Match Report Ramsbottom 1st XI v Lowerhouse 1st XI – (A) 2 July 2022
LCC 109 (47.5 overs) RCC 109 all out (34.5 overs)
The good, the bad and not quite as ugly as it could have been
In a game we dominated for 70% of the time we were eventually happy to come away with a tie and with the nine points that went with it.
On a green track and damp outfield it came as a slight surprise when the hosts decided to take first knock. However skipper Heap and Henry Cottam dug in against some good bowling with Heap taking advantage of any loose deliveries. With the score on 27 he sold Cottam “down the swannee” with a poor call for a single. What should have been an easy run out was nearly blown but for the quick thinking back up action of Dan Pyke.
By this time our pro Sen had been introduced into the attack and he immediately hit his straps. With the score on 31 he drew Paddy Martin forward, beat him in the flight and had him comprehensively stumped. Grimmy, bowling by far his best spell of the season, then claimed the prize wicket of Heap LBW. When he later bowled Charlie Cottam Lowerhouse had slipped to 39 for 4.
The Lowerhouse pro Steve Parry and Tom Walker then tried to retrieve the situation but found runs really hard to come by as we bowled and fielded really well. The pair took the score to 68 before Walker, trying to break the shackles, attempted to hit Sen over the top but only succeeded in lobbing a simple catch to Dale Gabriel at mid off.
Lowerhouse have a long batting line up and Dean Barlow is a fine batsman coming in at number 7. When Sen had Parry caught at slip he took it on himself to try and protect the remaining batsmen while picking up the score whenever possible. When he was last man out with the score on 109 he had made 27 out of the last 41 runs the home side had mustered.
Our bowling and fielding was all-round as good as it could possibly be. Sen was quite magnificent returning figures of 5 for 18 off his 15 overs and Grimmy’s figures of 2 for 27 off 13 overs were by far and away his best of the season. Both were ably backed up by Josh and Pykey. The only downside came when, with two balls before their innings ended, Jason Pyke suffered a hamstring injury which could keep him out of the side for a period.
Although only chasing 109 we knew this was not going to be easy on a wicket that was offering help to the bowlers.
JD and the Pin opened the innings and despite having to face appeals from nearly every ball (even when they middled it) they showed tremendous resolve running well together and dispatching the odd bad delivery they received. At 43 without loss we had recorded our best league opening partnership of the season, had both opening bowlers replaced and looked set to record a comfortable victory.
What happened next was hard to believe. First Jonny, then Alex, then Grimmy all got out to shots that can only be described as slogs, one bowled and the other two caught in the deep. With over 30 overs remaining this was poor batting and had the effect of invigorating the home side.
Sen then set about to trying to stem the tide and looked to be doing so. Despite losing Harry Caton he had reached 17 and looked in no trouble when Parry produced a beautiful arm ball and had him caught a slip. When Dale Gabriel fell at the same score we had been reduced to 67 for 6 and were definitely second favourites.
Brad Fielding and Jake Walker were the batsmen at the wicket. Brad has had a bit of a disaster of a season in red ball league cricket so our hopes were not really high. However, with one run to his name he hit the shot of the day driving Parry between mid on and midwicket for four. This spurred him on and he made a quick 17 before being brilliantly caught in the deep with the score on 85. Dan Pyke then joined Jake and the pair added 10 valuable runs, Jake with a massive six over midwicket and Pykey with a square cut four before the latter made the mistake of offering no stroke against Martin’s off spin and was adjudged LBW.
One run later Josh Dentith was brilliantly caught at slip off Parry and we were facing defeat. Jason Pyke is a good batter under normal circumstances but as he could hardly walk to the wicket it was clear he would be severely limited. Runners are still allowed in league cricket so this was a bonus for us.
Both batsmen managed a single leaving Jason to face Parry with one run required for a 5th bonus point. Off the 4th ball of the over Parry dropped the ball a fraction short and Jason late cut it for a much needed four.
Off the first ball of the next over Jake smashed Martin down the ground, just clearing the despairing arms of Hussain at deep mid off and going for a maximum six. The next ball he scored a single to tie the scores. Then next three deliveries were comfortably played by Jason but the final delivery was a low full toss which he smashed back only for Martin to take a fine diving catch to tie the game and give each side 9 points.
This left our supporters 50% frustrated and 50% relieved. Our bowling and fielding was very good but five of our batsmen threw their wickets away. After such a good start one of our early batsmen should have taken the responsibility of seeing us over the line. Sen had a really good game and would have been the man to do this but for being out to a real good delivery.
Our injuries continue to dog us with a massive weekend coming up. Jason looks likely to be out for a period while TP is struggling with his knee but intends to play.
Amateur Man of the Match – Jake Walker for displaying the audacity to hit 2 sixes in a critical time in the game and helping us get the vital tie.