Match Date & Time
|May 7, 2023
At last the sun shone on Middleton Park. The sun attracted a full hand of spectators who enjoyed the spectacle so much that the bar was drunk dry of beer and the barbeque sold out in less time that it took for George to complete an anecdote. Spectators arrived on foot, by bike and vintage motor cars, including a 1913 Renault. The cricketing scene was timeless.
After the rainfall of Coronation Saturday a strange apparation was observed examining the square late in the evening. Head torch casting an eerie ghost light about him, the hunched figure grubbed around in the wet grass. Was this a Bushman bowler attempting to doctor the wicket, was it a long lost member of the free George Davis campaign? (for younger readers this refers to the Headingly Test match of 1975). No it was Simmo snivelling for lob worms. He was very happy with his haul.
Much labouring with the protective sheet, thanks Sam, Rob and Elliot, meant that the wicket was just about dry enough to begin the match. Middleton won the toss and confidently asked the Bushmen to bat first on the wet wicket. Rob Barton, opening the bowling, planned to pitch the ball up, swing the ball away and get some movement off the seam. Not sticking quite to his plan he served up the opening batter with a brace of gentle long hops. 15 runs later the over finished. This was not regular Bushmen batting, indeed the opening batter proved to be rather more talented, fit and competitive than we have come to expect. Elliot Barton bowled from the Farm end, he bowled accurately and was unlucky to conceed two boundaries from the outside edge. Runs flowed relentlessly from the Australian visitor, the scoreboard ticked on relentlessly. His opening partner was trying unsuccessfully to keep up. A mis timed drive looped to the fielding captain at midoff from Elliot’s sixth over. A mistimed attempt to catch it summed up a disappointing start to the game for the home tea.
Trystan Kennedy, the young gun opener, was soon past fifty. He particularly took to the bowling of Robin Cummings, who was a little unlucky that one chance, top edged to Deep Square Leg, approached the fielder directly out of the golden sun. It was the only chance that Trystan offered, a magnificent century made from a total of 125. He retired to generous applause. Normal Sunday Cricket returned at least for a while. Sam Norley had been the best of the Middleton bowlers, the only one who had drawn defensive shots from Trystan, and it was Sam who picked up the first wicket, comfortably caught by Elliot, with the sun no longer in his eyes.
Elliot returned for a second spell. Sensing a chance to exploit some indifferent bounce, Matt Carpenter was moved to forward short leg. The move paid off, Matt taking a diving catch to one that rapped the gloves of the Bushmen no 3. A third wicket partnership began to regain dominance for the Bushmen. The score pushed on towards 200. Lachlan Nieboer looked the new danger man, attacking mostly through the leg side. Matt the bowler who suffered the punishment.
Normal Sunday cricket then ceased. Seril Shah had waited patiently for his chance to bowl. For 12 deliveries nothing untoward happened. Then everything happened. Encouraged by a well known Yorkshire bowling coach, he put a little more energy into his delivery. A fine delivery beat the outside edge, Jamie Lumb swooped for a gleeful stumping. The new batsmen, Ben Davis, was not the threat that earlier batters had promised. He lasted only one ball. Three ball later Seril struck again, not with his best delivery, but one that resulted in an LBW decision as the ball’s second bounce struck the batter on the foot. The new batter lasted only two balls, an outside edge looping lazily into slips hands. Four wickets in six balls, became five in seven balls as the inspired Seril struck the stumps once more. As tea loomed the Bushmen passed 200, Simmo wrapping up the innings having Nieboer caught at midwicket by Sam.
Rona had baked a fine selection of cakes, these decorated with ceremonial flags in a nod to a separate event taking place this weekend. These were gleefully devoured by the hungry horde. Jay Mumtaz and Matt Carpenter were disrupted from their grazing by the call to arms. Umpire Richard Lumb, keeping a keen eye on the timings led the players back onto the field. There would be good time for Middleton to have a crack at the target, a steady start would help the chase. Despite losing Jay to a slip catch, ( taken by Tyrstan) that would not have been taken by any of the other 21 players taking part, a steady start was achieved. Matt Carpenter was watchful, picking up enough runs to keep the total ticking, Mark Ford-Langstaff a little more aggressive, finding the boundary regularly, but also playing and missing enough to keep a very vocal slip cordon appealing vigorously.
The Bushmen’s key bowler was Lachlan Nieboer. He caused problems to each batter in turn. With a high, quick action, occasional deliveries jumped alarmingly. Carpenter fell to an injudicious shot with the score at 44. Jamie Lumb appreciated some gentler deliveries from Akash, getting off the mark with a six. He and Mark put Middleton into a position form which the game could be won. When Jamie edged to the keeper the crowd were beginning to murmur about the chance of a good finish.
Simmo was pushed up the order to pick up the singles and rotate the strike, this time the ploy did not come off. The run rate began to climb. Mark was bowled for 44, top Middleton score of the day. Elliot was keen to chase the target, his attacking shot a little too ambitious. Well into the last 20 overs Tim Riley made a last gasp chance to keep up with the chase. It might have been a reflection of his musing over the earlier dropped catch that he remembered on arrival at the crease that he should have been wearing batting gloves.
A flurry of runs, sixteen from one over, had players, and spectators checking the scoreboard. As the Bushmen sought the final wickets, Riley became Nieboer’s second victim and the game was up.
Rob Barton and Seril Shah were left with 13 balls to survive for the draw. Seril facing the leg spin of Trystan, opted to drive extragantly and miss the ball. It worked. Rob was more traditional, carefully defensive. The last ball turned Rob sideways, the outside edge sailed towards point where the fielder was deep in dreamland, Middleton had held on for the draw.
The Bushmen provided convivial company after the game, despite the dangerous shortage of beer behind the bar. The Hickman’s once again did far more than their share of help, behind the bar and on the barbeque. Seril won the inaugural certificate for his contribution to the game, Ben Davis won for the Bushmen for his enthusiastic appreciation of the day. My thanks go to the Richard and Chris for their officiating. Lets hope that this Sunny Sunday was the first of more to come.
|178/3 - 63
|167/9 - 156/5
|213/2 - 156/8