Report by: Alex Mackay
In contrast to our regular Saturday skipper’s situation, we were very much hoping for a positive result which would lead to a potential promotion push.
Turning up to Tudor Drive with the standard wet weather, with only 10 players available, it is safe to say not all were keen to get the game on. Ignoring the requests to try and get the game off, stand in captain Mackay took to the field to contest the toss on what was a remarkably dry pitch. As standard the toss was lost, and AMY decided to bat first.
Without key frontline bowlers (mainly Charlie, not you Chip :-D), Mackay and Bhups opened the bowling. Mackay taking a wicket with his second ball and some steady bowling from Bhups meant a solid start for the Hill. Some lovely stroke play from their number 3 and some lucky slogging from their opener increased the run rate but Hill were still very much competing. Before the end of the opening spells, Mackay picked up the opener – a fine catch at gully by Ian.
Change bowlers Ian and Elliot were introduced and bowled excellent spells with little luck to start. Particularly Els who bowled the perfect leg spinner which was smacked to Stupples behind the stumps. In customary SCL style the batsman didn’t walk, and the umpire gave a solid not out. Els and Stupples were a little bit more than annoyed and with Damon in the team it was safe to say the batsman was aware of our opinions on the situation.
Ian picked up what looked like their main batsman (caught at deep mid-wicket – it has happened to us all) with a great catch from Els. It went high and was swirling in the wind. A great catch which not many would have held onto.
Some steady bowling and batting meant a game that was still in the balance but as the innings went on the lack of an 11th player started to show as the batsman smartly knocked it around on a big outfield. Must be said we stuck at it and everyone put a real shift in. Particular mention going to Damon having to run to third man regularly to gather the edges.
When the number 4 was finally out (for the 2nd time) the game had started to slip away, as they finished on 246 for 8. Notable bowling performance from Daf as he bowled a tidy 4 overs on his return from injury. Els and Ian bowled excellent spells with little luck. With 11 players I am sure some of their lofty shots which fell between fielders may have been taken. Clare bowled a mixed bag but taking the important wicket (for the 2nd time) of their main stay batsman gave us a glimmer of hope at the interval.
2 catches and a stumping from Stupples have put it up the top of the league stats for dismissals and cemented his place as the top keeper in the league.
With the football looming a quick turnaround was in order, which credit to AMY they were happy to support.
Form players Bhups and Stupples opened the innings. Impressive bowling meant it was very tricky to score. Both Bhups and Stupples tried but ultimately the pitch had slowed significantly, and the innings struggled to gain any momentum.
With the pressure building Stupples went for a big shot off the spinner and nicked one behind which somehow the keeper hung onto. With the antics earlier in the day, Stupples seriously considered not walking but credit to him he did the right thing and Park Hill remain the moral winners on the day.
Mackay joined Bhups at the crease but like Stupples, both struggled to get the ball away with some tight bowling. With the curse broken of previous years, both Mackay and Bhups still felt there was a very feint chance of victory if they were able to stick in and try and smash the change bowlers. It must be said AMY were very negative and at many points during the partnership only had 2 fielders not on the boundary. Disappointing to see tactics like this but strangely it is within the rules. Moving on…..Bhups & Mackay knocked the ball around and punished the bad ball but ultimately 246 was always a bridge too far. The target soon became 180 to try and secure maximum batting points. Bhups fell for a well made 57 (another excellent knock) which brought Damon to the crease who looked solid and supported Mackay to ensure we made the target of 180. Mackay finishing 66* and Damon 6*.
All in all, it was a good team effort but ultimately missing a player, and a blatant caught behind not being given we were always on the back foot. We competed well and showed we are more than capable of finishing high up the league table.
Thank you to Tyler and Clare for stepping in!
Up the Hill
Scorecard: Park Hill CC (play-cricket.com)