9 June 2019 at LRGS
Gregson won the toss and elected to field
It would be unfair to say the Gregson was in crisis as the ninth match of the season took place against the nomads of Windsor Wesleyan. ’Winning optional’ is proudly emblazoned on their website and recruitment posters, so coming into the game after seven straight losses was perhaps less an albatross around the neck, more a statement of historical accuracy.
There was however a palpable sense of determination to leave history in the past and concentrate on the present. The toss won, and Windsor Wesleyan’s put into bat on what looked like a damp and responsive pitch, seemed at first glance to be a good omen for the day’s play.
In what was to become a clear indicator of the rest of the game, scoring started slowly. Some good bowling from Waddell and Deighton’s opening spells saw them take two wickets each – Waddell removing both East (0) and Hassan (6) thanks to the safe hands of Kaighin, while Carter’s low catch to remove Bippin (2) off Deighton was immediately followed up with Cox (2) clean bowled the next over.
The halfway point of the innings came and went with the Gregson bowlers keeping it tight – Kaighin in particular providing Windsor Wesleyan’s with little they could attack, finishing his spell with the parsimonious figures of 8 overs for only 11 runs.
Williamson’s leg spin offered a little more opportunity to the batsmen, with Johnson holding up an end well and Shan, after Williamson had Nelson (9) caught by Carter, joining him to push the scoring along. The occasional off spin of McAllister was brought into the attack to try and break the partnership and it succeeded – Shan (20) shuffling in front of his stumps to a straightening delivery and given out leg before.
Jish (7) was run out attempting a second that was never there and although Salice (14) hit out well, he found himself on the wrong end of a calling mix up that left Morrison time to stroll over to the ball, pick it up, walk back to the stumps and remove the bails before he had completed the run.
Johnson (23*) finished the innings unbeaten and Windsor Wesleyan had posted a harmless looking total of 111 – 8 off their 40 overs. Over tea, the Gregson conversation was of victory and consigning their losing streak to the dustbin of history. They talked the talk, but could they walk the walk?
It soon became apparent the pitch was difficult for both sides’ batting line ups as Hassan clean bowled first Lee (5) and then Hughes (0), the latter putting the dismissal out of mind by demonstrating a fine Northern Soul Shuffle during his enforced stint as square leg umpire.
Sumsion’s (10) run of poor form continued as he was caught off the bowling of Salice, although the achievement of getting into double figures looked more impressive after Carter (0), Sutton (6) and Morrison (8) all succumbed quickly after his dismissal.
It was Waddell who provided hope. Fuelled by a long swig from his orange juice carton, the contents of which are the subject of much speculation within the Gregson dressing room, he set about demonstrating to the ‘real’ batsmen how to play on a difficult wicket. Although it would be fair to say foot movement is not a skill Waddell considers important when at the crease, his stand and deliver style saw the ball speed across, and over, the turf for a flurry of boundaries.
With the ever-reliable McAllister farming the strike to him, Waddell (41) threatened for a while to bring the Gregson home. Alas, it was not to be, as Bippin had him attempting one too many big hits down the wicket and clean bowled him.
Deighton (0) and Kaighin (0) did nothing to continue Waddell’s charge, allowing Hassan to return the remarkable figures of 6-4-5-5, and it was fitting that the rout should be completed by Williamson (0) being run out at the non-striker’s end without facing a ball thanks to McAllister’s (13*) inbuilt desire to take a single off the last ball of the over.
The Gregson finished on 93 all out, a loss by 18 runs. The best performance of the season so far from their bowling unit, but one let down by some poor batting, albeit on a difficult pitch and in the face of some excellent Windsor Wesleyan’s bowling.
A streak of eight losses and an unwelcome record-breaking season looms…