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Bradford Town Vs Venturers, Wednesday July 18th

Bradford Town 147-4, Venturers 129-6

This was the first of two consecutive evening matches, but we managed to get together eleven players, and thirteen for the next day (and as it turned out we needed them). It wasn’t a bad eleven, either, but Bradford are quite strong. We fielded, and Josh found the outside edge quickly, but Gregory got not quite enough hand on the resulting low chance. He was moved out of the slips and replaced by Jack, to whom the same thing happened but more painfully. The next ball, Imran’s first, was skied on the off side and Jack took a good catch over his shoulder, then staggered off to the boundary and lay down to avoid passing out altogether. Before then Josh had removed the other opener, remembering to announce his own name before taking the return catch. Jack recovered enough to field again very soon, although still in some pain, so we did at least have a full complement of fieldsmen, but the outfield was fast and the boundaries fairly short, so runs came quickly. The pitch had previously been used for an under-11 match so it had two sets of crease markings at each end, one a yard short of the real ones. It also had worn patches on a full length for the under-11s, which meant a good length for a quicker bowler but a bit short for a spinner. So the quicker bowlers got unpredictable bounce, which led to Chris taking a good catch but forgetting to announce his name beforehand. The spinners, though, had a choice between extravagant turn but underpitching, or a good length but only a little turn. One from Gregory popped and spun sharply, but the batsman had the time (and, it must be said, the skill) to adjust and pull it for four. Krish was a bit more economical, partly because by that time we had moved to more defensive fields, but Bruce for once leaked runs, though he did also pick up a wicket.

So fast was the outfield that 148 didn’t seem impossible to reach. We made a slow start, though, and Jack was bowled slightly unluckily off the inside edge by one that even in the opinion of the bowler had kept low. The under-11 creases confused Chris no end: he ran a very short run indeed, turning for his second at the wrong line, but was saved from embarrassment when the ball went for four anyway; and he took guard out of his ground on the under-11 popping crease and then forgot to step back in after letting the ball go. Fortunately the wicket-keeper was equally confused and threw the ball to cover instead of rolling it at the wicket and stumping him. But then Jamie got out, and Krish, after being dropped at cow corner (it went for six) ran Chris out by calling for a single that never existed. A collapse seemed likely, but Bradford were running out of bowlers. Krish and Ian attacked the second-string bowling so effectively that we briefly became favourites. Even the competent googly bowler (he didn’t seem to bowl a leg-break) at the other end was hit about, but that led in the end to Krish giving the fieldsman at cow corner a second chance, and he took it. Josh was briefly violent, which was a reasonable approach, but the situation was not ideal for Rob, who came next and found himself required to get on with it at once. He tried, but neither fully succeeded nor got out, so that when Simon came in at number 8 there was too much to do.

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