And at last we start the season under the most glorious weather. Well actually we started last week but with both teams being washed out there were no games and that’s after the league management had decided to move all week 1 games scheduled for April 21st to September 22nd.
Anyway, it was a glorious day and the 1st team welcomed last years champions Fairburn, which Sharlston had not beaten since the title winning game of 2013. On a red-hot day 1st team captain Tom Craig won the toss and batted first. Himself and elder statesmen Dale McMullan went out to bat. They started brightly. Then after what seemed an eternity Guy Andy the Fairburn opening bowler sent his 9th delivery of the over and Dale smashed it straight to cover and was on his way back to the pavilion. Sharlston 12-1. In entered Steve Roberts. Himself and Tom put on 16 till he was wrongly given out caught behind off the bowling of Simon Abdy. He hit the floor and was also about 6inches away from the ball. Nevertheless, the umpire said he was out and he was on his way. Sharlston 28-2. Jack Rogers was next in and looked in good touch. He had just reached double figures when jack did not get forward the ball kept low and he was bowled by Fairburn’s other opening bowler Dan Fitzpatrick for 10. Sharlston 48-3. New signing Thilantha Perera or Tilly for short came in but Simon Abdy bowled a full toss and Tilly hit it straight to mid-off for a duck. Sharlston 51-4. In came Danny Bullock to partner Tom. Now with all these wickets falling, skipper Tom Craig had been slowly accumulating runs by putting the bad balls away. It ended when after a change of ends for Guy Abdy he got through the skipper’s defence and bowled him for a well made 34. This left Sharlston on 69-5 and then the wickets fell rather quickly. Byron Dean was next in and 3 balls later he was next out. Trying to pull the ball and only managed to top edge it to square leg where an easy catch was taken. Sharlston 69-6. Luke Reeves joined the middle and put 10runs on until the wrong call was made, and they turned for a 2nd and Luke was run out. Sharlston 79-7. Simon kemp went to the middle to face his former club. But Danny was caught inches off the ground by the fielder and Guy Abdy had his 3rd wicket in 2 overs and 4th overall. Robert Simpson went to the crease and saw the over out. Simon was then LBW to James Pugh as he missed a straight one. Sharlston 79-9. Tom Murray came in and got a 2 to cover off his 1st ball but the 2 balls later he was titled and bowled by James Pugh and Sharlston had made 81 in 23 overs. The lowest score posted against Fairburn and couple that with no win in last 8 against them it was a big, big ask in the 2nd half.
With only 81 to defend Sharlston had to take early wickets and hope that some how Fairburn would collapse like Sharlston did. Well after 3 balls they were 0-1 has Luke reeves enticed the Fairburn captain Ryan Greatrick to go over mid-on where the what can only be described as flying salmon Tom Murray took a brilliant one-handed catch. With the pitch being a little soft Sharlston opted to go spin at the other end and try something different with Dale McMullan. Dale was on the spot straight away and got reward when he got Jake Abdy caught behind with Byron Dean taking a smart catch stood up. Fairburn 9-2. Fairburn sent a young kid in but without troubling the score and departed by trying to hit over the tight infield of dale and was caught by jack Rogers at mid-on. Fairburn 13-3 and Sharlston were right in this game and momentum was starting to swing to the home side. Danny Murray came to the crease and a couple of loose balls by Dale and Luke cost a couple of boundaries, but Luke managed to trap Fairburn’s other opener LBW and he was on his way and now 21-4. The score did not move for the next 2 wickets either and Sharlston was right on top now. First Dale tempted Danny Murray to play across the line and bowled him. Next man in Mark Abdy suffered the same fate and was also bowled by Dale. Fairburn 21-6 and starting to crumble. A single was added but Luke returned to bowl Fairburn’s Brian Devine as he played on. Fairburn 22-7. Dan Fitzpatrick came to the crease and then departed as Dale picked up his 5th wicket trapping him LBW and leaving Fairburn 23-8 at drinks (15 overs). Drinks came and went and Sharlston wanted to finish this quickly. Luke was replaced by Tilly Perera after bowling 9 fantastic overs for 9 runs and bagging 3 wickets. Fairburn for 4-5 overs just played defensive cricket and picked up the odd single here and there and it looked like they would try and prolong their innings. But Tilly got one passed Guy Abdy and bowled him for 3. Fairburn now 9 down and the score was 42. It was ended in the next over by Dale when he trapped Simon Abdy LBW and Fairburn were all out for 42.
This was a marvellous bowling display from Luke and Dale, for the latter finished with figures of 6-16. The intensity from the home side in the field was fantastic and just showed the character that will be needed this season. The first team taking maximum points and staying unbeaten after 2 league games. Performances of the day were Tom Craig with his 34 that held the batting together, Dale McMullan with his 6-16 and Luke Reeves with 3-9. The 1st team are at home again in week 3 against Askern.
The 2nd team were away to newly formed Crofton Phoenix who were playing at the same ground as the old Crofton CC did. But this was a completely different side and setup and they won the toss and decided to bat. It started well for Sharlston as opening bowler Rich Broadbent trapped their opener LBW for 4 and Crofton were 13-1. A partnership of 40 for the 2nd wicket was broken by rich with a caught and bowled effort and Crofton were 53-2 which soon became 57-3 with a mix up which ended in a run out. Crofton started to rebuild slowly but was halted when Sachin Karan enticed the batsman to go aerial and was caught by Billy White. And Crofton were 76-4. Aamir Siddique came and hit a boundary off Sachin but the Sachin bowled him, and Crofton was 80-5. Sachin then picked up his 3rd wicket by getting the next batsmen caught behind. Crofton were 98-6 and Sharlston were looking to wrap it up for around 120. Stuart Taylor picked up Sharlston’s 7th wicket having the batsmen caught by Colin Scattergood leaving Crofton 104-7. With things going so well the Crofton batsman then countered and put on 50 before Stuart Taylor bowled Muhammad Abrar. They continued this, and they ended the innings on 192-8.
Sharlston started their innings brightly with Danny Rowett and Colin Scattergood putting on 30 before Colin was bowled for 13. Sachin was next man out, but he was bowled by Crofton’s Muhammad Abrar for 0 and Sharlston was quickly 2 down. Sharlston started to lose wickets at regular intervals. Captain Ant Maskill was caught for 5. Danny Rowett was lbw for a well made 23. Stuart Taylor was bowled for 6 and Tom Maskill was caught for 0 and Sharlston were 50-6. Rich Broadbent made 10 before he was stumped and became Muhammad Abrar’s 7th victim. Billy White was caught for 1 and the veteran Graham Jarvis was run out for 0. The even older Phil Broadbent was left stranded on 0 as Luke Rogers was unable to bat. Sharlston was eventually all out for 62.
It was a sad end to what had been a bright start and Sharlston only coming away with 2 bonus bowling points.
An eventful first day of the season proper. Onto next week where the 1st team are at home to Askern and the 2nd team are away at Normanton.