1st XI Humbled on Sticky Wicket
By Matt Nichols
Heavy rain and good spin bog down 1s away at Beddington. Councillor The Scorer reports all
What a traumatic start to the day – the scoring software wouldn’t update because the Beddington WiFi was so slow. It might have been better if I hadn’t managed to eventually get the system working because from even before the toss it was a dismal day. It was wet and windy and the start was delayed by a bit more than an hour. Having lost the toss Walton were forced to bat on a wicket that was green and had only just been cut to a playable length.
Dan Roberts played immaculately for his first 20 balls (as has become a pattern for the season) and then succumbed to a wily spinner. Whatever happened to proper cricket where seamers took the new ball and the openers were the players who dealt best with quick bowling? I think that opening with a spinner outside of limited overs cricket is close to cheating. This particular dastardly Beddington cheat went on to bowl 23 overs unchanged and in the process trick six Walton batsman out of their wickets and the runs they so richly deserved. After just 3 overs of proper (seam) bowling Beddington brought on a second spinner to baffle our noble batsmen, but he had less success, in part due to the self-sacrifice of two players who preferred to be run out.
Lunch was taken after 19 overs with Walton 40 for 2 – not that bad really. The break was extended due to more rain and then things went downhill. Walton were all out after 47 overs for a total of 98 runs – this was never going to be enough. Six Walton batsman got into double figures, but none got to 20. It was a difficult pitch and there was some very good bowling, but this was well below a par score.
A special mention is due to the quality of the lunch at Beddington – the lasagne was very good in terms both of quality and quantity and all of the five puddings on offer were beyond tempting. Did the food negatively impact on the batting performance after lunch? Was this a cunning home team conspiracy, knowing the weaknesses of their opponents?
Having received 44 overs of very economic and difficult to play spin, Walton opened up with a seamer and were rewarded in the first over with two no balls and a boundary, oh and a wicket. Spin was used from the second over, but without a decent total to defend it was hard to put the batsmen under real pressure – Beddington had about 50 overs to get just 98 runs.
The second wicket fell in the 14th over with 71 on the board – it felt like game over by this stage. Jamie Aldridge was brought on to bowl the 15th over and started with a wicket maiden – 3 wickets down for 73 – just 26 runs needed. By the 18th over only 7 runs were required and Dan thought that now was the moment for him to bowl – with his first two balls he bowled two Beddington batsman and then had an emotionally charged appeal for LBW for a hat-trick. Having donated 5 wickets, and thereby a bowling point to Walton, Beddington decided that enough was enough and wrapped up the game in the 20th over.
This was a great toss to win and had Walton been able to field first I think we would have seen a very different game. The batsmen have simply got to score more runs and give the bowlers at least a chance to prove what they can do. In particular they must not allow themselves to be mesmerised by the first person to bowl slowly to them. It would never have happened in my day …