By Alex Smickersgill
2nd XI Away v Kippax
3rd August 2019
Geologists will tell you that Yorkshire is a county made up of gritstone. From Brimham Rocks near Pateley Bridge, to the Cow and Calf at Ilkley everywhere in the broad acres can be found true examples of Yorkshire grit. But no truer embodiment could be found than in Crossgates 2nds on Saturday at Kippax on Saturday.
For the first time in a long while, Crossgates did not have a full eleven to take into the field; a shortfall that was to prove vital in the end. Despite this the ten who played put up the best battling performance of the season.
Winning the toss, the skipper chose to bat on a roasting hot day. It soon became apparent that the strip was not the road it appeared to be, with hit the deck bowlers in particular getting the ball to stick in the surface. Nevertheless the skipper and Laxa proceeded sedately to put on a 50 opening partnership. Laxa was unfortunately run out, soon to be followed by the skipper flagging in the heat.
Will and Ray added a sensible partnership of 70 before some late order dash was provided by Zaheer, PD, Paramjeet and Kulvinder. The outstanding effort on the batting front came from Will. Pacing his knock perfectly, he combined solid defence with some mighty biffs for 6 and his first 50 for Crossgates is further testimony to his development as a quality player and the cerebral way he approaches the game. A total of 170-6 certainly gave us something to defend.
It did not seem so at first as Kippax got off to a flyer, scoring 63 from the first 11 overs. Here was where Crossgates needed to hang tough. A change to Zaheer produced a wily breakthrough. This was followed up with a really effective combination of Will taking pace off the ball from one end with the welcome return of Kulvinder, using the conditions well by employing his height to pound the surface. This pairing bowled 15 overs and took 5-56 between them. The fielding was starting to turn the screw with the skipper pouching a neat catch in the deep and Laxa a tidy take behind the stumps as well as having a good shout for the key bat turned down.
A couple of difficult chances to George and Finn went down but even this illustrated the grit of the team. It would have been easy in the tension of a close game for younger players to want to hide. But on the contrary, these were only chances because of both lads really attacking the ball.
Having chipped away at wickets the game was starting to edge away from us. Being a man down meant an inevitable gap in the field. At this point, Ray came back for a second spell. Having taken some tap in his opening burst, Ray showed the grit that was characteristic of the day to pick up 2 quick wickets.
With 6 runs needed, a top piece of work in the field by George effected a run out. Last man in. He survived an almighty appeal when struck on the pad from Ray while playing no shot. Two overs later the Kippax tailenders struck the winning runs to end a valiant effort by Crossgates.
Our ten men took a team near the top to the wire. Heads never dropped when they got off to a flyer. Every one of our players made vital contributions, whether with bat, ball or in the field. This was a defeat that felt like a victory. Up the Gates!!!!!
Man of the match: Will Bradley
Fielding point: George Warner