The day before, the weather forecast had been for rain all day, but incredibly it was a glorious sunny evening for the first home fixture of the season. Blades handed debuts to three new summer signings, unveiling Dickie White, Kieran Humphrey and Paul Chamberlain to an anticipating near-capacity crowd. Blades batted first with their standard Farmer/Richardson pairing at the crease. The Knightwood Bowl boasts the longest boundary in Europe and as a result, there weren’t many fours, which kept the rate low. Farmer did manage to get a handful over the rope on the way to his retirement in the 9th over with the score on 49-0. Cue Humphrey for a quick 9, including a four to the longest boundary, before being caught. Whitear followed him in and out for 8, and two overs later Richardson was bowled for a steady 19. Blades were on 77-3 in the 14th, a fair rate given the rarity of boundaries. Hurst, combined with an impressive White – batting for the first time in twenty years – carried Blades to the end of the innings with an excellent 43 partnership, Blades achieving a defendable but achievable 110 for 3.
Galpin and Afzal opened the Blades attack, keeping Museums below the required rate, and when Galpin bowled the opener for the first wicket there were only 16 on the board after 5 overs. After seven overs and the first change they had accumulated only 23-1, and it was advantage Blades. Chamberlain replaced Afzal and bowled a wicket with the fourth ball of his Blades career, then Humphrey took a catch from Chamberlain’s second over. At the other end Whitear J was having a tougher time of it, but a wicket in the 11th meant that although the rate was beginning to climb, the wickets were also continuing to fall. The retirement of number three was a help to the Blades as when Whitear M and Humphrey took over the attack, Musos had hurried to 81-4 after 13. Seven overs to go, and thirty required. Humphrey’s debut over was a wicket maiden thanks to Galpin’s catch – just what Blades needed to halt Museums’ advance – and Whitear M allowed only 2 from his first over. Was the pendulum swinging back in favour of the Blades? Humphrey and Whitear M turned the screw – Humphrey bowled two more, and took a catch from Whitear M and as the light faded, so did Museums’ progress. The last seven overs amassed just 19 runs for the loss of four wickets, and even the return of number 3 from retirement in the 18th over was not enough. Aided by debutant Humphrey’s two wickets and two catches, Blades ensured a first victory of the season as Museums fell short at 100 for 8.
RESULT: Blades WIN by 10 runs
NOTE: It was very dark at the end. Please leave a comment if I mis-attributed any glory.
Champagne moment contenders:
White’s debut 15 n.o.
Humphrey’s two wickets and two catches
Farmer’s unbeaten 25
Two wickets for third debutant Chamberlain