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Match Report

Sat 11 May 2013

Division 2

Old Leos 116ao beat Saxton 97ao

'Saxton travelled to Alwoodley for the away game against Old Leo's with fond memories of last year's corresponding fixture still at the forefont of most players minds. Just a shame that the 45 degree heat wasnt replicated this time around.

Team changes saw skipper Potter return in place of Gilbo, who still appears to be trying to come to terms with getting up so early for the 1.30pm starting time. Saxton also welcomed livewire Hockey star, Chris Johnstone, complete with £12 bat into the fold for his debut. It was also great to see Mao Tse Fletcher returning to these shores from the rural Guandong Province, sorry Norwich, for his first game of 2013.

JP continued his excellent coc, coin even tossing form and sensibly elected to allow the home side first use of the wicket on a cold, blustery afternoon. And what an insightful choice that proved to be as early as the first ball, with Dan Hewer knocking over the opener's middle stump before the Wicketkeeper even had chance to put out his pre-match Benson & Hedges. And even better was to follow next over with DC, who had previously shocked his teammates by arriving in something other than Jeans for the first time since the advent of pre-decimilisation, doing the same at the other end, with the aid of a fantastic one handed catch at first slip by the skipper. A hat trick too for the veteran after 2 wickets in his last 2 balls last week, although thankfully no one actually remembered until after the event. 8-2. Were we really playing at Old Leo's.

A brief cameo from the left handed number 4 followed, but it wasnt to last long with that man Crampton doing the damage once again with a clever off-cutter. Potter, still grieving the retirement of Sir Alex, replaced Dan from the other, and promptly took out his emotion on the home side's number 5's off stump with a belting yorker. 20-4 with a bemused Saxton genuinely wondering if Leo's had decided to reverse the batting order after emerging victorious in the previous 68 contests between the 2 sides. It could have been even better if dangerman Cobbett had been given out caught behind during Dan's earlier spell. A contentious decision which cost Saxton 20 runs, but one which the opner bowler took very graciously indeed.......

You often wonder if incidents like that act as turning points in sporting contests, and often that proves to be the case. Thankfully, on Saturday that prove to be so. Wickets continued to tumble with DC picking up the number 6 with a regulation edge behind, and then Hewer finally seeing off Cobbett for a big hitting 38 thanks to a surprisingly and uncharacteristically agile one handed catch by the keeper. Hills and Walsh into the attack to finish off the innings, the former picking up a couple and Danny Welbeck look-alike Walsh chipping in with a further wicket after a discplined spell of seam up from the bottom end.

116 all out. A great effort all round. Although it could have been even more impressive but for a couple of dropped catches, Sowerby and DC managing to put down the number 10 twice in one ball, Potter dropping an easier chance than the one he took in the same fielding position, and Chris not able to hold a skier, the only blip on an otherwise very energetic and impressive, if slightly hyper-active personal performance in the field by the debutant. Denno not being able to bend the necessary 12 foot to stop a boundary through square leg, despite having 6 minutes and 35 yards notice,also deserves a mention too.

55 overs to chase the score down on a pitch which seemed less hostile than the Leo's total evidenced. Surely a rare and much needed victory at this ground awaited. Or so you would have thought......

25 minutes later, 9-3 and the bookmakers odds were probably now swinging the other way, with Harold, Steve H and JB unable to survive the new ball. When Curb Your Subisms followed soon after things were looking decidely bleak, Although much credit must go to Liam for also displaying the ability to curb his anger for once upon his return to the dressing room. I suspect the fact that the changing facility was also shared by the scorers may have perhaps played some part in this shockingly placid post-innings behaviour.

Mike and the Monster attempted to stem the flow but unfortunately to little avail. 26-6 and complete embarssment seemed inevitable, with the game destined to finish at the same time as the aforementioned young Gilbo usually emerges for breakfast. However, as said before one thing about the Saxton club is that they always show fight, and this was portrayed in the first instance by Chris with a smart little knock of 17, which included 3 penalty corners through the onside.

All not lost possibly, although the home side were still unquestionable favourites. DC and Dan didnt seem to agree however, both playing excellent innings to turn the tide over the course of the next 45 minutes. For the first time Leo's looked genuinely rattled. As did next man in Sowerby. Sadly it just wasnt to be despite the best efforts of the aforementioned all rounders. 98 all out and 19 short. Although on a positive note a point had been gained, which at one stage appeared incomprehensible.

One point and a bit of pride restored, but overall still not good enough. If we want to achieve anything this year, including staying in this division, we need to be able to chase down a score of 116. Credit has to go to Leo's though for applying the pressure, particularly opening bowler Boyes who finished with a 6 for, after a mean spell of bowling.

At least a a cup game the following day offered a chance for redemption...............'


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