1STS EASE INTO CUP SEMIS AFTER SHAMBLES IN THE SATURDAY SUN
It was a weekend of decidedly mixed fortunates for the Totts 1st team, a dreadful defeat at local rivals ELPM on Saturday followed by a highly impressive and comprehensive 10 wicket win against Blackley in the cup quarter finals.
Saturday's troubles started as early as the toss. In temperatures topping 30 degrees, Nelly sadly lost and we were asked to field. Within minutes the heat was starting to tell; despite some impressive early bowling, there was just one early wicket to show, dangerman Wade chipping Doc to Marshy at mid off. Number 3 Partington was playing some booming shots, and just as he started to get going there was a let off, with Big Bird unable to get under a steepling skier. A run out chance was also spurned, and all of a sudden the Croft Lane side had moved to a dangerous looking 100-2. The introduction of Asif brought about a seachange, however; despite the soaring heat and the wilting fielders, he prodicedan impressive spell of 6-26 to put Totts right back in the game. Despite some late hitting from the younger Wade brother, the final total of 191 was probably no more than average on a small gropund, good wicket and fast outfield.
However, the effects of the heat were showing, and Totts top order succumbed to a series of poor shots; CDO chased a wide one, Flash hit a 4 ball straight to cover, Doc P followed a pair of lovely drives with a ghastly hoick to midwicket and then Marshy could have picked anywhere on the legside to hit a short ball, only succeeding in clobbering it to a stunned square leg. Basher Barrett gave us brief hope with an excellent 40, a series of lovely drives mixed in with some on-pitch banter with an increasingly noisy Millers side. Unfortunately his demise ended the game as a contest, with a final total of 131 dreadfully poor. Well played Millers, you fought harder on the day!
With several players struggling after Saturday's efforts, it was a weary Totts team that once again was forced to field first in Sunday's cup tie. Paul and Asif produced a very good opening burst to keep the big hitting visitors to just 23-1 from the first 10 overs. The innings started to gain momentum thereafter; as the crowd increased, so did the shot making, and after a bad 5 over spell for the bowlers in which 50 runs were conceded, Blackley had reached a dangerous looking 110-3. Enter Ashley for his first set of heroics. Repeating Asif's fine effort from Saturday, Flash mowed down 6 of the Blackley batsmen - all clean bowled - and the visitors were kept to a manageable 171-9 in their 40 overs.
With the catastrophic collapse of Saturday fresh in our minds, a good start was needed, and thankfully the rejuvenated Ash, fresh off a hot bowling spell, and the CDO, fresh off 40 overs of unfamiliar wicket keeping, did just that - and more. A flurry of early boundaries eased the nerves, and before we knew it, 50 was up, then 60, 70, 80 ... Ash brough up his half century with a monstrous hit over cover, and from that point on it was really just a matter of time. With Kieran playin a skilful supporting role (and cutting loose when the bad ball came down), the pair eased past the century mark with relative ease. CDo completed his 50 just before Ash brought up his 100 with another fine shot, and that was it, 174-0 and a 10 wicket win in the balmy heat.
A highly satisfying end to a very long and hot weekend - the weary faces after the game showed just how much two matches took out of the side. Cup semis here we come!