A Wednesday night, a week before the summer solstice. No rain for three days. A warm sunny day that lightly clouded over at about 5.50pm. The day after a famous England Test victory. If you were designing an evening on a drawing board that was perfect for cricket, this is what you’d come up with. Your plan wouldn’t include Afzal withdrawing due to illness at the last minute and Academy product Hamer B having a twisted ankle, but seldom do all the cricketing planets align. Thus it was 10 Blades, including new signing Harry Singh that batted first.
Pitch one at the Sporty has a boundary so wide even Jonny Bairstow would struggle to reach it and the Blades openers were forced to run every single one of their 7 from the first three overs. With Hamer K bowled in the fourth and Marsh run out in the fifth, Blades were looking to do this the hard way. Even more so in the sixth when a mix up was Rhodes run out and Farmer caught, the latter surprised to see Singh joining him on the trudge back to the pavilion, having injured an ankle that needed the services of A&E. 12 for 4, effectively for 5, after six overs wasn’t in the blueprint. Kumar twunked the first four of the night before being caught in the eighth over.
Cue Galpin and Hurst steadying the ship and stopping the collapse, but despite some fine stroke play, finding runs hard to come by. The eleventh over saw a classic ChamMo contender – Galpin set off for a straightforward single and was a yard shy of grounding his bat when Hurst, still in his crease, turned him back. A charge back to the striker’s end saw Galpin safely home, having run 43.5 yards for no score.
Galpin was bowled in the 13th for total of 4 that deserved more, and Meering joined Hurst at the crease. The pair set about what I’ll generously call a widely shared out bowling attack which allowed Tras to get amongst it too. In the sixteenth, the reason for Hurst’s reluctance to run became apparent when he called for Rhodes to cover his Dashing Duties, having sustained an injury. It rained fours in the latter overs before Hurst became the second Retired Hurt of the match – a first for the Blades, and Hamer B joined Meering at the crease to demonstrate his batting ability.
A combination of a huge pitch, some accurate bowling and a pandemic of injuries had kept the scoring down though and despite Meering and Hurst both in double figures the Blades totalled a below-par 69-6.
So, a mountain to climb but Blades reached base camp in the first over as Hamer K caught the opener for 2 off the bowling of Kumar. The batsmen set about Hamer B, finding the boundary with big shots, and even Kumar was hit for 10 in his third over. Swashes were being buckled in the middle, and buckles swashed into the bargain and after just five overs, Shirley had rushed to 35-1, halfway to their target. Rhodes came in for the same treatment and the number two retired in the sixth, to be followed by the number three by way of a huge straight six. Shirley had motored to 60-1 after eight, neediNg ten to win from twelve overs.
Right on cue, Galpin stepped up and bowled a maiden. Shirley had promoted their own Academy product up the order and her batting, along with the batsmen at the other end leaving her a generous share of the strike, brought the scoring rate right down but with wickets and overs in their hands, it was only a matter of time. Galpin’s third over was also a maiden but the slow accumulation of runs was completed with a huge four in the fifteenth and the inevitable Shirley win came with a total of 71-1.
RESULT: BLADES LOSE BY 9 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Galpin running two on his won for no score
Meering’s hard low four
Galpin’s first over maiden