RAMSBOTTOM beat WALSHAW by 61 runs APRIL 3 2021

RAMSBOTTOM beat EDENFIELD by 61 runs APRIL 4 2021

When the fixtures were planned for the first week of April there were a few of us who thought the chances of playing, even if we were freed from the cursed lockdown were slim to non-existent. So, it was a pleasant surprise, to arrive at Acre Bottom to find that the globe had warmed enough to allow the ground staff to prepare a lovely wicket for the occasion.

With no spectators allowed and rumours of an ECB Apache helicopter patrolling the air space to enforce the ban it fell upon the Chair and Secretary to challenge and politely evict anyone not in white who wondered onto the ground. Paddy saw off the skate boarders and Max got to four lads before they had time to decant the first of six three litre bottles of Cider. It’s not clear that either group would have been aware that there was a game of cricket going on so they possibly weren’t in breach. However, neither could shake off a man in a purple Astra who responded to each challenge by reversing a further inch behind the brilliant white perimeter wall, sliding down his seat and presumably watching through his wing mirror. One guy who was authorised to attend was the Walshaw Chair, complete with folder and clipboard, Mick Mills looking not a day younger or sounding a note quieter than when he played with us thirty years ago. The players approach to tea was also illuminating as those who had brought the odd morsal were more than outweighed by those who hadn’t leading to a runner being dispatched to Morrison’s for some chicken. Round Major took no chances and returned with three fully basted cooked birds, two and a half of which remained unmolested as the players took the field in the second innings.

There was a certain symmetry to both games. Two tosses won. Two decisions to bat first. Two fifties for the Pro (68 & 72) in two totals over 200 leading to two victories by 61 runs each. Daryn Smit was ably assisted by Harry Caton (40), Simon Hanson (39) and Brad Fielding (38) against Walshaw on Saturday then Kieran Grimshaw (70) and Jake Clarke (31) the next day versus Edenfield.

On the bowling front, the Walshaw batsman never looked close to reaching their goal as Daryn spread the bowling around to give as many opportunities as possible to the lads before the season starts. Daryn and Jake both took 3 wickets, ably supported by Henry Doyle.

Against Edenfield, with Daryn keeping in Harry’s absence, the bowling was one again shared around with Josh Dentith and Jake Clarke taking 3 each – Josh taking the danger man Gallagher. With a short boundary and Baltic conditions this was a real test for our 7-man bowling attack. Special mention has to go out to the hand warmers that were in grateful supply and Ed Lee who came on at the end, when the game was far from over, and returned 1 wicket from his four overs for just 8 runs.