MSCC won by 37 runs
Match Date & Time
|May 14, 2023||2:00 pm||2023|
Some moments on a cricket field seem to defy rational explanation. The ninth of the ten Rainmen wickets to fall was one moment that seemed unexplainable, unless you were one of the few who had been informed that a magic bullet had been injected into Stevyn Jackson’s knee. Stevyn’s fielding has not usually been linked to Colin Bland, Derek Randall or Jonty Rhodes. Until this match. A crook knee had caused long term rusting of Stevyn’s joint, the recent injection loosened the rust. With time running out and two wickets needed for victory, Paul Wordsworth delivered a full length ball just outside the left handed batters leg stump. A sweep shot made good contact, but the ball was in the air. The newly mobile square leg fielder leapt salmon like to his right, stretched both hands toward the ball clutching it in extended finger tips. Joy was unconfined in the fielding side and amongst the ranked supporters. Simmo was gobsmacked, so much so that he was silent.
Less easy to explain was the frenzied waving of Paul Wordsworth in the direction of the Captain whilst pointing to the surrounding trees. Was he suggesting a fielding position change or did he want to bowl? Mark Ford Lanstaff was bemused, Howard Lancaster confused but the Captain was able to enlighten when he realised that Paul was pointing out a blackcap singing. One of the pleasures of playing in the glorious surrounding of Middleton Park is listening to the spring birdsong of which there is plenty, with not a car nor a motorbike to be heard.
Most of the wildlife to be seen around the ground is to be enjoyed, on this day a species of small biting fly was doing the enjoying, taking many a nip from your correspondant, and anyone else foolish enough to have any exposed flesh. A conjecture was made that the flys were the usual prey of the hunting lob worm, lob worms whose population had experienced a recent crash. The flies were abundant.
Early in the day a team of workers battled the effects of the mild wet weather which has caused the grass to grow alarmingly. The outfield in particular is exceptionally lush. Max Nalborczyk rode the yellow tractor ceaslessly, Elliot pitchforked the cutting mountain into submission, Matt Carpenter helped roll next week’s track. George Williams put out the flags and Howard and Mark got the scorebox and pavilion ready. Unexpectedly the visiting Rainmen arrive early, or at least 9 of them did. The toss was made, Middleton chose to bat and cricket was underway dead on time.
Michael Robinson opened the batting with Mark F – L. Three overs passed before a run was scored, and that a wide. Mark was the first to add to the score. One four to square leg as well timed as any shot all day. He was kicking himself when he guided a wide ball into the hands of backward point a few balls later out for 17. Michael continued to rock forward keeping out the straight but unthreatening bowling. Matt Carpenter hit one boundary before chipping mid on allowing Elliot Barton to join the obdurate Robinson. Michael emerged from his shell, hit two good boundaries but perished trying to hit a third. The low bouncing pitch was causing problems for all the batters, except all too briefly for George Williams. George had no problem hitting the ball hard and far. One shot was on course to decaptiate the umpire at the bowling end, a fingertip touch by the bowler doing just enough to deflect it to safety. The bowler retired to the ice box to nurse his badly bruised finger.
The Rainmen are not renowned as a good catching team but today they held all but two of the chances that came thier way. George was given a life by the wicket keeper, but next ball was very well caught on the boundary at long on. Robin Cummings joined Elliot and hit his first boundary of the year before departing for 6. Elliot was batting sensibly, accummulating runs as MSCC were in a tight spot at 66 – 5. Stevyn Jackson gave Elliot good support, but the key partnership of the innning was between Elliot and Howard Lancaster, which included the only all run 3 of the day. As the innings drew to a close, Elliot grew closer and closer to a half century. Two more wickets fell as Paul Wordsworth joined Elliot for the last two overs of the innings. Paul scampered hard, Elliot tried some uncoventional shots. Paul hit his best shot for years and confidently walked forward to prod down the pitch expecting applause as the ball crossed the line. Alas it was the one spot where mowing Max had missed and the ball held up in the long grass. At tea MSCC were on 155 and Elliot on 49 as the hard hearted capatain declared.
Athis had prepared tea with a south east asian twist which was enjoyed by all, and in true Middleton tradition caused the tea interval to be extended. George Williams took the new ball and just two balls to dismiss the visiting captain with the best ball bowled of the day. He struck again in his second over, but even he found the wicket sapping the pace from his deliveries. Rainmens third wicket pair were less troubled by pace and seemed assured at the wicket. Paul found the right delivery and in no time Rainmen were in trouble at 13 – 3. Seril Shah replaced George, Seril in rich vein of form was soon into the wickets, ripping out the Rainmen middle order. First a good catch by Robinson at mid on, then a slip catch from the skipper followed by one more clean bowled. Was it to be consecutive five wicket hauls?
Rainmen’s Josh Ramsay had had a good first session, taking two catches and four wickets. He had not made 50 runs in total in all of last year. Today was to be his day with the bat. Taking advantage of attacking fields he fired off a battery of boundaries. One from the bowling of Robin almost leading to the most spectacular of caught and bowleds. Seril struck again to take his fourth wicket but to the west the clouds were building, Rainmen needed seven runs an over but had ony two wickets in hand. 12 overs remained when the Captain played his wild card and threw the ball to Howard. Three times Howard beat the bat, four times the bat hit the ball to the boundary. Those overs had ticked down to 8 when Paul returned for a second spell. After some good management of the strike by Ramsay Paul eventually had one ball to bowl to the left handed number 10. Cometh the hour cometh the Jackson.
Knowing the last batsmen was unlikely to last long, Ramsay went into overdrive passing his half century in a last ditch effort to get over the line. With 37 left to chase he mistimed an off break from Paul splitting the space between Elliot at extra cover and Robin at mid off. Elliot made an awkward chance look easy and a happy Middleton team walked off toward barbeque and bar.
|Rain Men total||118|
|Rain Men total||43||3||155||9|
|Chris Greer||Sathya Vadivale|
|MSCC||0 - 0||Rain Men|
|MSCC||221/5 - 138/6||Rain Men|
|MSCC||207/3 - 152/8||Rain Men|
|MSCC||192/6 - 59/9||Rain Men|
|MSCC||201/5 - 70||Rain Men|
|MSCC||184/3 - 70||Rain Men|