MDAFs: 261/9 off 50
Edinburgh Accies: 145/10 off 32.4

Another day, another match on the road for the 1s, up against local punters Edinburgh Accies. With current form slightly lacking and off the back of 4 consecutive losses, the mood was tense and the squad new that we needed the double over Accies to stay in contention.

The toss was lost by Phil and MDAFs were asked to put the pads on, on what looked a halfway decent wicket, with a lightning outfield… an interesting choice by the Accies skipper who only had 9 players at his disposal. R Beretta & L Mulholland padded up and we were away….

Lewis & Russ looked steady at the crease, with Russell finding the boundaries relatively easily – his first 3 scoring shots, all boundaries. Lewis starting a little more conservatively, but the scoreboard ticked along until the 11th over when Russell was trapped in front, LBW to A Ali for a decent 20 off 29 deliveries. 39/1 after 11, the openers had seen off the new ball & A Venkatesh was next in to see what damage he could inflict on a ground he is fairly familiar with. Lewis & Anand continued to tick the scoreboard over, but it was Lewis that took the aggressive initiative, with a run of boundaries and a 6 to add 30 runs in the next 5 overs before he was caught A Francis, bowled L Mann for a solid 39 off 68.

With the score at 66/2, the skipper was sent out to partner up with Anand and whilst Venkatesh took the scoring initiative to allow Hawkins to get his eye in, he only managed 2 boundaries in a couple of overs before being caught J Thornton, bowled L Mann for 14 off 11.

77/3 after 18 overs, slightly behind on where we wanted to be on run rate, but still a few batsmen in the shed.

S Fergusson came to the crease at no. 5 with P Hawkins on 4 – so a re-build was in order. A fairly conservative start, with Fergusson surviving an early caught behind scare when the Keeper dropped a sitter with Sam on 3… Checking the pace, the movement in the air and testing the field where necessary saw the run rate move up to 5 an over. With a boundary ball every over and our training ground tactics of pushing the single into the gaps Hawkins & Fergusson got more comfortable at the crease and ticked it over at that rate for the next 16 overs – a great middle order partnership of 72 from 16 overs, exactly what the Dr ordered (as well as some genuinely terrible fielding). Hawkins eventually caught by H Khan off R Kansara for a steadfast and well-constructed 55 ball 20 (he thinks its slow, but I still maintain his holding an end was vital to this partnership and key to setting up the middle lower order for a swing).

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, A Rhode walked to the crease with intent in his eyes, a steely determination and confidence to get a good score on the board… and within facing 4 balls, his first boundary came up. Unfortunately, the Rhode/Fergusson Partnership was broken a mere 1 over later as Fergusson fell for a 46 ball 50, trapped LBW by F Muhammed, with a “tantrum of the year” award beckoning… (he apologises to everyone that saw this, including innocent bystanders).

A Dow joined Ash at the crease and both continued on adding a 5 an over 40 to the score before Dow fell to Muhammed, another LBW for 16.

P Hook was sent in as the specialist cameo hitter and did not disappoint, throwing caution to the wind hitting his first delivery to the boundary. Ash joined in on the fun and within the next 4 overs, the score was up to 228 (9 an over for this partnership). A number of boundaries and brilliant 6 from Ash, keeping the crowd entertained. Unfortunately, Hook, who played his part well, decided to go one too many and holed out in the deep for a respectable 13 ball 16. G Poole came to the crease and departed without troubling the scorers, LBW to A Ali – even though he was a significant way down the crease! With the score on 231, we wanted to push to 250 as N Yelland joined Ash. Ash bought up his 50, carted the bowling about the park and genuinely entertained everyone except the, now demoralised, Accies attack. Neil was run out pushing for one too many in the final over, but the damage was done – W Griffith coming out to watch Ash close out the innings unbeaten on a 49 ball 70 – total, 261… formidable even on a good track.

L Mulholland: 39

S Fergusson: 50

A Rhode: 70*

Half an hour later, a nice tea and some sunshine, we donned the whites and went out to field and defend out total. Requiring 5 an over from the get go, we knew what Accies needed to do, we knew that we had to bowl tight lines and force mistakes.

Poole and Griffith took the new ball and did not disappoint, Gav with a maiden first up and Willy G taking the scalp of an opener in his first (J Thornton, caught by Ash at Point) we were off to exactly the start we wanted! However, the next 2 batsmen enjoyed the pace on the ball and took a few boundaries off the next overs taking the score to 37 inside 8 overs before the next wicket fell, A Cosh, to Willy G trapped LBW. A key batsman in the Accies line up and top scorer Division 1 last year!

Gav was unlucky not to pick up wickets, but did what any good opening bowler would want, bowled tight lines and went under the rate at 4 an over for a 5 over spell, 0 – 22, providing adequate back up to Willy’s swing bowling.

Neil came in to replace Gav at the pavilion end and thoughts of Wednesday first over in the Parks must have gone through his mind has his first delivery went to the boundary. However, he recovered well, controlled the swing and within 4 deliveries had his first scalp – Bendixen caught behind. 59/3 off 11 – 20 runs and 3 wickets behind where were at the same time… a great start!

The 4th wicket to fall happened a mere 3 overs later, Willy picking up his 3rd, caught by Dow in short cover – a key batsman (U Saeed) who had scored a run a ball 32. 2 new batsmen at the crease and a change of bowling from the pavilion end after Neil’s economic 4-1-12-1 bought key all-rounder, Ash into the fray. A change at the Park End, bought P Hook on to replace Willy after a superb opening set of 8-3-29-3. The next few overs went for very little adding only a mere 20 runs before the next wicket fell at 82 (F Muhammed), Ash’s 1st of the day, clean bowling the turncoat batsman. 82/5 after 21, a total of 261 seeming a very VERY long way away.

The next over, P Hook picked up a wicket, utilising some superb inswinging action trapping A Francis LBW… both bowlers now seeing a crack in the foundations! Or so we thought… 84/6.

Phil’s wicket bought A Amir to the crease and without wanting to sound too harsh, it was an innings most batsman critics would want to forget… “swing away” must have been the instructions from the sheds and to be fair it worked – Amir hitting 5 boundaries and 2 6s in his 26 ball 40 along with H Khan they pushed the score to 140 (just shy of 10 an over for the partnership). But persistence paid off for Ash, taking the important wicket of Amir, slogging one too many and missing the important one – bowled! 140/7.

The scorebook would reflect that we were well and truly into the tail now, with number 7, H Khan getting caught by Yelland in the deep of Anand’s bowling – welcoming Batman back into the wickets after a bit of a dry spell. 141/8.  Ash then took the remaining 2 wickets for a total of 4 runs: A Ali, LBW and R Kansara caught by Phil behind the stumps – skittling the oppo for a paltry 145.

The afternoon was not without it’s casualties though as Willy G, in the process of chasing a ball down to the boundary, tripped over his own feet and like a baby giraffe trying to gain its balance, fell to the ground in a heap… as comical as it looked, he actually did some pretty hefty damage, breaking his shoulder in the process. We wish you the best and a speedy recover mate!!

G Poole: 5-1-22-0

W Griffith: 8-3-29-3

N Yelland: 4-1-12-1

P Hook: 6-0-39-1

A Rhode: 7.4-0-31-4

A Venkatesh: 2-1-4-1

This game showed what we can do if we set ourselves up to bat the full 50 – a great all round performance and I think everyone would agree, Mr Rhode gets MoM! UTM off to the next one against Edinburgh CC at Home.

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