The supposed double weekend started early for one member of the team, namely the Wookie who spent an enjoyable Friday evening shopping for Asparagus and Clotted Cream at his local Asda. A busy day all in all for Mr B who had also spent the duration of the afternoon at his Solicitors having his Last Will and Testimony redrafted in advance of the upcoming 2 games in 24 hours, and in his accordance with his rapidly deteriating physical condition. Mrs B had also taken evasive action during the course of the day on learning that Smokey was staying over on Saturday night.
She moved out.
A perfect Satrurday and a belter of a track greeted the teams as they arrived at the Saxton Oval, with a huge, monumental shock soon to follow, a shock currently being recorded by members of the Guinness Book of Records administrators.
Steve won the toss for the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
After a little jig and celebratory dance, the skipper elected to make use of the batsmen friendly looking strip. And after 6 overs it looked a very good decision with the opening pair making a positive start with a mixture of excellent cricket shots and good running....the Wookie motivated by the Pork Pie strapped 6 inches in front of his eyeline (John Potter - 1.48pm Saturday 24th April 2010). Unfortunately, and as in the all too familiar fashion, wickets started to fall, with Steve H (15) the first to go courtesy of a very poor looking umpiring decision. Chris Dennison has Kim and the kids presence to thank that the Pavillion is still in one piece as on another day Mr Harrison may well have imploded in the same manner that Michael Douglas's character did in the film 'Falling Down'. He was soon followed by Gareth (15....runs that is..not wives), bowled playing down the wrong line, although he will tell you that he was the victim of a ball which pitched 8 foot outside leg and took the top of Off stump. With Jamie W falling a few overs later despite a promising start, Saxton were rocking somewhat at 60 for 3.
Unlike in previous games however the home teams middle order didnt fall like the proverbial pack of cards and instead rallied for the next 20 overs, in the main thanks to excellent knocks (40 and 38 respectively) from the skipper who looks in great shape (with the BAT) this year and a mature, come of age Rory, a completely different character since the recent loss of his virginity. Both left handers played a number of stylish shots, mixed with hard work and solid defence, with both looking as if big scores could be around the corner this season. Contributions were also made by Steve H (12), looking more relaxed after being banned from calling runs, DC (19) in the last few overs, and Smokey (15), despite pirouhetting like an uncordinated version of Jane Torvill in attempting to play the first ball from the impressively sharp young Kippax opening bowler. Credit must also be given to JP who guided the home side through with a sensible knock of 30 odd not out, ensuring the battters in the last 10 overs had a platform to attack from.
233 for 8 and 45 overs completed, respresented an excellent effort on a warm, muggy day. With a fantastic spread courtesy of Mrs B, including Salad much to Mr B's disgust, everybody was in good spirits (Oringe and Potter also boosted by the football result) as the home side set out to try take the 9 wickets (the 10th one having to score) required to gain a valuable 6 League points.
Unfortunately despite lots of enthusiasm and effort the early wickets didnt come on a pitch suited to positive strokeplay. Credit must got to the Kippax opener and number 3, who after the early retirement of Captain Andrew Radi, took the game to the home side with a partnership of 70 odd. This was finally broken thanks to a stunning yet incredibly nonchalant one handed catch from the skipper off the bowling of Harry, who struck again soon after removing the opener after a well made half century, again courtesy of the hands of Mr Hills. 2 down and a chance to Saxton to take control.
Despite tightening things up somewhat after the flying start, with good spells from Harry, JP and Steve Harrison, the away team never really ever fell too much behind the nine ball, with more solid partnerships following. Harry provided more hope with his third wicket courtesy of a stumping, thanks to a clever faster ball which nearly decieved Smokey as well as the batsmen. 100 still needed and Saxton in with a chance.
The still limping Kippax captain had other ideas though. In unison with the number 5 batsmen, Radi took the game to Saxton with some lusty hitting, never allowing the run rate to exceeed 7 an over on a batsmen's paradise of a pitch. Its very difficult to fault the bowling efforts with credit instead simply going to the batsmen who played excellenty in a pressurised situation.
Despite managing to give themselves a glimmer of hope with a run out after a sharp piece of fielding from Steve H, Kippax were able to continue to score at the required run rate and above, and eventually reached their target with 2 overs to spare.
A disapointing end for Saxton, but all in all a good all round performance, especially after last week's batting collapse, with plenty of positives to be taken. The game won by the opposition rather than lost by the home team.
Back to the Hound for a few pints of well deserved cold Ale, and the totting up of fines......only a meagre £5 reached this week. Come on boys get your fingers out.....even Gareth would struggle to find inebritation on that.
After Hillam couldnt raise a team for Sunday's Cup game and Saxton going through to the next round of the Cup by default (roll on Curtly Ambrose and First Division Shadwell................hmmmmmmm), everyone should be able to move on Monday (and hopefully Gareth still be with us) and more importantly be well rested for the away trip to Whixley next week.
A thought should also be spared for Mrs Hawkins who has left the organisation of her birthday celebrations next week in the none too trustworthy paws of her only son, Duncan. P*ss up in a Brewery seems to spring to mind.