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2NDS BEATEN BY ELTON ON BAKING AFTERNOON

A return tie to in-form Elton was in store for the Seconds on Sunday, a team reinforced by the availability of Nick Marsh and Skunners. On a glorious day, but with a rather suspicious looking wicket, Watty lost the toss and was put in to bat by the Elton skipper, Pete Taylor. Elton's bowlers didn't take long to strike; Dan skied one very early in the innings which was held comfortably by Horrocks in the deep, giving his wicket very cheaply for just one. Mick Jones entered the fray, only to be back in the pavilion promptly after one kept very very low off the bowling of Sale; our fears about the wicket were showing quite prominently now; Stu Batigan, who was playing delightfully at the other end, almost fell victim to one which shot up from a good length, fortunately the close fielder and the keeper were just too far away.

The start of the third over saw the arrival of "boom boom" Skunners, whose first scoring shot was a boundary (as we all expected!). Unfortunately Skunners' eyes lit up on a juicy half volley - a swing/miss followed, and his stumps were re-arranged by Grundy, claiming his second wicket of the day. Ryan Stoney arrived at the crease and got off the mark with a nice pull for six; he got himself upto 12 before being caught by possibly one of the catches of the season; Horrocks at square leg held a pull shot low to his right which left the crowd and players in shock! Cracking stuff to watch.

At the start of the 12th over, skipper Watty arrived at the crease and got his eye in almost immediately, dispatching Leveridge for a six towards the estate on the last ball of his maiden over. The final ball of Leveridge's next over was neatly put away too; a straight-ish half-volley was launched over long-on for a maximum. Two very expensive overs from the young bowler had somewhat helped Stu and Watty steady the ship and take the score from 44-4 to a more promising looking 79-4, before Nuttall held a superb caught and bowled which removed Batigan for 23. The returning Adrian Campbell arrived at the crease and played a lovely clip off his legs to get himself off the mark for 4; however, his return was somewhat short-lived and he fell victim to yet another sensational piece of fielding, again at square leg with Leveridge making amends by holding one low to his right.

Ant McCracken, fresh off his 50 last week, didn't inconvenience the scorers too much before being bowled by the economical Nuttall; Ant's dismissal was followed soon after by the skipper for 32, who was trying to push the scoring along when he mistimed a drive which took off-stump; this sparked a collapse and Nick Marsh fell victim to Nuttall for his 3rd with a plum LBW; Nick was followed quickly by Farhan, leaving the young Ryan Marsh at the non-striker's end on 0 not out. Totty's final score of 98 could have been enough on the unpredictable wicket.

After the tea break, Elton's innings commenced with Morris and the skipper Taylor opening; two maidens from Nick Marsh and Skunners, bowling with pace and aggression from the pavilion, soon reaped rewards, Skundric claiming Morris for a duck with a superb piece of seam bowling which would have troubled almost anyone facing it. Next man in was Horrocks, who picked up where he left with the ball and quickly got off the mark, albeit with an edge; Horrocks got himself to 11 before Nick Marsh, who had been bowling sensationally from the Beryl Avenue end, took his stumps - Nick at this point had only gone for 19 runs off 9 overs, with four maidens. On another day, Nick could have had himself 5 wickets by this point, he was seaming and swinging the ball beautifully; indeed he could have had a second when an edge flew between keeper Jones and Batigan at 1st slip; both got a hand to it but unfortunately, luck wasn't on the home team's side and the ball flew for 4. This summed up the rest of the Elton innings; lots of edges and cuts which secured boundaries which pushed Elton towards the 99 required. Skipper Taylor hit his half-century with a four through the covers and, fittingly, hit the winning runs as Elton made it home with 8 wickets to spare.

Report courtesy Mike W

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