One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs Hornby, Bradford Park, Presidents, 4th February 2017
It was a beautiful warm sunny day when we turned up at Bradford Park, only problem was that the pitch was wet with a very boggy run-up at the far end - the weather had been fine leading up to the match, so obviously the council had stuffed up the watering regime!
Accordingly it was a no brainer when Laughts won the toss he of course invited them to bat, and the pitch was indeed very hard to bat on initially with some balls stopping and popping and no pace in it, so hard to time shots. Brownie opened the bowling from the slippery end and sure enough fell over first ball! While Palermo sliced the 2nd ball to gully, where Ammar got both hands to it but couldn't hold it, it was the first of 9 chances we were to miss! And the next one wasn't long coming, when at the other end Palermo skied Ski's 2nd ball to mid on, where Bert dropped a very regulation catch.
And Palermo's luck continued when Dunny came on for Brownie, as he got a fine edge 2nd ball past Wazza with the gloves. Considering the conditions the openers did very well to get to 40 off 13 overs, although Ski had more bad luck when Mario could only get his fingers to an edge between keeper and slip, indeed Mario got a broken fingernail from this chance. Brownie and Bert (having his first bowl since October 2015, thanks to Laught's benevolence and lots of encouragement from Wildy) then kept things quiet up to drinks and we finally got a breakthrough at 47, when a good bit of fielding by Laughts ran out Matchett. So 52/1 at drinks, Wazza swapped the gloves with Bert and Wazza was soon in the action!
As Mario came on to bowl and first ball of his 2nd over was hit hard and low to Laughts at mid off, but most unusually he dropped it. Next ball was swung hard and low again, this time to Wazza coming in off the short mid wkt boundary, and again the catch went down. Bert then said to the batsman "well we've caught 0 out of 6 so far so your chances of getting out that way are pretty remote, see if you can make it 3 in a row!" Thus encouraged the batsman duly swung at the next ball and got a big top edge towards mid wkt - where Wazza came in off the fence but then realised the ball was going behind him, so managed to put the brakes on, jump up, thrust out a hand at full stretch and the ball stuck, a stunning catch! Next over Mario induced another top edge that JK comfortably caught at square leg, to finally get rid of Palermo for a very valuable if very lucky 39. Then JK came on and bowled a very good spell to claim the next 2 wickets - one with a great off cutter that the guy was looking to cut before it whipped back and cleaned him out, the other to a well judged catch by Wildy running round at cover. And when Mario got the next wicket to an easy catch by Phil Walker at mid on, Hornby had slumped to 114/6.
However while Mario's slow medium floaters were continually tempting them, they were also regularly hitting one or two 4 balls per over from him to the fence, and Bruce Scott batted very well for them to help put on 42 for the next wicket. He hit 2 great straight sixes, although our catching issues returned when Ski dropped a hard caught and bowled that cut his thumb, he went off for repairs and no-one in the vicinity of Bradford Park could have failed to notice that he was loudly unimpressed with this turn of events! Then he had a long wait under a skier from Scott at long off (off Brownie) but it bounced out, to the accompaniment of another volley of loud colourful words! Next Dunny made good ground from deep midwicket to get to a mistimed lob from Scott off Phil, but lost the ball as he rolled over. Laughts finally broke the partnership with a very good catch at deep mid-off, from Phil (who bowled very well in the closing overs) diving forward in what was almost a replay of the one he'd earlier missed. But the no 9 batted sensibly in support of Scott (48*) and they finished with a very commendable score of 172/7 - the last 20 overs had produced 120 runs for 6 wickets, while we'd dropped 8 catches and missed another one!
Bowling figures were; Brown 7 0 17 0, Ski 7 1 28 0, Dunn 5 1 16 0, B. Walker 3 0 7 0, Williams 8 0 53 3, JK 5 1 20 2, P. Walker 5 0 30 1 - and we couldn't help but feel that we'd somewhat missed our chance on this dodgy pitch, to roll them for a much lower score (Kenny and Flem would have been unplayable on it).
The pitch had definitely improved though as it had dried out but was still playing some tricks, as evidenced when in the first over Laughts (after hitting a fine 4 over mid on), got one that popped unplayably off a length, hit his glove and lobbed to slip. Then at the other end Wildy late cut a nice 4, but got yorked last ball, so not a great start 2 overs and 8/2! Ski sore thumb and all now joined Phil in a crucial partnership, but with the score at 20 Ski skied one to mid wicket - where the guy was right under it but fortunately dropped it, it was a crucial miss.
As Ski and Phil then built a very good partnership, regularly scoring 4-5 an over with good shots and good running, plus we were aided by a regular stream of byes (that totalled a very helpful 17 in the end). They gradually took control after they'd seen the 2 opening bowlers off (who'd bowled out), although Ski did have a bit of luck with 2 French cuts just past the stumps, as the pitch was still tricky to time shots on at times. In between times he hit some great shots though, best of them being a sweetly timed 6 over long on from their opening bowler and a delicate late cut for 4.
And we had a good bonus with their 3rd change bowler, as Phil pulled him for 2 sixes over backward square leg in an over that cost 19. Hornby started wilting a bit in the heat and were glad to come off for drinks, taken with the score at 107/2 and the partnership worth 99 at this stage (Phil 44*, Ski 47*). So just 65 to win off 20 overs at basically 3 an over and 8 wickets left, things looked good for us :-) Unfortunately Phil didn't get going again after drinks, as after very nearly being out LBW to the first ball after it from Palermo (bowling flat leggies), in Palermo's next over Phil sportingly walked for an LBW that shot through at ankle height and hit him right in front, after a partnership with Ski of 103. Mario settled in and Ski completed a very well made 50, then soon afterwards hit a return catch to Palermo.
Ammar hit 2 very good scoring shots off his first 2 balls but then got bogged down, and in attempting to hit out was bowled by Palermo, while very soon afterwards Mario hit across the line at the other end and was also bowled, 141/4 had become 143/6 and it was suddenly game on. Wazza then played an invaluable innings, batting in his usual aggressive style. He had some luck with a couple of mishits that landed just out of reach, but in between times hit some strong shots including a couple of well timed boundaries. Brownie supported him well at the other end in a stand of 21 but then holed out, so Dunny came in with 9 to win. Wazza got a single, then hit a big 6 over backward square leg before taking another single to tie the score, and Dunny finished the match in style with a lovely shot over mid off for 4.
So we won by 3 wickets and the scoreboard read; Laughton 4, Wild 4, P. Walker 46, Borcoski 57, Williams 9, Ammar 3, Guy 20*, Brown 7, Dunn 4*.
As always with Hornby the match was played in a very good spirit, only minor incident being when a square leg fielder inexplicably called a 6 of Phil's as only 4, when to the square leg umpire it had landed at least a foot over the boundary. And fortunately his challenge to the 4 signalled was backed up by the honest fielder at mid wicket, confirming that it had indeed gone for 6. While we had certainly had much the better of the pitch conditions, so credit to Hornby for making it a close game.
Man of the match was obviously a close call between Phil and Ski, and in the end Phil's all round performance of a wicket, a catch and a vital innings just shaded the luckless in the field Ski, who bowling or fielding featured in 4 dropped catches - but also had the satisfaction of playing the highest innings of the match, and with a painful thumb injury. while it was great to have support there from Congo, Flem, Phil B and Kenny, thanks guys.
Thanks also go to Brownie for bringing the beers, and after the game we all toasted our great all rounder and gallant (original) skipper Brenden Winder, his lovely wife Jen and their new born son - a good end to an enjoyable victorious match, on a beautiful summer's day for once! :-)
Man of the Match: Phil Walker
Check out the scorecard from the game.