Following the return of Moradi on tour last month, the retro feel to the season continued at this 20-over clash between Blades and Brookfield. Hot dry weather like it’s 1976? Check. Andy Rhodes turning out for the Blades like it’s 2002? Check.
Blades batted first with Humphrey and Copplestone making a steady start to reach 18-0 from the first four overs, then hitting 15 from the fifth. Advantage Blades early doors. But cricket is nothing if not a game of pendulums. Humphrey was bowed for 14 next over, and the bowling change slowed the rate again. Reynolds partnered Copplestone to his retirement for 25, and by halfway Blades had crept to 51-1. Hurst replaced him at the crease and knocked a well-earned 17 while those at the other end, after Reynolds was bowled for 9, didn’t get much joy from the increasingly miserly Brookfield attack.
When Rhodes hopes of a dream run-loaded return were dashed by a catch behind, Meering took to the middle and managed to eek 9 from his innings but the rest of the lower order found runs harder to come by and a two-wicket maiden for the final over gave Blades a total of 86 for 7
Whatever way you looked at it, a target of 87 from 20 is not an onerous task, and Blades would need to be on their game from the very start in the field if they were to stand a chance.
Luckily, they had Afzal and Galpin as their first line attack. Galpin took first blood in the second over with the score on 3, whilst Brookfield didn’t manage their first boundary until the fourth. A wicket maiden from Afzal in the seventh underlined the screw-turning and by the end of the pair’s spell, Brookfield had only crept to only 22-2 after eight.
Terry and Copplestone took up the challenge of taking over where A&G had left off, and while more runs came, so did wickets and the total stood at 41-4 at the halfway point; below the required rate, but a few boundaries would put them back on course.
And a few boundaries was what they managed. Along with a upturn in the amount of singles and quick running, the target was beginning to look ever more gettable. There were highlights in the field – Hurst’s second catch was a peach from a six-or-out thwack to the long on rope, and Rhodes sprinted around the field with a pace that belied his extended absence – but the advantage was now with Brookfield who were eyeing the chequered flag with growing excitement. Barry Bazza The Barrier Meering wasn’t going to let the game get away from Blades on his watch, bowling on the spot as the light faded, but his brave resistance was too little too late. Brookfield needed only a dozen runs from the last five overs and it is to Blades credit that it took until the latter half of the nineteenth before the target was reached. In the end the Blades total was just that little bit too small, and maybe if one or two of the catch half-chances had been a few inches to the left or right it would have been enough. But in the inaugural Blades vs Brookfield game, honours went to the visitors thanks to their total of 87 for 6
RESULT: Brookfield WIN by 4 wickets
Champagne moment contenders:
Afzal’s wicket maiden
Hurtst’s catch plucked from the air on the rope