Sat 7th August 2010
Bramhope (0) v Saxton (6)
Saxton won by 89 runs
Saxton 228/9 (Steven Harrison 77, Martin Gilks 5/43)
Bramhope 139 all out (David Gilks 46)
After last week's debacle against Bilton, Saxton travelled across Leeds to Bramhope in the hope of a much improved performance against the 4th placed side, who they had come close to beating in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season. Changes to the line up saw the portly pouch Duncan Hawkins, Steve Hutton fresh from a weekend in a tent, and Mat Lennox, fresh from another visit to the STD clinic, return in place of the holidaying Matt Ball (filling in for Donald Duck temporarily at Euro Disney), Wraggy (moonlighting as a Chopstick in a Chinese Restaurant in Tenerife), and Harry Fletcher (moonlighting as a Waiter at the same Restaurant. With everyone arriving relatively early, including messrs Harrison, Crampton and Borrowdale, the pre match conversation centred around Lennox's crotch, random Nipples, and the various ideas banded round for the end of season fancy dress day, with a sample of the costumes already lined up shown below:
We'll leave it until 11th September to reveal which self respecting male advised he would be coming as Peggy Mitchell.
Anyway to the game, and after managing to win the last 3 tosses, the Skipper was back to his usual premature (calling obviously) ways and Saxton were asked to make use of a pitch that appeared that it could be somewhat two paced and offer something for the bowlers. This was evidenced in a difficult opening spell for the away side, with the Skipper only finding the Gully fielder with an outside edge in around the 7th over, to give Bramhope their first wicket. In walked Oringe determined to prove that he hadnt spent 3 weeks of intensive training time at Chez Buck after last week's erm, rather patient innings. And so he did, in partnership with an in form Steve Harrison, who looked to dominate the Bramhope bowlers from the off, displaying solid technique with some excellent cricket strokes, particularly a range of cover and on drives which came directly out of the proverbial textbook. With Oringe showing a mixture of resolute defence and 4 cracking straight drives, the final one prompting the Skipper to ask 'where the hell have they come from', the score soon shot up to 100 for 1 at the drinks breaks. An excellent partnership on a not that easy track and an excellent platform for Saxton to build on.
Even though Chris was unable to add to his score, departing LBW 3rd ball after the resumption and then promptly declaring that he would never have a drink again should he be batting at that point (although it would to be interesting to see if that vow still stands if someone brings out a Gin after the 22nd over if he is still at the crease), it all still looked positive for the batting team, with Steve Hutton, in typical fashion, immediately launching into the offensive with some lusty blows. This is Saxton however, a team that collapses more often than the Bangladeshi national flood defense system. And once again we didn't fail to disappoint. First to go the aforementioned Steve Hutton caught on the Midwicket boundary, soon followed by Alex H, given LBW after managing to get his bat stuck in his pad in a similar manner to a Potter dismissal earlier in the season, and then Jamie Winter, clean bowled, sensibly trying to slog sweep his 3rd ball. Although astutely declaring afterwards that it would have gone for 6 if he'd connected (maybe time for the return of the fines system). 3 wickets in the space of a couple of overs, and unfortunately soon to be 4, despite Steve Harrison's warning to Rory that he would receive a cricket bat round his head if he got out in the same way as the previous batsman. A lot of credit must go to the Bramhope fielder for Rory's 2nd consecutive Run Out though, with an extremely sharp and accurate return just seeing young Coe short of this crease.
6 down now and lots of work to do with the score still only on 150. Despite suffering severe vertigo after being promoted to the lofty heights of number 8, Dog Boy helped Steve to steady the ship, batting sensibly but positively, including one fantastic 6, to take the score along. Unfortunately, the partnership wasn't quite able to kick on with Duncan eventually missing a straight one, and Steve, after an excellent innings of 77, including a 6 to bring up his half century which managed to find the bonnet of his own car, the victim of a stunning and surprising (his own) catch behind by the keeper. Around 180 on the board, but still more runs needed after last seasons 470 run draw at the same ground. Enter Lennox, much to the trepidation of his own team. However, just like Oringe before him, Mat managed to shock doubters, blocking 4 successive balls, before taking the the score over the 200 mark with a couple of big hits, in partnership with DC who was keeping the run rate going with a sensible knock at the other hand. Although Lennox finally succumbed to the opposition bowling and his chronic itch, Saxton were able to reach a challenging 228 with Smokey managing to find the middle of his bat for the first time since mid May, in smashing 20 off the final over, including one (biased possibly) rather large 6 into a nearby field. An up and down performance, with some highs and lows but 45 overs completed and a very competitive score registered, on a track, which although slow, offered plenty of assistance.
After Teas and conversation about the first football games of the season, as well as the usual mockery, at the usual people's expenses (Harry - Rory and Jamie want you back ASAP), Saxton took the field confident of defending the total they had set, even more so in the light of the fact that the home side only had 10 men out on duty. Only 9 wickets needed, but not the early breakthrough, with the Bramhope batters able to bat confidently and positively to reach 50 odd after the the first 14 overs. Chances were offered however, with the normally safe DC (unlike Lennox, although in a different context) visibly irritated not to cling onto a sharp caught and bowled, and Oringe unable to snaffle up a much simpler chance thanks in the main to being impeded by a large Birch tree some 60 yards away. So it was no real shock when the first wicket finally fell, although more of a surprise that it came via a catch, and an excellently judged one at that from Steve Harrison, off the bowling of Hawkins, to remove the Bramhope Skipper and dangerman. The introduction of Rory only helped matters, with the young Rudolph Nureyev wannabe quickly removing the number 3 batsmen LBW, and then having the previously obdurate opener caught behind by Smokey, delighted to finally take a catch at this ground after last year's fun and games.
Although runs were scored steadily on a ground that is notoriously hard to defend, Saxton always appeared to be in control, restricting the home side to flurries, with wickets crucially falling on a regular basis. 2 of which came from the Skipper in an impressive display of Off Spin bowling, with the batsmen often bamboozled by the grip and turn, 1 courtesy of an excellent catch from Lennox, redeeming himself after an earlier drop, and the other well held, although somewhat nonchenantly on the Long Off boundary by Steve Harrison. With another falling to Rory at the other end, the score stood on 120 for 6 after 29 overs, with surely the only thing preventing Saxton taking another much needed 6 points being the weather, with the threatening clouds circling dangerously overhead.
And such was the case, with the teams taken off the field shortly after. It was touch and go as to whether they would actually return, even after the ceasation of the downpour, with the pitch rather boggy and the wind refusing to come out to help aid the drying up process. Something also not helped by a couple of members of the home side deciding to have an impromptu game of hide and seek with the sawdust, despite both the away side and the Umpires wanting to get back out onto the field.
Thankfully after an hour's break, and the Bramhope number 7 batsmen kindly 'retrieving' the sawdust, the game was able to recommence, with the away side in determined mood. An early chance came in the 2nd over back in play with Steve Harrison unable to cling onto a difficult running chance with a ball that was by now greasier than some of Gareth's attempted chat up lines. However, Saxton weren't to be denied, and neither was the aforementioned Steve, taking 3 wickets for 3 runs to cap a man of the match performance, despite coming off a 3 pace run up (still sharper than the opening pair) in light of the conditions. 2 bowled, one via an excellent Leg stump yorker, and the other courtesy of another brilliant catch by Matt, despite originally misjudging the line of the ball.
An important win, and an even more important six points. The performance, despite a middle order batting collapse and a couple of dropped catches, also a vast improvement on that of previous weeks. So onto the nearby Fox & Hounds for a celebratory jar, and some interesting debate, including Oringe's passionate description of his unrequited love for Cricket, as well as Steve Harrison, the Skipper starting discussions about next year's trip to Amsterdam and the carnage which will ensue with it, and Steve Harrison declaring that he was going out to drink heavily later that evening, with or without Claire. With Dog Boy contentedly chasing his tail in the background through it all.
Back home next week and a game against mid table Sicklinghall. Lets keep this level up and make it 4 wins from 5.
And good luck this week to the Skipper and Shelley in light of the possible apppearance of young Mushtaq-Ul Hills.