One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs Hornby, Denton Park #1, Presidents, 17th January 2015
Dare I say it, you'd have to be the really grumpy type to find something not to like about this performance. Batting wise, a sparkling start, a solid middle order consolidation, perhaps a slightly under-cooked finish, but then a complete destruction of the opposition with the ball in reply.
Hornby at Denton Park has never been an easy match for us, and coming from a disastrous loss to them at Bradford in the first round when we'd been bowled out for 51, the challenge on this occasion didn't look any the less. Naturally we won the toss, and apparently despite some debate about what to do on a wicket that clearly lack some bounce, and one that we're always found difficult, the assertive decision was made to bat - with 30dc temperatures promised, maybe the logical call. But any doubts about that decision were quickly evaporated when it became obvious that Laughts and Wildy saw it as their day. Laughts, fresh from his 48 the week before against Blue again looked to build an innings, and Wildy who had been unlucky with an early leading edge in that same match, now relished some bowling that ranged regularly into his favoured arch. Between them they put on 78 for the first wicket to form the base of the innings as they do so often. But when Laughts fell for 21, and Matt came and went in the same over to a caught and bowled, suddenly we were 81/2 and at risk of undoing the earlier good work of the openers.
Kev Moore then played one of his best innings of the season to date. He defend well, took his ones and twos and occasional boundary as they presented themselves, but mainly supported Wildy who was by then on top of his game on a wicket that clearly still favoured the bowlers. Wildy's effort wasn't just restricted to his favoured legside shots, with several lovely drives through the covers keeping the field spread. Between them they pushed the innings out of the danger territory and when Wildy finally fell for an excellent 73, the innings was set up for a big finish. However, Hornby then started to raise their game somewhat as their earlier fielding had been poor with 2-3 easy catches missed, and ground fielding less than their normal standards. With wickets in hand Kev carried on looking to accelerate the run rate before he was suddenly out to a spectacular return catch for 51 with the score at 178/7 . The middle order all came in looking to do likewise, with Browney's three boundaries in a short innings at the end the highlight, but Hornby did enough to restrict and take wickets through this period such that we finally pulled up a perhaps ideally a little short of the 220-230 score that looked a possibly earlier.
However, 195 was always going to be a big ask for Hornby bearing in mind the bowling we had available on the day which was augmented this week with the addition of the parsimonious Ken Julian. Jules, no doubt smarting from his wayward start the previous week, did much to knee cap Hornby even before the slows came on. His 6 overs for 2 runs, including four consecutive maidens, killed any momentum and set the tone for the innings. When Ralphy finished with only 6 off his 3 overs, Flem and Ken then came together to bowl in tandem and what life was left in the batting was extinguished by these two. Flem's 8 overs 2/24, and Ken's even more impressive 8 overs 3/11, strangled the batsmen which was not helped by the run out of one of the openers when runs were proving difficult to get. Unfortunately we don't get to see the spin twins together often enough in our matches but when we do, especially on wickets such as this, there is no more deadly a combination in the competition. The other performer of note was Phil Walker with his 2/7 off three overs again confirming what a promising addition at the bowling crease he is for us.
The fielding was excellent and energised throughout with only the two outfield catches missed, be it that if taken the one to Wildly diving one handed at long-off after a long run would likely have replaced Browney's catch last week as the catch of the season. However, one that might still qualify for that was Laughts catch that he took standing up to Ken to a ball that stood up on both him and the batsman. In the end Hornby were bowled out for 77 in the 34th over for a comfortable win and then a few beers with the Hornby lads who again were great hosts and put on some food at the aftermatch.
So a must win game was won - Hornby who were sitting in 3rd place before this match, are like us, one of the contenders with work to do to get into the top four by the late February cut-off, so this result had a double edge to it for us as it would have for them. But next week doesn't get any easier as we look to take on the unbeaten league leaders St Albans on President's Day at Burnside Park (or maybe Ilam).
Man of the Match: Kevin Moore (with honorary mention to Wildy, Jules and Ken)
Check out the scorecard from the game.