2 June 2019 at LRGS

Bolton by Bowland won the toss and elected to bat

With rain prevalent in the days leading up to the match and the LRGS groundsman in hospital, there was some doubt about the game going ahead. But if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The Gregson-Team.

 ‘Hannibal’ Sumsion, ‘Howling Mad’ McAllister and ‘B. A.’ Reynolds took time out from their weekday schedule of covert mercenary work to prepare a strip worthy of the players. Using only an old Flymo, rollers from a 1930s mangle, and an abandoned armoured truck that just happened to be lying around they managed to cut, roll and mark the pitch.

Heroes one and all, but even they couldn’t stop the weather delaying the start. By the time the drizzle had petered away, there was time only for a 35 over match. Bolton By Bowland won the toss and decided to bat – an unsurprising decision given the strength they had shown in previous matches.

Some good Gregson bowling, in what turned out to be difficult batting conditions, meant scoring was slow. Carter took the first wicket, Kit Lloyd (8) falling to a juggling catch by Sumsion at mid-off. Pye too had early success, with Kelly (2) trapped leg before, but Burgess and Armer were beginning to settle into their stride when Moulsdale stepped up as first change bowler.

It was the start of an excellent spell by the wily spinner whose smile grew a little wider with each wicket. Armer (27) was the first to succumb, plumb lbw going back to a full-length ball. Gregson’s international man of mystery, tail up, then proceeded to get four clean bowled wickets – Burgess (15), Perry (0), Stott (0) and Sam Lloyd (2). After an uninterrupted spell, he finished with the excellent return of 5 – 25 from his seven overs.

Through this mini-collapse Jake Lloyd (45) had continued his rich vein of form against the Gregson. It took a quality catch to remove him – a diving McAllister, arms stretched forward, pouncing at midwicket like a praying mantis feasting on an unsuspecting beetle.

When Wain Sr caught the last of the Lloyds (28) at the end of Deighton’s somewhat wayward spell, Powell (14*) and Reynolds (4*) saw Bolton By Bowland end up on 165 – 9. A good total on a difficult strip, but one that promised an interesting chase.

Batting was no easier for the Gregson than it had been for Bolton By Bowland, but Lee and Hughes dug in, scoring slowly, but steadily. When Lee (9) was caught of the bowling of Perry, Alex Wain proved a fine replacement with some lusty hitting from the get-go. Hughes (14) departed to another catch off Kit Lloyd’s bowling and Sumsion (1) was immediately bowled by a pacey ball from Jake Lloyd.

This brought father and son to the wicket and for a while the run rate flourished. After Wain Sr (26) was caught behind off Armer, McAllister was next man in. Bristling with determination after his controversial dismissal last week, he mixed obdurate nurdling with some surprisingly forceful shots to, and over, the boundary.

Unfortunately, the strike rate had slowed considerably by the time Alex Wain (30) was bowled by Jake Lloyd and it was Carter at the non-striker’s end who witnessed an event not seen since St Bees Under 15s played Maryport Scout Troop in the summer of ‘69. McAllister (22) was dismissed in consecutive innings, thanks to a fine caught and bowled from Jake Lloyd.

When Carter (16) nicked off to the keeper, there were only 7 balls left and 29 to score. An impossible task? It certainly is if Morrison (4*) and Deighton (1*) are at the wicket and the Gregson finished on 141 – 7, a loss by 24 runs.

Bolton By Bowland take an unassailable 2 – 0 lead in the three match series, and the Gregson are faced with the prospect of breaking an unwelcome record. Having lost seven on the bounce, can they rediscover their form to avoid the club record of ten consecutive losses?

Ra ra!

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