17th July 2010
Saxton (6) v Whixley (1)
Saxton won by 46 runs
Saxton 189 all out
Whixley 143 all out
After a couple of very busy and eventful weeks, both on and off the field, Saxton returned to action at the Oval against a Whixley side on a similar run of woeful recent form.
With the Wookie still broken (and cursing the NHS) in returned Jimmy Deane after missing 2 games because of what can only be described as nonsense and bureaucracy of the highest order. Smokey (pictured below) also came back into the fold after recovering from his damaging collision with Harry's 7 stone frame, along with Potter after 2 weeks of, no doubt, sheer hell in the tropical paradise of the Dominican Republic.
With everybody unbelievably on time, including Saxton's version of Ian Poulter (minus the outrageous clothing and golfing ability), Steve Harrison, and the Tea Boy, DC, it was left to Steve to have a stroll out to the middle to find out what the opposition fancied doing first. The answer being to have a bowl.
With regular opener Gareth watching from the sidelines with his grandchildren, although having to be reminded that they were actually children rather than Duncans by Kate who looked rather horrified at the sight of the aforementioned throwing the ball in the air and asking them to 'fetch', young Rory was promoted to the top of the order.
Unfortunately, Rory's response was to attempt to try pad up a straight one, which gave stand-in umpire Hutton, fresh from his first visit to the Saxton toilet, no choice but to raise the finger. Worse was to follow an over or 2 later with JP managing to get his glove stuck in his pad at the same time as the ball managed to find its way onto his middle stump. 14 for 2 and yet another batting collapse surely on its way. The 2 Steve's had other ideas however, displaying plenty of guts and obdurance, although in the process sending even the Horse in the next field to sleep, in an, erm, patient but much needed partnership. 34 for 2 after 18 overs. Fouundations of innings back in place, but acceleration now required.
And Saxton weren't to be let down, with both batters starting to unleash an array of attacking strokes, Captain Hills launching one way out of the ground off his legs, and Harrison hitting a couple of lovely drives to the boundary, along with 2 very fine and delicate late cuts, much to the near vocal delight of Smokey....who then remembered he was actually umpiring.
The Skipper finally fell for 42, and although followed next ball by DC, victim of an unseen full toss (the legality of the delivery still being discussed hours later in the Thin Dog), Saxton were back in the game and back with a reasonable chance of posting a competitive total on a track which offered more to bowlers than it has in recent weeks. Wraggy (captured below at Sunday Mass), still going strong despite recently completing 7 year's on hunger strike, managed to provide good support to Steve for 5 overs, before being dubiously given out LBW by best friend Coe, whose finger seemed to reach elevation before the bowler had had chance to appeal.
Still Steve kicked on, passing the half century (another £10 for the drinking pot - well done mate) in the process, and the home side were able to increase the run rate in the last 12 overs, with the aforementioned receiving useful assistance from Steve Hutton, Jimmy and Smokey, in order to take the total up to a challenging 189 after 44 overs and 2 balls, Oringe the last man to fall courtesy of a sharp piece of wicketkeeping. No doubt about with the star of the show though with Mr Harrison receiving warm applause, and the odd 'about time' after an excellent innings of 77.
After an excellent tea courtesy of the Crampton finally, Saxton went out in determined mood, looking for a long overdue and much needed 6 points. With Whixley in the same boat, a very interesting second half of the contest lay ahead.
Although the Whixley openers managed to survive the first 9 or 10 overs with only a couple of scares and a big shout for both caught behind and LBW in the same ball, they were never able to break free of the shackles thanks to tight and controlled bowling from the Mitchell Brother look alikes. It was no surprise when lolloping Labrador tempted dangerman Pat into playing at one which just moved away at the last minute, with the subsequent edged snapped up behind the stumps.
For the next 10 overs it became the Coe show, although credit must also go to the returning Jimmy, along with the 2 opening bowlers who bowled with a great measure of control to continually tie the Whixley batters down. However, it was Rory who provided the much needed wickets, in the process even managing to abstain from his usual weekly barrage of ridiculous comments and 'attempts' at humour. The first coming via a fine diving catch from the only man who weighs less than the bowler, the next 2 both bowled, and the final one a regulation edge to the once again battered and bruised Smokey behind the stumps. 4 for 24 from 7 overs, a fantastic effort from the already happy young man, whose 2nd umpiring stint had earned him 2 pints from Duncan, who wanted to spend extra time chasing his tail behind the pavillion.
With Jimmy and DC both chipping in with a wicket a piece from the other hand, it was more a question of whether Whixley would be able to bat out the overs to deny the home side the full quota of points, rather than actually getting anywhere near reaching the required total. As usual however Saxton didnt make it easy for themselves in the field, with Duncan, usually one of the safest hands in the club, displaying butter paws of the highest order in the process of dropping 2 very simple chances in the space of 3 balls (the 2nd one rather cruelly left to the already sulking spaniel by the Skipper and the Wicketkeeper who looked at other and shook their heads in unison as they saw the ball go up). Other chances, albeit more difficult ones fell to Potter who was unable to cling on one handed, with Wraggy despite taking another sharp diving chance off Steve Harrison to bring the 8th wicket, also managing to drop his easiest chance of the day on the boundary. A word must be said though for poor Stephen, who was left on numerous occasions to pit his 9lb frame against the might of the sightscreen when the bowlers chose to come round the wicket.
Still, despite the fielding aberations, Saxton for once never really looked like throwing a winnable game away, with the final 2 wickets coming via an excellent Hawkins yorker, and an accurate piece of fielding from Steve Hutton.
6 valuable points, some positive performances, no Hospital visits, Denno getting even closer to relegating Gareth to the 2nd team (although alternative transport plans need to be made first) and a much nicer taste to the post match pint after a number of disapponting weeks. Now lets not undo all that hard work against bottom of the table Cross Gates next week. And lets also not underestimate them.
See you next week.
Oh and Wraggy I hope your sticking to the nutrional plan and had that breakfast Kebab on Sunday.
The Wheelie Bin