16 June 2019 at Wyre
Gregson won the toss and elected to bat
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the pitch up with our Gregson dead.”
So dire had the run of losses become that Captain Sumsion summoned up ‘O’ level Shakespeare classes to try and motivate the troops before the match. With eight losses on the bounce, and Wyre CC cast as the defenders of Harfleur, would inspired speeches be enough to turn around the Gregson’s dispiriting run of poor form?
The Gregson won the toss and batted, opening with the modest stillness and humility that can only be provided by Lee and Hughes. Alas, Hughes (1) fell early as he was caught by Winward off the bowling of Richards in the second over. Lee (7) was beginning to settle in and play more aggressively when he found himself on the wrong end of a controversial lbw decision and had to depart, his fair nature tempered with hard-favour’d rage.
Sumsion and Sutton have had, by their own admission, a poor start to their season, so it was a pleasure to see the mettle of their pasture return. Sumsion (19) was once more his free-flowing self, before an excellent catch at point by Bamford off the bowling of Winward saw him dismissed.
Sutton, of course, is like the brass cannon. Hard hit cannonballs flowed from his bat to all sides of the ground as the Wyre bowlers struggled to contain the assault, whilst at the other end McAllister (32) played a fine supporting role before a sharply lifting ball from Musmull could only be fended to gully, where Crabtree pouched the catch.
Morrison (2), as fearful as a galled rock, hung around, but failed to impact much on the scoring and when Sutton (67) eventually fell to a catch in the deep off Clayton the score was a little under 150 with only a few overs left.
Waddell and Murphy set the teeth and stretched the nostrils wide as they took up the challenge of providing a competitive score, with Waddell showing a different side to his batting, combining his normal attack with occasionally studied forward defensive shots. When Bernstein claimed Waddell’s (22) wicket, Murphy (10*) and Patel (4*) did not dishonour their mothers, closing out the Gregson innings for a total of 181 – 7.
The game was afoot…
Wyre responded well, Bernstein and Powell holding the quick bowling of Waddell and Plant at bay, as Hughes and Morrison stood like greyhounds in the slips waiting for an edge. It took a double bowling change for the Gregson to achieve the breakthrough with a brace of leg before decisions. Powell (13) was the first to go off Patel and Murphy reinforced success with the wicket of Bernstein (13).
Further quick wickets followed, as for once the wide balls and full tosses that have been a plague on the Gregson bowling attack did not swill like the wild and wasteful ocean. When Murphy invited Bamford (1) to pull a short ball, Morrison held hard his breath and bent up every spirit to take a tumbling catch low down at square leg, and Murphy completed a fine 3-fer with Clayton (0) out without troubling the scorers. With Patel clipping the stumps of Rawcliffe (0) for a duck, the Gregson were beginning to hear the blast of war in their ears as they took charge of the match.
Richards and Boothroyd (11) dug in to prevent the collapse from spiralling out of control, but when the latter chipped into Sumsion’s hands off Waddell, and Musmull (0) had his bails removed by Barker, Wyre once again found themselves behind in the game.
Richards (16) eventually fell to a Waddell delivery that came straight out of the West Indies 1980s playbook. Banged in short there was an attempted hook, causing the ball to caress the glove and present Plant, imitating the action of a tiger, to pounce successfully on a difficult diving opportunity.
With a run rate approaching 11 an over, the Gregson were feeling confident, but the noble lustre in their eyes was soon removed as Winward, Crabtree and Mackay conspired to make the game much tighter than it should have been.
Although Winward (16) was bowled by Sutton, Wyre’s last wicket pair were not ones to sheath their swords for lack of argument and took on the task of the last few overs with some gusto, Mackay (25*) in particular playing shots that number 11 batsmen should only be able to dream about.
There was an audible sigh of relief from the Gregson band of brothers when Patel finally nipped one through Crabtree’s (29) defences to secure the match in the penultimate over; Wyre finishing on a more than creditable 157 all out.
A win by 24 runs, the first since April and the Gregson were a happy few. Apologies to our good friends at Wyre CC for finally coming into form at the wrong time for you, but on, on, you noblest Gregsonites. Follow your spirit and upon the next game cry ‘God for Joe, the Gregson, and Saint George!’