After a couple of week's sabbatical at the bottom of several pint glasses and 3 as of yet unidentified Death threats, the unofficial Reporter is back.
A big day for Saxton on the back of an interesting defeat against Kirk Hammerton, an agonising tear-inducing one a week later against Thorner, and a Tiananmen Square style massacre at East Keswick, 6 points were a must in the fight against relegation. With Gareth away at the Rugby (see left below) and new recruit Blandford 'Dog Boy' Hawkins (seen relaxing below) also out, Rory 'mum has got it going on' Coe and Denno (pictured recently on the way to work) came in to a side still reeling from the relevation that John 'Alex Higgins' Potter spent his first Friday since the age of 6 out of the Greyhound. A special thanks must also go to Harey, still unfit to return to action due to his unspecified repetitive strain wrist injury, for scoring.
With everyone changed and ready to go without the need for the usual 1.29pm reminder from the Umpires to the 5 Saxton players in the changing room, Steve completed the formalities of losing the toss, and Saxton were asked to make use of a track badly savaged by several thousand hungry worms.
Half an hour later and there was a strange sense of deja vu going around the away team dressing room....;.incidentally the best facilities seen so far this season.....almost Groundhog day in fact, with yet another top order collapse, including the skipper to the first ball of the game (£10 fine according to Lennox), Dave B bowled by the miserly Oulton opener, Steve H, fresh from his first Saxton 100 last week in 'noddy cricket' (Gareth '4 wives' Bottomley - May 2009) LBW to a full one, Matt B deceived by a well disguised slower one, and Jamie 'Nookie' Winter caught at Mid-On, still devastated at losing 6 hours of cricketing footage of himself.
43 for 5 and another early start in the Thin Dog looked on the cards. However, the Oulton bowlers hadn't counted on the obdurate John Potter, and the Saxton lower middle order. Battling against both tight line and length bowling, and cold turkey syndrome, Potter showed both great patience and grit, playing with a high level of discipline in order to try rescue the away side's innings. Firstly, supported by a strangely patient Smokie with 21 and the new experience of playing out a maiden over for the first time in 14 years of cricket, Saxton slowly started to rebuild things. Although the partnership of 40 odd was ended via a run out for a single that even Usain Bolt would have struggled to make, the momentum didn't abate, thanks to a bludegeoning innings from the bat of Mr Dennison. Looking every inch a potential future First Team opener, Chris hit 34 valuable runs with a mixture of good looking cricket shots and some hefty Baseball style thumps.....one particular huge 6 only found some hours later in a garden just south of Glossop. Potter finally fell soon after Denno courtesy of a slightly dubious LBW, after a fantastic 'team' knock, but this didnt prevent Saxton from finishing on a respectable 162-9 thanks to yet another important contribution of 31 not out from Saxton's own Freddie Flintoff....minus gammy knee and pedalo...DC, with assistance at the other end from both Oringe and Rory.
Maybe 20 runs short of what we would have aimed for on a pitch giving less assistance to the bowlers than expected, but certainly a lot more positive an outcome in comparison to what it could have been. Aided by some lovely teas and conversation about who's dressing up as what on the last day of the season, there was a mood of optimism as the way side took to the field to try restrict Oulton's response.
The next 2 hours was perhaps the most exciting of the season so far, with several swings and changes of momentum, and a variety of different emotions for everyone involved.
The first 7 overs went to Oulton with the openers making a solid start to reach 30-odd for none. Enter the still shaking JP.....6 balls later and the picture had changed courtesty of a great swinging delivery which beat the left hander all ends up and a smart return catch off possibly his worst ball of the day. For the next half hour Saxton remained in control, and things were looking good....with 2 further wickets for DC....one from his universally renowned slower ball and the other a well taken catch at mid on from the wizard of the moment.
And then, as has happened more than once things season, things turned in favour of the opponents with the dangerous Hayden and determined number 6 batsmen takin control of proceedings to put on a quick fire partnership of 70 and move Oulton within touching distance of victory.
After looking at Saxton's record in tight games, Ladbrokes would have been offering long odds on the last 6 Oulton wickets going down for 17 runs. However, for once the odds were proved wrong, with much credit going to both the returning Rory and Dave C coming back for a second spell. First ball from Coe brought a mis-timed edge from Hayden, caught brilliantly by a diving Jeff. One dangerman gone. 2 overs later, a thin edge to one which bounced a bit was just snaffled behind by Smoke and Oulton were 6 down. And it wasnt long before young Coe inflicted what would prove to be fatal damage to the Oulton response, with the previously obdurate number 6 the victim of a fantastic swinging yorker. 7 down and still 30 runs needed. We'd been here before and thrown it away. This time there was no repeat. 3 for 6 for Rory in his best display of the season....couldnt have picked a better game to save it for...well done.
2 wides from the first 2 balls of DC's over lured the batters into a fall sense of security....as 5 minutes later Oulton were 9 down....the first wicket again brought about by the infamous slower ball and the second by the safe hands of Oringe at point.
Next over and the onset of jubilant away team celebrations as Crampo (5-38) lured the number 11 batter into a mis-timed drive which was once again well held by Oringe, despite the distraction of the already stampeding skipper as the ball approached his hands.
6 points, no dropped catches....yes you read correctly, a great fightback and solid all round team performance when it most mattered. Well done everybody. Survival is now in our hands, and 2 more efforts like this and we will have nothing to worry about. It must be said what an enjoyable game it was to be involved in, played in an excellent spirit (my recent anger management classes are really taking effect). Good luck to Oulton next year for their new challenge in the Central Yorkshire League.
Next up South Milford....a revenge mission and more importantly a massive game. 6 points and other results in our favour and we could be safe by 8pm on Saturday night....which would make the 12 pints and Lamb Balti's taste even better.
Its ours if we want it boys. Lets make it a day and night to remember.'