Silverdale XI vs. Gregson CC

20 April 2019 – at Silverdale CC

Gregson won the toss and elected to field

A week may be a long time in politics, but six days is an eternity for the British weather. After the Arctic conditions of last week’s visit to Trimpell, the Gregson CC relocated to an almost Mediterranean Silverdale to find their opposition embarking on professional fielding drills. Eyebrows were raised, the first lager of the day cracked open, and seats taken to watch and learn how actual league teams prepare for a cricket match.

Having won the toss and elected to field, the Gregson responded to the fielding challenge with their own practice session – catches dropped, balls thrown way over the head of the keeper, and complaints about old age and dodgy backs as they bent down to retrieve the ball were the order of the day.

It was therefore with some confidence then that J Mason and Letcher strolled out to start the innings for Silverdale. A confidence that was not misplaced. Bowling the unusual opening partnership of Deighton and Moulsdale, the Silverdale openers started well, demonstrating drives and pulls with aplomb on a good wicket, although one that occasionally encouraged the ball to keep low.

Deighton made the initial breakthrough as J Mason (12) mistimed a drive to mid-off, where Sumsion took a good, low down catch. After taking some heavy punishment in his first three overs, the wily old fox that is Moulsdale soon changed his line and was rewarded by seeing the bails come off as Letcher (29) played around the off cutter.

With Connor and Greenall at the crease, the scoring picked up again, with bowlers Pye and Murphy forced to face the brunt of the attack. Apparently, Silverdale is the only cricket ground in the United Kingdom whose boundary runs along on a county line and Murphy had the rare, but undesired, achievement of delivering three consecutive balls that started in Lancashire but ended up in Cumbria.

After Pye bowled Connor for 33, Greenall had graciously retired for 50, and P Mason (15) had been bowled by Sutton’s off spin, Forster and Graham took up the attacking reins. Murphy eventually received redemption as Graham (21) was caught on the long off boundary by Sutton, who then returned to bowl at the lower order with some success. Morkem (7), Entwistle (0) and Burrow (0) were all deceived by Sutton’s flight and it was left to Forster (41*) and Belcher (2*) to close out Silverdale’s 35 over innings on a more than respectable 219 – 9.

After a sumptuous tea in the sunshine, it was the Gregson’s chance to respond. Debutants have seen mixed fortunes for the Gregson. One thinks of Newiss’ splendid 50 at Reds and Greens two years ago, but also ‘Hilda’s’ consecutive ducks in a row last year. It was with some trepidation then as Powell took to the field after winning his Gregson cap. There was little to fear however as he and Hughes (together with a plethora of byes) put on an opening stand of 53 before Hughes (15) was trapped lbw by Graham and Powell (26) was caught by Greenall off the bowling of Letcher the next over.

Ably supported by Barker, Sumsion (17) played with his usual freedom until he was caught by Connor to provide a brace of wickets for Graham. As Sutton strode into bat, Hughes, puffing gently on his roll-up, vocalised his thoughts on the lack of ducks for the Gregson so far this season. The cricketing Gods despise such hubris and it was with a sense of inevitability that Barker’s call for a quick single left Sutton (0) stranded by a good few yards as a thunderbolt of a throw came in and demolished the non-strikers end.

Barker (14), clearly keen to get back to the pavilion to explain his actions, fell soon afterwards to the bowling of Morkem, as did Morrison (11) who, after a delightful boundary through the covers, pulled a short delivery onto his shoulder where it looped into the diving gloves of the keeper.

Pye (1), fell lbw to Greenall and Murphy (1), who batted a long time and was unlucky in continually picking out the field with his shots, was caught by Connor, again off the bowling of Morkem. Deighton (0) delivered the first golden duck of the season as he reached far and wide outside his off stump to be caught at point, and Moulsdale fell soon afterwards, lbw to Burrow, leaving the permanently not out McAllister on 9.

Although extras (30) top scored, the Gregson did not disgrace themselves in reaching a creditable 124 against league players clearly a skill and commitment level or two above those they normally face.

Silverdale is a wonderful ground to play cricket on, enhanced not only by the unusually hot and sunny conditions on the day, but by the friendliness and hospitality of the Silverdale players and the large contingent of friends and family they brought with them.

Good luck from the Gregson for your season ahead, and we hope to provide you with some more early season match practice next year.

Ra Ra!

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