Match 4 – vs Leigh – 10/06/12

A rainy scene greeted the Churchleigh players as they arrived at Leigh, some of them on time, on Sunday afternoon for a 35 over game. With only 7 players, Churchleigh took to the field and bowled first on the flat, soggy wicket. The only question was what would turn up first; the three missing players or the rain…?

Back from a long absence, it was Dave Tremayne who opened the bowling, much to the relief of recent opening bowler Jim Dawson who happily went and stood at fine leg as far away from the bowler as possible. With two borrowed fielders, Dave began where he had left off for Churchleigh with a reliable line and length. One boundary was sliced away before the same occurred in another returning hero’s first over at the other end. Danny Godfrey’s surprise appearance was a huge bonus and his new off-spin hit the mark straight away as the batsman struggled to get him away. After a couple of overs, the remaining three players, Shahid, Asif and Shiv arrived and joined the fun.

With no breakthrough, runs began to come through some airy shots that just evaded fielders, leaving 10-man Churchleigh to bemoan their missing fielder. In his fourth over, however, Dave bowled to his field by bowling a leg-side long hop that was keenly hoicked round to the waiting Jim Dawson who held on. Danny continued with his fantastic control but had to wait slightly longer for his deserved wicket. After beating the bat several times, he got one through the defences and pegged back the top of off stump. Shiv was then brought on to replace Dave as Leigh looked to accelerate their innings following the arrival of their big-hitting number 4. Three boundaries came from Shiv’s first over, but Danny continued to hold them up, bowling through his alloted 7 overs, 3 of which were maidens and finishing with 1 for 16. Eventually, the luck of the remaining opener run out as an another slap finally found its way to a fielder where the relieved captain, James Webb, clung on via his sternum.

With Danny now bowled out, Shahid came on, beginning with some seam that was smashed unceremoniously around the ground. A number of boundaries from number 4 were matched with some lovely legside flicks from the number 5. With the drinks break looming, however, Shiv finally made the breakthrough, knocking back the number 4’s middle stump with a cracker. When Shahid reverted to his more effective spin, he found his way through the number 6 and suddenly Leigh were 5 down. A couple of overs later, he had another wicket as the ball was driven to cover where James, diving forward and risking a ball in the face, took his second catch of the day. After Shiv had bowled through his 7 overs, taking 2 for 32, Dave returned to end his spell and he did so in style. His final two overs were both maidens and included a wicket as he clean bowled a lower order batsman who seemed determined to swipe every ball.

Suddenly, Leigh were 127 for 7 from 27 overs and Churchleigh’s tails were up. Joe Woolgar came on to ball the final four overs from one end and after Shahid had bowled his 7, taking 2 for 43, Asif came on to finish the job at the other end. Unfortunately, the luck seemed to turn to the batsmen once more who flayed away, balls again just evading fielders, particularly one drive which Jim Dawson ran round at least twice before the ball beat his figure of eight balletic┬ájaunt to the boundary. Despite a maiden from Asif, Leigh finished on 181 for 7 from their 35 overs, Joe bowling his four overs wicketless for 23 and Asif finishing with 3 overs for 22.

With the rain picking up, Jim Dawson was a lone voice in offering to open the batting and so accompanied James to the middle. Determined to follow up his duck the previous week with something more substantial, James got off the mark with an assured edge between slip and wicketkeeper. Struggling to get the ball away, James picked up another couple of singles before Jim got off the mark in more convincing fashion. Both batsmen slipped when running for twos and after a boundary over mid-on for James and one nicely timed over square leg for Jim, the bowler ended up slipping dangerously too. The two captains agreed it was becoming unsafe and so trudged off the pitch with the game nicely poised.

With the rain only getting heavier, the match was abandoned with Churchleigh 22 for 0 off 6 overs, James on 10 not out and Jim on 8. Played 4, won 2, lost 1, drawn 1. Not bad.


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