Sunday XI v The Stage - 14th September 2014

Sunday XI v The Stage - 14th September 2014

Sunday XI v The Stage - 14th September 2014
16 Sep
Sunday XI v The Stage - 14th September 2014
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2014

After getting gate crashed by GT's Facebook version, here is the official Reaper report of Sunday's action. The Stage were the visitors for the last Sunday game, and indeed the final game, of the season. Skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in batting upon winning the toss. M&B's openers were regular exponent, Willam Cunliffe, and make shift partner, Ahmed Talal. Their modus operandi said as much, Cunliffe's text book drives through extra cover compared to Talal's shovels and scythes to leg, albeit one went for six over widish mid-on ! Talal got the innings off to a brisk start with 34 on the board before his departure in the sixth over. M&B were soon on the back foot again, as once prolific batsman, Yusuf, now 30, Qureshi was dismissed 5th ball, courtesy of a tumbling catch by the keeper(expertly photographed by Mr Giri) for a duck, making a meagre 5 runs in his last 3 innings in the SPL. A response was provided by keeper Brian Dixon and Cunliffe, who then posted 76 for the 3rd wicket in 15 overs to bring M & B back into the game. Dixon was fluent around the wicket and ran well with Cunliffe. Just when thoughts of a maiden fifty for the club germinated, they were nipped in the bud, as he missed a full toss whilst swinging to leg. Cunliffe went on his merry way driving and pulling with gay abandon. Alas a first ton for M&B was not to be as he edged behind on 64, to finish his season on a bright note. The remainder of the innings resulted in steady contributions of 15 from Mr Giri, 17 from GT, 19 from Gunbarul and a season's best of 27 from Waffle / Muffin. His 27 brought back memories of when he could actually bat, the highlight being a flick over widish mid-wicket for 4. In the end Armstrong was happy to take 208 for 7 off their 40 over allocation.

For the second week running Gunbarul and Chris Lowe took the new prune as Armstrong looked for early inroads. The Stage's openers, skipper Owen Oldroyd and Davis had other ideas as they blunted M & B's attack. Oldroyd was the aggressor, playing shots all round the wicket and taking the singles as the field was pushed back. Oldroyd used Gunbarul's pace to pierce the offside boundary with cuts and drives, which crashed to the boundary. The openers found Lowe's lessor pace harder to get away. After a poor couple of early overs, Lowe found his range and finished with tidy figures of 8/1/33/0. For once the usual first change bowlers were unable to stem the flow of runs or make any inroads. Although Waffle found away swing he was too short and was cut, driven and guided through the off side. Senior spinner Butler was never at the races, not finding a proper length and was cut and swept to pieces, resulting in him being withdrawn from the attack to prevent further punishment.

The Stage openers went on their merry way, Oldroyd playing a proper innings and Davis riding his luck by just clearing the field on numerous occasions, to be fair though he did play some good shots and ran well with Oldroyd. Ginger Tom should have had Davis caught at extra cover but Waffle put down a sitter, albeit he alleged he was Manfred

Manned(blinded by the light), but it was hit at such speed he could have adjusted his position to take the catch. Oldroyd reached his well deserved century with a drive to mid-on, which was misfielded and went to the boundary. Upon reaching his century he returned to the clubhouse retired hurt, apparently with an aching back, but more likely to give someone else a go with the job almost done. Unfortunately none of the other Stage batsmen were able to hit the ball off the square and so ensued a nail biting finale, which coincided with the introduction of Mr Giri to the attack, who in conjunction with skipper Armstrong put the squeeze on. Mr Giri bowling a full length, allied to a skiddy action, and fading light proved a real handful. He claimed the first actual wicket on 178 as he castled the no. 3 who stepped away trying to hit over the offside. Armstrong then struck in the next over to keep M & B in the hunt. Mr Giri bowled out at the River End, gaining one further wicket courtesy of a yorker, as the batsman looked to hit to leg. Giri finished his mini spell with excellent figures of 4/1/13/2. Armstrong bowled out at his beloved Road End with figures of 8/1/35/1, to leave him with a final tally of 54 victims for the season. Armstrong gave the final over to Gunbarul to try and defend 8 with undefeated opener Davis on strike. A short wide ball was upper cut over point for 4 to seemingly finish the game, Davis though missed a full ball on leg stump to leave a run a ball off the final four deliveries. Gunbarul then found his range, bowling full balls wide of off stump, which Davis swung at instead of placing, which resulted in three strikes and misses. In the end a boundary was required off the last ball, whereupon all the fielders descended upon the boundary rope, Davis managed to make contact with the final delivery but could only reach deep extra cover to leave M & B the victors by 2 runs ! Skipper Armstrong noticed opposing skipper Oldroyd still padded up and waiting to return, unfortunately for him another wicket never fell ! Opener Davis carried his bat in the end for 85no but it was M & B who ended up the victors by 2 runs in a strange ending to the game and season.

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