FIRST TON AND 5 WICKET HAULS AS CHAMPS BEATEN
Despite another week of wet weather, the 1sts continued their impressive early season form with a comprehensive win against last year's champions Littleborough, courtesy of an unbeaten century from the Doc and 9 wickets from Asif and Big Marshy.
Match report from Watty follows ...
A second home fixture in as many saw Totts host Littleborough Lakeside, last years’ league champions. On a Saturday following a week of rain, clouds and more rain, the ground was in surprisingly “good” condition, much thanks to the work of KC, Clive and Dasher. After an inspection by both umpires, play got underway at 1.30pm promptly with Totts being put into bat after skipper Asif lost the toss. Openers KC and Watty were tentatively playing each ball as no one was quite sure how the wicket would play; Watty got off the mark with a pull to the estate side for 4 before he rushed through a shot a few overs after, top edging horribly to Intiaz at cover off the bowling of Qurban.
With the score on 5-1, Paul made his way out to the crease and, despite looking a little rusty after a thumb injury kept him away from nets, started to look settled and accomplished; reaching the 30’s relatively quickly, before KC was caught behind for 11 to be the first of Shah’s 3-48. When Boris entered the fray, he proved to the be perfect foil for Paul; defending well and frustrating the Lakeside bowlers whilst Paul really punished the bad balls; playing particularly strongly off his legs and scoring boundaries freely. After a period of stability (and some foul looking clouds blowing harmlessly over), Heighway struck to remove Boris leg before for a hard-earned 15, introducing big Marshy to the crease. Despite not having held a cricket bat since being hungover (half cut) in Benidorm, big Si looked immediately at home. He really started to pull the Lakeside attack apart with a barrage of boundaries (including a six which landed just short of the lines).
With the run rate really ramping up, Paul approaching 100 and Marshy looking set for a big score, an abrupt end came to the partnership when Si was adjudged out LBW to the Shahs’ left arm for 31. Shahs’ wicket taking for the afternoon wasn’t quite finished yet; Nick Marsh was his final victim after a quick-fire 13. When skipper Asif got to the crease, Paul had passed the magic 100 mark to rapturous applause from his team mates and congratulatory remarks from the Lakeside players, Asif had the final say against the bowling of Imitiaz and Fawad; dispatching their bowling to all parts and he finished on 14 not out, with Paul unbeaten on 113. The final four overs of the innings went for 46 runs, with 100 being scored in the last 10. Top work to the batsmen for setting a challenging target on suspect wicket.
The Lakeside innings started after a delightful curry courtesy of the skipper and the wicket being swept and repaired; Paul’s opening spell from “his” end was cut short into the third over when he pulled up injured, the mantle fell to big Marsh and the skipper who bowled 32 out of the 39 overs. After Holland and Shah looked accomplished for a good few overs, catches for Boris and Asif were followed by Marshy trapped Imitiaz LBW and the skipper taking S. Shah’s off stump, leaving Lakeside rocking at 4 down. Some sharp work behind the stumps from Clive really minimised the extras column and there seemed to be a real desire to win from the fielders; singles were kept to a minimum and it was only the aggressive shotplay off Fawad and Hafeez that forged a meaningful partnership, adding 67 between them but not without risk.
Fawad blazed one past a diving Watty at Mid On and there was an LB shout which may well have been given on another day early on in his innings. Hafeez had a lucky escape as well, again Watty was scampering forward in the Cow corner area and he couldn’t quite hold on to a diving effort. Amends were made shortly after though when Marshy bowled Qurban and a superb piece of fielding off Craig Parky saw Ilyass run over – the innings was wrapped when Asif took the wicket of Khan to round off his 4-50, and Marshy claimed his fifth scalp when he closed the innings by bowling Heighway. Marshy finished on 5-40 off 17 and, two excellent contributions from him and Paul saw Totts secure their second win of the season, beating Lakeside by 72 runs.
A league/cup double header follows this weekend where the lads will be keen to kick on to this impressive start to their season!