What a difference a week makes!
Will Baker, who scored 20* and took 3 for 36 for our 3rd XI
From 1 win in 3 games last weekend, our senior teams did the clean sweep on Saturday with all 4 sides winning. Which given the context of us fielding what must be the lowest cumulative average age sides in our history, was pretty satisfying. Of the 44 players in action, 16 were under the age of 20. (Of that 16, 15 are either current members of or graduates of our junior system). This is especially important as we are all facing up to the fact that this year availability is going to be a real challenge, as delayed holidays/weddings/parties are going to come at us from every angle. Fingers crossed that our strength in depth can get us through. Players - please let your skippers know your availability as far ahead as possible!
Our 2nd and 4th XIs had reasonably similar matches, with both Baildon bowling attacks dismissing their opposition for less than a hundred. The second team bowling unit had a very fair approach, with each of the 5 bowlers used taking 2 wickets a piece, whereas the standout bowler for the fourth team was Leela Modhwadia (3-14). Darren Wilson (24*) held his team together in the pursuit of Great Preston’s 85 and Fran Raper (50*) did the same for the fours in overhauling Cookridge’s total.
Game of the day took place at the Belmont Superdome where our 3rd XI came up against one of last year’s relegated ‘A’ division sides, Roundhay (who were previously known as Bradford Moor). After overnight rain had slightly softened the previously rock hard square, Dave Hodgson was left with a 50/50 call upon winning the toss. Choosing to bat first he backed his batters to post a challenging total and at 145-8 with 8 overs to go, it did not look likely. Earlier in the innings, Sam Holmes had again been the standout, stroking his way to well-paced 58, before a clatter of middle order wickets left Louis Turner and Will Baker with the arduous task of trying to get us up to 175 and maximum batting points. The fact that they did not only that but got us up to 188 in the face of the best bowling we’ve come across this year, speaks wonders of their character. Still, at half-time the team knew that our score was only par in conditions that were improving for the batters and looking ominous for the bowling side. Things got even worse when Louis Turner had to leave the field after a flying edge deflected into his face at first slip. Were it not for him managing to get his hand partly in the way, he could have come away with something much worse than the smashed lip he ended up with (Paul Hannam still chalked it up as a drop in his expected wickets analysis). So with Louis off the field, we were one bowler short after already being without HBD, Mini and Capper from the previous week. At 99 for 2 at drinks the game looked to be all but done, before Paul Hannam finally struck in his last over of 12 off the reel which gave us the break we were looking for. From that moment on, we started to edge our way back into the game with a regular flow of wickets, Tawquir Ahmed (4 for 39) and Will Baker (3 for 36) combined to really put the pressure back onto Roundhay. After Will finished his allotted spell, Lucas Shaw stepped up at the most crucial point, along with Tawseef Ahmed and made sure that Roundhay were all out in the last over, 18 runs short. An amazing turnaround from a team containing 5 under 20 year olds. Will Baker’s return with ball and bat marks him out as one to watch for the future (I still can’t believe I didn’t pick him in my fantasy team!).
After last Sunday’s Priestley Cup tie was conceded by Wrenthorpe, ironically our 1st XI got a second chance to take on the Wakefield side in the league just a few days later. This time Wrenthorpe did put 11 players out, including recently departed Usman Shakir. Skipper Dwayne Heke no doubt looking for a chance to see new signing Abdullah Khan in action, chose to bowl first. Abdullah, who has just joined us from Huddersfield League side Rastrick, did not disappoint, taking 2 for 34 and immediately striking up a natural partnership with Umar Zahoor (3 for 49) giving us the cutting edge our bowling attack has been striving for. After Dwayne and Kev Mcdermott pegged back the scoring rate in the middle overs, Ben Grimmitt popped up on a rare break from school cricket to mop up the tail with 3 for 34. Our top 3 then ensured that Wrenthorpe did not get a chance to put any pressure on, passing the opposition’s 202 for the loss of only 2 wickets, with 5 overs remaining. Kev top scored with 89, narrowly missing out on the chance to score his second century of the season. He was ably assisted by Dwayne (36) and Jonny Reynolds (59*). Kev and Jonny put on 133 for the second wicket.
If anyone fancies watching a bit of mid-week cricket then get yourself up to Jenny Lane tomorrow evening (Tuesday) for a clash of the titans as Baildon’s cricket and rugby teams go head to head in a t20 challenge game. The bar will be open all evening so come along for what should be a fairly even contest. However, I'm not sure the same will be said when we take on the rugby club in a game of touch rugby later in the season (can rain stop play in rugby...?). Then the gates are open again the following evening as our under 18’s welcome Thackley to Jenny Lane as they hope to keep their winning run going.