their opener with a caught and bowled, superb stuff. Monty bowled a little short but showed signs of real potential and always stuck to his task. Christian and Alex were up next and again Christian delivered, taking 2 wickets for just 6 runs. Alex was hit for a couple of boundaries in his first over but responded by delivering with a wicket maiden in over two.
Ben Mackley was next up and there were cries from the field of dont bowl another NASA ball! Ben duly obliged by bowling the highest widest ball of the day and sending it into orbit. Sam P bowled from the other end and bowled a little short in his first over and was hit for a couple of boundaries.
Ben was replaced by Ozzy and his accuracy was rewarded with two wickets for 1 run, he was on a hatrick but unfortunately bowled a wide before a big LBW shout. Sam P, like Alex before him showed great character to bowl a maiden over after an expensive first over. Ozzy then took another wicket in his second over to finish with figures of 3 wickets for 7 runs, great stuff.
Rocco replaced Sam and bowled a wicket maiden with a nice tight spell of spin bowling. Remi bowled with a hint of swing, and had 5 dot bowls and just one boundary hit off her over. Rocco came back on and took the final wicket with the first ball of his 2nd over. Chipps had been bowled out for just 67 runs, a truly epic performance in the field once again.
Once again the team talk at the interval was based around half a job done but lets not forget what happened last time out! The players had their mental strength and character called upon, surely lightening couldnt strike twice!
Murray and Sam P were sent out to steady the ship and start to build a score. They reached a reasonable 14-1 before Sam P swung across a slower ball and was bowled for 1. Ben Mackley was sent in higher up the order than usual as he was about to depart for his half term holidays and it proved to be a huge call. He set about the Chipps attack scoring a number of well struck boundaries which included a huge 6 that nearly ended up in the car park. Murray will feel disappointed to have been caught and bowled by a for 13, but he played his part in building a score whilst keeping wickets intact. Ben was retired for 28 and with the score at 57-2 could Marcus and Christian get us over the line. The answer was of course yes. Marcus was 4 not out and Christian 9 not out, we had surpassed Chipps 67 runs after just 9 overs.
An emphatic victory. This was just the response I was looking for and not only did we bat and bowl exceptionally well I felt there was a real team spirit that we can build upon moving forward. Every player played a part this evening so well done to you all.
Bowler of the Match: Impossible to pick, a 3 way tie! Charlie 1 wicket for 0 runs opening the bowling, Ozzy 3 wickets for 7 runs and Rocco 2 wickets for 0 runs (sorry Christian, 2 for 6 would normally be pretty hard to beat!)
Batsmen of the Match: Theres only one Ben Mackley – have a great holiday
PS Thanks to both Steve Mack and Martin Nelmes for their help with the scoring