Following an intense warm-up led by our resident strength and conditioning coach, Martin Cropper, we were given first use of the wicket in what felt like ideal conditions for batting. After a quiet ten overs we were 30-1 for the loss of Nick Round, well held at gully by their skipper. Fellow opener, Michael Howarth and captain, Dale Gabriel went about constructing a big stand with ease, picking up singles here and there and punishing the bad ball with regularity.
Mike was caught behind for 27, narrowly avoiding a well-earned drink break, before Dale was bowled six runs later for 45, swerving a sizeable collection which would have become very popular at around 7pm. This brought together the left-handed duo of Owen Collinge and Sam Price at 103-3, both of whom ran excellently between the wickets in putting on an important 50 before Pricey was adjudged leg before, a decision which was considered dubious at best.
What followed was an excellent display of counterattacking by three of the club’s brightest young all-rounders, Owen (41), Jake Walker (31) and Henry Doyle (28), taking the total from 156-4 to 258-6 in the remaining 12 overs. Jake’s straight drive down the ground and Henry’s pull over mid-wicket were the pick of the highlight reel but it was Owen’s knock which really held the innings together, showing calmness and composure above his years in helping us post an imposing total for the visitors to chase down.
It would probably be fair to say that going into the game our strength was in the bowling department, with Dale, Owen, Matthew Burdaky and Chris Round likely to bowl 40 of the 50 overs and then the remaining ten coming from some combination of Henry, Jake and our Aussie vet, Brad Wilson. As it turned out, only three of those options were required in a ruthless display seeing Crompton bowled out for 52.
Owen (3-12) and Birdy (3-23) ripped through the top order, reducing Crompton to 2-3 and then 12-4 before Chris came on to take 4-10. This was backed up by a brilliant fielding performance, including two excellent catches from Owen and Henry, rounding of the most comprehensive of victories.
The home fans were treated to a proper team performance, underpinned by the fact that no batsmen passed 50 and no bowler took five wickets. Credit must be given to Crompton for the way they conducted themselves in defeat and the busloads of fans they brought to support their boys.
Attention now turns to the league as we look to chase down Clitheroe. They’re due at Acre Bottom on August Bank Holiday, and if we’re still in touching distance I’d give us every chance of overhauling them and completing the double.