Gregson CC vs. Lancaster University 3rd XI
27 April 2019 – at LRGS
Gregson won the toss and elected to bat
The first home match of the season and, as one, the Gregson CC stood together in companionable silence to admire the new rope around the outfield. The rope’s response was serene. It lay there unmoved, little comprehending the hours of heated debate that its presence or absence had engendered over the years.
Suddenly, the spell broke and the Gregson were faced with the reality of an opposition who turned up looking fresh, fit, and most worryingly, young. Hurried calculation on the back of ‘no longer allowed on site’ fag packets revealed combined team ages of 210 vs. 550 years. Could age and guile triumph over youth and enthusiasm?
Sumsion won the toss and the Gregson were batting first on what looked to be an early season pudding of a track with no bounce or movement. The Uni’s opening attack of Viren and Smith had very different ideas though as some excellent pace bowling left Hughes and Lee struggling to get off the mark. It was the fifth over before Lee managed to get the ball away for a couple, a feat marked by ironic cheers from the gallery.
When Lee (5) fell to Smith, Sumsion strode in to take charge. What followed was a dropped catch to make even the most butter fingered of Gregson fielders cast aspersions about possible match fixing. A sharp bouncer caught the shoulder of Sumsion’s bat and looped the ball gently 20 feet into the air. Theed, the Uni keeper stood under the catch, big, gloved hands inviting the ball to continue its slow descent into their leathery embrace for a simple catch. How that ball bounced out from said gloves is a mystery beyond all who were there that day, but bounce it did – and an immediate £10 fine was applied by his teammates. Harsh? Perhaps, but no-one could argue the punishment was undeserved…
For the purposes of the story arc, it would be good to say Sumsion (8) capitalised on this good fortune and from another dropped catch the following over but alas, no. Another sharp, lifting delivery outside the off stump from first change bowler, Yash, took his outside edge and provided the keeper with some redemption.
Welbourne’s first outing of the season saw him carry on from where he left off, with hard hitting boundaries tempered by a solid defence. With him was the opener, Hughes (27), who played magnificently against the challenging bowling, before being caught in the covers of the bowling of Yash. Morrison reverted to 2018 form with a 14 ball duck before falling to Constantine, and after Welbourne (31) fell to Aspinall, it was left to McAllister and Wain Sr to develop an entertaining and profitable 40 run partnership before Wain Sr (23) was caught off McArdley leaving McAllister (20*) and Metcalfe (0*) to see off the last over.
123 – 6 off forty overs. Another middling score for the Gregson. How would the University respond?
Back in the mid-1980s Middlesex and England had John Emburey and Phil Edmonds – nicknamed the ‘spin twins’. Always keen to keep up with current trends, the Gregson bowling attack took the concept one step further by introducing the ‘spin quins’ – Wain Sr, Wain Jr, Murphy, Williamson and Metcalfe.
Five slow bowlers lined up against the opening pair of Theed and Aspinall. Wain Jr and Murphy were first to try their luck, and an early breakthrough saw Aspinall (17) well caught and bowled by Wain Jr. From then though, a steady stream of boundaries kept the score ticking along with one outstanding moment where Theed and Ahmed ran a five to the long on boundary.
Even when Theed (50*) graciously retired there was little relief for the bowlers as Smith (17*) and Ahmed (35*) kept up the pace to see the University take the match with only one wicket down in the 17th over.
As the Gregson shamefacedly retired to the pub to entertain the young whippersnappers who had given them such a drubbing there was but one consolation – in our day we didn’t have to pay to go to Uni…
Well played to Lancaster University – a good game played in a fun and friendly yet competitive manner. We hope to see you again later in the season.