The long overdue summer arrived on Saturday with the unusual sight of no soppers or covers anywhere near the wicket on both grounds. However, the outfields and bowlers run ups on both pitches were soggy to say the least but there was a desire to ensure that games were played and that the sunshine didnt simply mock us in irony whilst games were abandoned yet again!
The 4th team just got on with things and played a full game, however one of the umpires decided that nothing of the sort could happen on the top pitch and a further period of “drying” was needed before play could start (no further comment required i believe as words sometimes fail me!).
A game reduced to 40 overs per side eventually got under way and Rothley Park were restricted to 118-9 in the face of some excellent bowling from the suntanned Spiers who finished with 5-27 and the flourescent spectacled Paige-Morris who recorded 2-16 in a miserly spell. Unusually, captain Hill was unhappy at the break feeling that the opposition had got “100 too many”, but there was an unusual air of calm around the 2’s during tea.
That had turned to sheer panic a short while later when the score had deteriorated to 29-5 with messrs Clarke, Bhavik, Dips, Peel and CPM all reduced to watching the South African massacre at the Oval on TV.
A period of stability between Spence and Fabian appeared to right things before SPence departed at 64 and much to do. Spiers an Taylor took the score sedately through to 96 before SPiers departed for a well made 21. Taylor remained resolute in the face of a tremendous spell from the overseas Aussie and when Hill entered the fray 18 were still needed from 13 balls. Hill had the unusual honour of being sledged by the home crowd when he strode to the wicket, but he was unusually focussed and with 17 needed off 12 he produced a display of savage hitting that read 6…4…6…1 and it was game over with 8 balls to spare!…Cue pandemonium on the boundary and a much needed win was in the bag. Coupled with Shepshed falling foul of the weather the 2’s capped a great day by moving off the bottom of the table and the changing room was a happier place than for a while.
Down on the bottom Paddy Field the skipper inserted the opposition, only to quickly realise that the only dry bit of the ground was the actual wicket, with the run ups and the outfield being especially tricky.
But no matter, in spite of a fast start by the opposition openers Olly Lodge in particular got a stranglehold on the batters and induced a false shot which was pouched by Bale at full stretch.
The introduction of Jones and Ben Lodge turned the game totally in our favour with Jones finishing with 6-29 and Lodge 3-20 and Shepshed were dismissed for 98 in the final over to ensure full bowling points were secured. Some great fielding backed the bowlers well and some great catches were held in the difficult conditions.
Aware of the presence of some “new” players in the opposition ranks openers Taylor and Allen made mincemeat of the threat and despatched the ball to all parts in an opening stand of 70 in 11 overs and the game was all but done. Taylor was unluckily out for a well made 32, which bought Bale to the wicket. Allen carried on his merry way and moved to his maiden KCC 50 with a 6 over square leg. With 4 needed Bale decided he would take the glory from his young partner by finishing the game with one shot, only to sky it and be caught for 4!
Sam Pounds strode to the wicket but didnt face a ball as Allen smashed the next delivery to the boundary and it was game over after just 18 overs….making a mockery of concerns about the surface and he finished unbeaten on 61.
So another maximum haul of 24 points and with news filtering through of leaders Ashby being thrashed at Dunton Bassett and only gaining 1 point we find ourselves clear at the top of the table.
A great all round performance and without the missing Carson, Norton, Joel, Pritchard, Tank, Ellwood and Ellwood competition for places is fierce.