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Bradford 39 vs Venturers, Thursday May 21st

Venturers 114-9 Bradford 39 86-9

There were some interesting stud marks on the pitch at Victory Field. Football studs. But in fact the pitch didn't play badly. We won the toss and batted, which gives better conditions for light: on sunny evenings such as this it is hard to see the ball from one end because of the setting sun, and from the other end there is a bank of dark trees. But in any case we agreed to keep all the bowling from the end with the trees if the sun got too bad.

It wasn't very long before that happened, but before that Matt and Fluffy had made a cautious start against accurate bowling from Bradford's captain and the clearly labelled Dan. Matt hit one four but there were otherwise only singles, and after a while Fluffy tried to turn the captain to leg and missed. He did get a pad in the way, but only to be so perfectly LBW that he turned round and marched off, only pausing after a few steps to check, for form's sake, that Gregory had indeed given him out. Chris raised the pace slightly with a couple of firm shots of his own and some sharp running, but got bowled by a ball he couldn't really do a lot about. The pattern he set was handed on down the order, though: run singles hard to give the strike to Matt, who will then score a single himself. This worked fairly well until Kevin was run out. The Bradford bowlers included a couple of short blokes and an even shorter 11-year-old, whose low action and therefore low bounce made them hard to hit, and it was only when faster, taller bowlers returned towards the end that we got much more than singles; but we did get a lot of them. Then Matt plonked the newly arrived fast bowler back over his head for six - his first six ever, he said, which is surprising - and followed it up with a four to bring up his fifty. Soon after he had a mow and got bowled, and there was a bit of a collapse in the last few overs as we tried and failed to accelerate, ending on 114-9 when Sourabh missed the last ball and got stumped.

Andy's first over was not well directed but was quite fast, and if it had not been for Alex's agile wicket-keeping and some brisk tidying up by Chris it might have been expensive. Sourabh, at the other or rather the same end (the sun was low now) mostly bowled well but gave away runs occasionally. But the clearly labelled Dan, who is a dangerous batsman, couldn't find much to hit and very soon Andy yorked him.. This brought in one of the short blokes. This particular one doesn't look like a cricketer at all; he falls over a lot in the field, sometimes when the ball is nowhere near him, he shuffles in to bowl and he stands awkwardly at the crease. But he bowls tidy and sometimes very effective leg breaks, and he presents a straight bat to the ball and if given any room times his shots very well. He and the other opener saw off Andy and Sourabh, not without scoring, and too advantage when Simon's length deserted him, but treated Gregory (at the western end, now open again) carefully despite his wayward direction. The opener miscued a full toss from Gregory but Alex W could not hold on; but in the next over Simon bowled him another one and this time the miscue went high in the air to Charlie, who caught it very well. Gregory, after being walloped through miswicket a few times, removed the short bloke via a ballooning edge, snaffled by Alex C, and next ball Alex W made amends for his earlier fluff with an excellent low catch at square leg. Despite some more intermittent legside garbage from Gregory and occasionally Simon, Bradford 39 were getting behind the rate (Simon hadn't bowled enough garbage for them) and needed 35 when Gregory bowled the last ball of the sixteenth over. It was straight this time, and the batsman was as perfectly LBW as Fluffy had been. The next ball, Kevin's first, hit the middle stump, his third brought another LBW decision, requiring a moment's thought this time, and Matt quickly bowled the number 7. Four wickets for no runs in ten balls, which became five wickets for three runs when Matt hit the stumps again in the last over, but by then it was completely finished.


Fixtures & Results 2009

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