Result: Brooklands CC 228-7 (50 overs) DREW WITH Cheadle Hulme CC 215-8 (50 overs) (Cheshire County Cricket League)
Venue: Brooklands Sports Club (Saturday 3rd June 2017, 1pm)
Att: 20 (approx.)
Following the weather dodging over the first two weekends of my cricketing sojourn this summer, I was hoping for some kinder, less stressful conditions for this Saturday’s game at Brooklands Cricket Club in Sale. Was I going to be third-time lucky?
In short, no. In longer terms, I probably was, yes. Now, I may seem as though I’m giving some “crossed-wires” there, but let me explain. I say no as, unbelievably, rain again made an appearance, albeit fleetingly, but this again made no impact on the game as a whole, with me somehow having squeezed in three full contests whilst dodging the April showers. In May & June.
Weather aside, I set off into Sale during the late morning, via a quick stop off in my former workplace in Sale Moor and a quick scouting/tasting visit to the Legh Arms there prior to the game. Well, at least that’s what I thought, as I settled in with my pint through to ten past one, whilst watching darts reviews. Ah, what a life, eh?
It was only as I was walking down the road to the ground that the realisation hit me “Oh, it was a one-o’clock start this wasn’t it? Indeed, it turned out that is was and I got to the Brooklands Sports Club during the latter part of the ninth over, with the home side having been inserted by the visitors Cheadle Hulme and sitting on 24-1, the wicket missed being that of Chris Hart, caught out for a solitary run. Before we truly get into the game, here’s a bit of backstory to Brooklands CC….
Brooklands Cricket Club was formed in 1883, after a meeting at a house in Sale to draw up the rules for a new club – Brooklands Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club. Land was rented from the Brooks family estate (the area’s largest landowner) and so began the club’s story.
Outside of this and the fact the new “pavilion” building came into being around the millennium, there’s very little (that I can find anyway) about the club’s history, though there are some nice pictures on the club’s site’s About Us page: http://www.brooklandssportsclub.co.uk/
Back onto the game at hand and, as I said earlier, I arrived at the ground during the early-ish stages of the home side’s innings. At that point, opener Kevin Carroll, along with ‘keeper-batsman Ali Buchan were going about trying to secure Brooklands a foothold. And they did so, advancing the score past the fifty mark before Carroll joined his opening partner back in the bowels of the Sports Club, departing for 28 to become Nathan Gorman’s first scalp.
Buchan, though, continued on and despite the loss of a disappointed (visually and audibly!) David Madden (7) to Alex Read, passed his own half-century whilst being ably supported by skipper Jack Bagshaw (24), before the latter was dismissed Gorman after coming down the wicket and finding himself stranded. Visiting gloveman Richard Robinson did the honours and whipped off the bails before Luke Maitra was then trapped LBW by Cheadle Hulme’s pro Juan-Jacques (JJ) Strydom without scoring to leave the Bears in a perilous situation, the scoreboard reading 148-5.
But Doug Whyley and Buchan (82) put paid to any hopes Cheadle Hulme had of running through the middle-order on a grassy-looking wicket, with the latter becoming ever more expansive as his knock went on, including hitting one maximum towards the bowling green. Buchan, though, was eventually the sixth man to fall, Sohaib Abbasi coming back into the attack to claim his second scalp, following his early dismissal of Hart. Abbasi lured Buchan into playing across a straight one and no contact resulted in the death rattle ringing out, as did some well earned applause as the batsman made his way off.
Whyley (30) fell too towards the end of the innings, the pacey Strydom doubling his wicket tally by taking a comfortable return catch. However, a decent late innings by Mark Law saw him record 24 not out at better than a run a ball, to see his side through to a competitive-looking 228-7, with Christian Potter unbeaten at the other end on two.
The interval saw me heading into the adjoining Sports Club itself and an impressive structure it is too. The place is modern and is really quite stylish. As a result, I decided to go against the modern feel and plumped for a Boddington’s (around £2.30 a pint I think) as well as a plate of chips for £2.25. Not too bad at all on both accounts. The drizzle came and went during the interval too and so we were out again pretty much on time and ready to restart. I settled in onto the balcony with Cheadle Hulme chasing 229 for the win.
The visitors got off to a good start too, with Mobashir Hasan plundering away some early boundaries. He was afforded some luck, though, as he was dropped at backward point after a skier, though this miss didn’t prove too costly, the big-hitting opener out soon afterward, chipping one to mid-off off the bowling of Christian Potter for a twenty-two-ball 26.
From 36-1, Hasan’s fellow opener Jordan Potts, along with number 3 Hasan Ul (36), saw their side into a comfortable-looking position at 110-1 when the latter was out to spinner Luke Maitra, LBW, just as it was looking as if he was getting truly into his stride. Out strode Strydom (that sounded closer in my head) and he and Potts then went on to advance Cheadle Hulme into what appeared to be a match-winning position.
After a chat with Brooklands supporter Dave up on the balcony who became the second of three people to ask it I was a Cheadle Hulme supporter (maybe it was because I was in the town the previous weekend at Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge, the old home of today’s visitors), I headed off for a couple of laps of the pitch upon 25 overs having been completed of the reply. It was then it all began to unravel for the batting side.
Potts had played nicely, if watchfully, throughout his innings and had passed 50 early on in his partnership with Strydom. He then went on to dominate the majority of it and looked well set to reach three figures when disaster struck and he chipped one down the throat of mid-off, again off Potter, and had to drag himself from the wicket. To be fair, a spell of pretty tight bowling around the time of the wicket had just begun to turn the screw somewhat on the batsmen and perhaps the pressure told. In any case, Potts was gone just three short of a ton and Cheadle Hulme were 191-3 with around five overs left.
When Chris Beckley (seven) was out nine runs later, caught behind off a bottom edge whilst attempting to sweep Maitra, the game looked well and truly up in the air. However, Strydom always looked to have something up his sleeve and when he took thirteen off the 48th over it looked as though he’d paced the chase perfectly and, with a little help, was going to see his side home. Fifteen off twelve was required. During the over, a nasty looking collision with a pole forced Maitra off the field and a ‘sub fielder’ was on for the final two-and-a-bit overs.
However, the pair then agreed to a single off the final ball of the over (I immediately thought Why’ve they done that?!) and that would indeed prove a fatal decision. With Strydom away from the strike, this is what followed: Wicket! Wicket! Everyone gets a wicket!
Four wickets were to fall in the next twelve deliveries, with the 49th over being a double-wicket maiden! Tom Mitchell first dismissed Richard Robinson (one) who, in seeking to give the strike to Strydom, set off down the wicket but ‘keeper Buchan denied the run and with Robinson in no-man’s-land, the stumps were hit.
When Sohail Abbasi was bowled ought for a duck two balls later, the game had suddenly swung in the favour of the hosts, in the form of them now seeking a “winning draw”. But, with Strydom was on strike a chance still existed.
However, his first ball looked to have proved he’d given up the ghost (probably shrewdly), a defensive push followed by a single meant fourteen off four was required. A small chance became no chance as Nick Fish was bowled first ball by Kevin Carroll, who then saw the ‘sub fielder’ catch Alex Read (nought) off the final ball of the match to much humour (plus a styled walk-off) as Cheadle Hulme ended up on 215-8, fourteen short of victory and the unfortunate JJ Strydom left unbeaten on 42 and somewhat marooned.
So, with that entertaining, then somewhat strange finish to the game seeing the sides deservedly share the spoils, I headed off back to the bus stop for my carriage home. Three games in three weeks. Rain in all, but also a result in each too. Will I be lucky for a fourth time? I think we probably can call that one!
Value For Money: 9