The conditions were not as one would hope for the week before the Solstice; cloudy, grey, and with a wind whipping across North Walls which removed the feeling from this correspondent’s fingers. But this did not deter the dozen Blades who took on St Giles in a 18-over encounter, with the Badger opting for the pen rather than the ball to keep the scoreboard going.
Hurst and Hamer made a brisk start, helped by a handful of wides and the game’s first boundary in the second over, and Blades were 11-0 after two. A misunderstanding between the batsmen in the third led to a run out which Hamer took with subdued grace, and Copplestone headed to the middle. In the seventh, what I believe is a first for the Blades – the first change bowler retiring hurt after four balls meaning an alternative had to complete his over as he headed to the pavilion. The scoreboard ticked along – occasional boundaries hard to come by with the rope one side a distant horizon and the pitch sporting a Beatlesque mop-top in places – and reached 46-2 at the halfway point. The tenth over saw Copplestone clock up his measured 25 including two fours in the over, and skipper Humphrey partnered Ellerby, following Reynold’s stumping but some miserly bowling kept runs at a premium. D Brown replaced Ellerby who was c&b, but was the innings’ second stumping a short while later. Kale’s one-run cameo ended by playing on and it was DOC Galpin who saw out the remaining over with Humphrey to bring the Blades total at the close to 87 for 6.
A tough total to defend, but Afzal and Galpin set about the St Giles openers, albeit in a revised order, and with a run out and two clean bowled the score stood at 12-3 after the fifth. That saw the arrival of their real top order however, one over alone seeing 2 fours and a six. Blades reacted well though and reasserted some authority. By the halfway point, with Terry and Humphrey coming into the attack, St Giles were 45-3; right on the rate. The big hitter retiring and a Humphrey lbw put the batsmen on the back foot again with only the occasional boundary between the dots and ones. Brown took a stumping from Terry in the 13th with the score at 65-5 and Ellerby’s spell started with a catch by Copplestone (despite the finger injury sustained in the second over). With two overs remaining, eight runs were needed; this correspondent was running out of nails to bite. St Giles saw the finish line approaching though and, chasing quick singles, only needed three from the last over. Ellerby started with a dot but a single and a two saw the visitors home in this thriller with three balls to spare. 88 for 6.
RESULT: St Giles WIN by 4 wickets
Champagne moment contenders:
Hamer’s javelin reaction to the run out
Copplestone’s Caught & Bowled