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Match Report

Sat 20 Apr 2013

Div 2

Saxton 186/5 (6) beat South Milford 155 all out (1)

'Blue skies and blazing sun, a scene usually more associated with the second week in September greeted the opening day of the 2013 Cricket season. The feeling of surrealness only added to by the public announcement two days previously that running water had finally reached Saxton, with showers subsequently available for the first time since the pre-Blitz years.

Castle Dennison looked resplendent as the players arrived for the local derby against South Milford, the majority arriving on or before 1pm, a previously unknown phenomenon. Strange days indeed in the picturesque little hamlet located between Leeds and York. Much credit must be given to everyone involved with the work that's gone on over the last few years to make the ground and pavillion look the way it does. Any stranger turning up for the first time would be immediately convinced tnat they had walked into the home of Bradford or Central Yorkshire Premier League club. That is of course, until the action on the field got underway.

There had been several changes to playing personnel in the off season too, with Steve Parker-Harrison and Wraggy departing to Church Fenton, the former after reaching agreement with his new club for supplementary funding for on field Anger Management lessons, the latter on the promise that half his match fee every week would be donated to the UK Bulimia Society. Rory Coe had also chosen to try his luck at pastures new, with Tadcaster making an offer that the Wetherby League Division 2 side could not refuse......a used curtain for the aforementioned showers. Saxton were pleased though to welcome back Jamie Winter after two years away competing at the Honbasho in Japan.

The Potter era started in familiar style with a lost toss, although not surprising after John had spent several years being nurtured in this aspect by the previous captain, Steve Hills. Clearly an issue with technique. So Saxton somewhat surprisingly put into bat on a flat, dry and slightly low bouncing wicket. Usually when the home side bat anything is possible, so it was pleasing to see the new and former captains starting to build a very solid opening stance, in the process nulifying both the Milford attack and new ball. Captain Potter finally departed for 25 courtesy of a leading edge which was well held by impressive young spinner. Much expectation heralded Jamie W's return to the crease, expectation that lasted all of 14 seconds thanks for a sharp piece of stumping by Paul Ebden, a man somewhat envied by the home team stumper who can only admire and curse in equal measure at the hand speed and co-ordination demonstrated on a yearly basis. In previous years a first baller would have resulted in tears, bat throwing and the writing of obituaries, but a now more mature and grounded Jamie expressed only relief at being so quickly reunited with his 7th protein shake of the day. In came Denno, who despite a promising start soon became distracted by the thought of planning permission for a helicopter strip and subsequently provided the Milford tweaker with a well deserved third wicket. Many a time the loss of quick wickets has seen the home side tumble like a pack of cards, but on this occasion Saxton stuck to their task more grittily, with the returning Steve Hutton providing admirable support for Hills with a useful contribution of 24, despite playing and missing at 17 of his first 18 balls.

The star of the show was undoubtedly Steve though, combining an array of savage pulls with elegant off side shots, on his way to a fluent and impressive 89, belying his one off season net session. The main support came at the other end from erstwhile veteran all rounder DC and the Danny Walsh, a man transformed thanks to some winter gym sessions and days spent practising in the back garden. A man who has really made the most of unemployment and developed into role model for all those currently collecting Job Seekers Allowance. Honourable mentions also to Jamie Baxter for once again demonstrating his ridiculous levels of speed to run a 2 with the ball not leaving the square, and Gilbo Jnr for managing to leave his bedroom and X Box for the first time since September to turn out for Saxton. The more exposure to daylight the young man gets, the better the performances we should hopefully see.

So a final and competitive total of 186-7 and a bonus in the fact that Saxton were able to bat out their full compliment of 45 overs. A day of increasig rarities.

After a pleasant tea viewing highlights of the 2009 Ashes on the newly installled 68 inch plasma TV in the pavillion (how many clubs can boast that), the home side set out to defend their score against a very strong looking South Milford batting line, which included Andrew Radi, a man whose average over the years against Saxton must be even higher than the number of times he fastens his gloves during the course of an innings. One of a number of dangermen though that could win a game single- handedly for the away team.

The first 20 overs of the Milford reply however very much mirrored the home team's innings, with quick scoring quite difficult. Much credit for this must go to the new ball duo of DC, who once again rolled back the years with a successive and painstakingly economic12 over spell, and the ever vocal newly appointed Registration Fee and Social Media Secretary Dan Hewer. Both of whom picked up deserved and important wickets.

So the game somewhat on a knife edge. Milford 70-2 and with a long batting order. Sink or swim for Saxton, and usually these situations result in both being sides sat in the Greyhound within the hour, the away team with 6 points in the bag. Once again though, Saxton were made of sterner stuff, the introduction of grunting pacemen Walsh bringing about the removal of the previously stoic Milford opener for a useful 30 odd, well held by Hills on the boundary, and thanks to a cracking yorker, Stuart Morley, who was clearly missing his ongoing rivalry with Saxton 'hardman', Wraggy.

With skipper Potter standing up to be counted at the other end, taking a well deserved 4-42, including the wickets of the ever dangerous Paul Ebden, and previously mentioned Radi, Saxton were suddenly in control of the game. And that despite some calamitous attempts at fielding, most noticeably from Baxter who decided to dive over a ball going straight at him, Walsh, with his mind firmly on upcoming Giro day in attempting to make a catch at third man, and Sowerby with a clumsy effort to take a ball down the legside which resulted in a sore pinky.

In the end it didnt matter though, with man of the day Hills coming on to take the 2 final wickets, big hitting Winspear held calmly by DC on the long-on boundary, and last man Kain trapped in front.

For the first time in a number of years Saxton had won an opening day fixture, something even more impressive considering the quality of oppostion, who despite this setback look a very strong side this season. A well deserved pint (and 'Big' Apple for Denno) at the Greyhound was enjoyed by all. The Potter regime starting off in terrific fasion. Well done everybody, a fantastic effort.

Roll on next week's trip to Kirk Hammerton, where a warm welcome will once again no doubt be bestowed upon the Match Reporter'.

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