CUP WOES BUT FINALLY A LEAGUE WIN!
If ever there was a weekend that showed where we need to develop, this was the one. Batting - good, fielding - improving, bowling - long way to go. Over two days our senior sides racked up some good numbers, with the first managing a magnificent 289 at Lakeside in the cup - and still lost!
However let's look at the positives. Plenty of decent contributions from players established and in development. With work, late cry offs (injury and club commitments) and the usual lack of availability, some of the weekend selections were enforced, leaving both sides underpowered to a degree, but that didn't stop both having a good go.
The 1sts win at Winton was both welcome and fairly complete; a devastating new ball burst from the Doc, making hsi first appearance of the year, saw Winton reduced to 20-4 before slowly rebuilding. Nick Marsh supported ably and despite a late flurry of runs, we were pretty happy to restrict the home side to 169-8 (Doc 5-20) on a wicket doing very little. There was one bizarre moment in the last over where Watty slipped as he was pretending to "Mankad" the non-striker, actually took the stumps over and a split-second later hit the deck with an agonising yelp. Thinking he'd done some serious damage, we all slowly sauntered over ... KC waved his hands about and suddenly Watty was up like a spring lamb. Miraculous. A note about the fielding, which was particularly good throughout, aside from Faz deciding to take a routine catch on his knee and rolling around like he'd been shot ;)
The batting then kicked in; Nick and KC got us off to a steady start, with KC finding a 2nd, 3rd and previously unknown 4th gear as he compiled a nice 44. GT looked smooth for his 22, but when both fell with the score in the 80s, it was up to Rick and the Doc to rebuild. With 90 needed at around 5 an over, things looked ominous, but the pair made it look very easy, accelerating the rate constantly, with Rick ending on 47 not out from just 44 balls and Doc on 35 from 36 to cap a good day.
Back at the Meadows, the 2s managed to strike 226, thanks to a hundred partnership for the 8th wicket from Si Marsh (84 not out) and Ady (39 not out) - is this a club record one wonders? The top order had failed to fire, despite Ry Marsh hitting another promising 41. A total of this size looked good, especially with Matty Bradshaw striking early, but Westleigh are known as a very strong batting unit and got to the 227 target in quick fashion, with some 9 overs to spare. Sail took a couple of wickets, but as with the 1sts a lack of penetration makes it hard to contain. Still, a good batting effort in the end.
Sunday saw both sides in action again as the delayed cup 1st round finally arrived. The 1sts travelled to Lakeside and for 50 overs put in an extremely dominant display. Despite a steady start which saw us to 66-2 off 21 overs, the foundatiosn had been laid, and with Kieran repeating Saturday's excellent form for a well made 50, the foundations were laid. Doc looked in touch from ball 1, and with the returning Russ also looking to strike the ball, the pair smashed the ball to all parts. Doc was in full flow and moved from 50 to 100 in little time before falling in the same over as he completed his hundred. Kenny, Hayesy and Nick Fletcher then played good hands to see us to a superly unsurpassable 289-8.
Cue disaster. The seam bowling was something of a disaster with Doc unable to capture Saturday's form; we rotated the bowlers as much as possible but Lakeside were determined to hit everything in their half of the wicket and got off to a blistering start, with some positive strokes and outright slogs taking them into the 140s before 18 overs were complete - Doc and Nick had taken wickets but this didn't stop the flow one bit. The introduction of Russ finally brought some control; the big man put in one of the best spells he's bowled for the club in years, and when young Stephen was bowling in tandem, wickets started to fall. Indeed such was their control that we reduced the home side from 190-3 to 240-7 over a 12 over spell.
Unfortunately we then ran out of bowling options - anyone bowling above spin pace was being summarily despatched, and the 8th wicket put on 50 in little time to secure the game and a very dispiriting loss after such a great batting performance. On another day, who knows?
Back at base camp, the depleted 2s were up against it versus a very powerful Woodbank side. Rick Carr was unable to travel to the game at Littleborough and put in a good all round effort, with 41 and a couple of wickets, but wily veteran Bret Collins nabbed a hat-trick as we crumbled in the middle and late order; a total of 141 was never going to be enough, and despite a few scalps the visitors cruised home inside 25 overs.
Still, plenty of positives, especially on the batting front!
Lots of photos from Winton available in our 2016 GMCL image gallery.