The second half of the 2010 season started with a home game against top of the table Church Fenton, a team Saxton by all rights should have beaten in the corresponding fixture back in April. 'Should' being a word which 8 hours later would also be used to describe the day's events.
Into the team returned the portly Poodle Duncan Hawkins, fresh from his release from quarantine after his Las Vegas break, and Harry Fletcher, a late replacement for Jimmy Deane, although diplomatically we will refrain from commenting on the reasons for Jimmy's unavailability. All we will say is that I hope commo
n sense prevails in the next couple of weeks.
On a warm and windy day, the Fenton skipper unsurprisingly usurped Mr Hills in the pre match tossing competition, and Saxton were asked to take to the field, for the first time for a number of weeks, with Duncan and Rory given the new ball.
Both started well, bowling tightly and threateningly on a pitch that didn't offer too much. Although early wickets didn't come, the run rate was kept down with Saxton controlling the opening stages. 10 overs gone and Church Fenton only scoring at 3 an over. The introduction of DC soon changed that however, the wickets part that is, not the run rate, with Saxton's version of Haile Gebrselassie (as spotted by Gareth on a recent drive through Sherburn) claiming the wicket of the left handed opener courtesy of an LBW decision. Better was to follow a few overs later with Hawkins then clean bowling the Fenton number 3, and then dismissing key man Grogan for a patient 30 odd after he had survived an earlier chance with Steve Harrison unable to hold on to a 'bullet' between his testicles at Mid Off, courtesy of a ball that was reminiscent of Shane Warne's famous dismissal of Mike Gatting, pitching a foot outside off stump before coming back to take middle stump, much to the batsman's amazement. And even more so to the bowler's, who must be appluded for an excellent spell of 2 for 29 off 12 overs.
62 for 3 after 23 overs and Saxton in control. Although Church Fenton started to try up the run rate over the next 10 overs Saxton never allowed them to get away, with the dimissal of the previously obdurate number 5 batsmen, well held by Gareth at Cover off Harry F, only adding to the Home side's dominance. 105 for 4 with 15 overs to go, on a batsmen friendly track. So far so good. And it could have been even better but for an unfortunate collision between Smokey and Harry which resulted in a chance going begging and Smokey spending Sunday morning in the A&E Department of the LGI with the alcoholic bums fresh from Saturday nights meths session. The only surprise was that he didn't bump into Lennox in the waiting room.
Chruch Fenton had upped the pressure and impetus, with Patel and Mulla starting to score more freely, despite Saxton's best attempts with the ball. Thankfully, the home side didn't buckle, and Patel fell for 30 odd thanks for a great throw from the boundary from DC (I think - apologies if a case of mistaken identity) and Mulla going not long after, trapped in front by Steve Harrison for a quickfire 40. Two more wickets followed, one going to Steve H who managed to produce a tight closing spell despite the distraction in his eyeline as he ran up to bowl of a very large Wookie (a one armed Smokey now stood in the deep sulking) behind the stumps, to help restrict Church Fenton to under 200. The other courtesy of a fantastic direct hit from Steve Hutton (yes you heard right) in the deep.
191 for 7 after 45 overs. Perhaps 30 runs more than it was looking like at one stage but still an excellent effort on a good batting track. A big improvement all round with both ball and in the field.
So everyone in confident mood as Duncan's teas, which thankfully did not include Bones or Pedigree Chunks, were enjoyed. A mood that was only enhanced 15 overs later as Gareth and the Skipper combined to produce Saxton's hightest opening stand of the season. 14. Sorry 60 odd, with both looking accomplished and in control as they worked towards the Fenton total. Even when Steve fell for a well made 30, with Pinch Hitter DC following soon after, Saxton still pushed on with Steve Harrison providing excellent support for Gareth with a disciplined knock at the other end. 12 overs later, and Saxton in cruise control, and surely on the way to a much needed and well deserved victory. Or so it 'should' have been.
Gareth finally fell after a great innings of 77, perhaps tiredness being the biggest contributor after he had spent more time in the middle than he had for the first half of the season combined. Still 32 required, with 7 wickets and 11 overs left. Not a difficult task. However, this is Saxton we are talking about.
Unfortunately Steve H departed soon after nicking behind to the keeper, and thus the collapse ensued, with Jonty, Hutton, Oringe, Duncan, Rory (played on for the 2nd week in a row), and Harry all falling very cheaply. 11 to win with only Jamie and Smokey left, and with Church Fenton and quick bowler Patel on a roll after 5 quick wickets thanks to some fast and accurate bowling. Despite 3 runs added to the total, it was all over a few balls later with Patel claiming his 6th wicket, to spark dubilant scemes amongst the away side.
A game we 'should' have won. A game we couldn't believe we hadn't won, personified by the downcast and almost disbelieving atmosphere in the changing room, with Jamie even looking close to tears. A good job he didn't pass his test a few weeks previously, or I might be reporting a Saturday evening spot of road rage now.
Hard to take positives straight after an ending like that, but thats what we've got to to. And here they are:
a) Mrs Grogan's cakes
b) Gareth FINALLY scoring runs
c) Duncan FINALLY finding form with the ball
d) Oringe waking up before 12.55pm
c) Smokey getting battered by both ball and Harry
e) Performace Based Bonuses adding to the drinking pot in the form of Gareth's knock and 2 run outs and 2 catches
f) We competed unlike the previous week, and 'should' have won
g) There's 10 games to go and we've proved we are well capable of beating anyone in the league
h) It's a game and we all still enjoy playing - much better than spending Saturday afternoon in Ikea...or the Pet Shop
i) The Thin Dog sells really cheap, really strong Lager.
j) Ruchard (the umpire) needs to get off early next week so if we bowl second appeals for LBW are likely to be kindly looked upon
k) Whixley lost.
l) We are all now too old to have to sit through one of Mr Grogan Jnr's Cricket based PE lessons.
See you next week. Time to put it right boys. And I'm confident we will.
The one armed bandit.