By Skipper Alex Smickersgill
2nd XI Home v Thorner
18th May 2019
Cricket is a fiendishly difficult game to get right. That is one of the many reasons it is such a great game. What can be more satisfying than those rare occasions when everything clicks into place and the result is a flawless team performance, apart from one piece of geriatric fielding by the skipper on the boundary that Rob tells me I am contractually obliged to draw to everyone’s attention.
Arriving at Thorner we were aware of the reputation of the ground for low scoring, grinding games. Losing the toss and being inserted was not part of the game plan. Tahir and skipper strode to the wicket with a degree of trepidation. To their delight, the Thorner attack started by feeding the opening duo a diet of wides and pies. The scoreboard was soon rattling along. An opening stand of 60 took just 8 overs. Tahir was batting like Dick Turpin (stand and deliver). He has a simple method; he either misses or launches and his excellent 27 was adorned with 2 huge 6’s. The profligacy of the Thorner opening bowlers was such that even the skipper was able to get in a few biffs.
After the initial wayward opening spell the bowling settled down. Now the vagaries of the track became apparent. Each new Crossgates batter sensibly kept the score ticking over. Will and Ray contributed handy 19’s. Shabby and Paul smacked 5 boundaries between them in really handy cameos. John and Rob scurried and slapped a really handy 20 for the seventh wicket. The upshot was a total of 188-8 (despite what the Wetherby league website says. I think Thorner’s scorer forgot to add the 29 extras. Extras, by the way, played an absolute blinder and was second top score). On a track that had yielded only 130 this was always going to be a big ask for the Thorner line up.
This was immediately amplified in Ray’s first over when a neat snaffle from Adil sent the opener back to the hutch. Unlike Thorner, Crossgates’ bowlers were bowling a tight line and length and using the inconsistency of the pitch to their advantage. Ray (3-8) and Shabby (2-13) got us into the Thorner batting. This was backed by some razor sharp fielding, with Will’s casual grab of an Exocet a particular highlight.
With plenty of bowling on tap, the skipper was rationing bowlers to a maximum of 5 overs each. Sam was unlucky; he threatened without getting a break. Zaheer (2-15) was his normal metronomic self. He benefited from Ray’s cool under an absolute steepler and a second catch for Will.
Once the change bowlers had had their stint, the skipper turned to spin. Will (2-2) produced a couple of snorters to bamboozle and bowl a couple of nonplussed bats whilst a smart grab by Rob gave Paul (1-7) the final wicket. The only blemish was the aforementioned comical fielding from the skipper. What younger players need to grasp is that at the skipper’s age he is doing well to leave his Zimmer frame in the changing room.
So 4 games in to a new season at a higher level we are unbeaten with 2 crushing wins under our belts. Any concerns about whether we can compete have been dispelled. Greater challenges lie ahead but we are up for them. Up the Gates!!!!
Man of the Match: Alex Smickersgill
Fielding point: Will Bradley