Saturday 4th August 2019
1sts vs Attock at John Findlay Memorial Ground
On Saturday the Firsts met a team with promotion ambitions. The day was cloudy with a forecast of possible rain in the late afternoon. Attock won the toss and elected to bat. It is understood that the wicket was being used for the fifth match due to poor weather earlier in the week preventing preparation of a new wicket. It was a ‘tired’ wicket and variations in bounce were evident throughout the match.
Attock made an aggressive start. They always do. They were not going to be the victims of the sort of scores other teams have achieved against Walmley this season. Boundaries came in all directions, particularly behind the wicket as the Attock batsmen made full use of the edges of their bats, somehow avoiding the slips. All the evidence was that Attock were going to achieve a score of 300 plus. However, a smart stumping of the Attock opener (78) by Dan Bevan, three good, (or even excellent) catches by Roshan Balaji and some disciplined bowling lowered the scoring rate and Attock were eventually dismissed in the 50th over for 207: marginally more than 4 an over. Fahim Jan took 4 for 56 and Jono Newis took 3 for 34. Dan Bevan’s keeping on an untrustworthy wicket deserves mention. He did not concede a bye.
The Walmley innings started badly. Mo Sheikh was the victim of a direct hit from mid on while scrambling for a quick single off the second ball of the innings. Unfortunately this was just the start of the problems for Walmley as their batsmen struggled to reach double figures.
Bhatti played a patient innings, holding his end up as his partners came, and unfortunately went again rather quickly leaving him little choice but to play safe and preserve his wicket. The run rate crept up, but not so high as to not be achievable had there been wickets in hand. Sadly there were not, and in trying to push the rate along Bhatti eventually fell on 76 to close the innings with 27 balls remaining. If he’d remained at the wicket another 3 balls, Walmley would have been awarded 18 penalty runs since Attock had not bowled their overs in the alloted 200 minutes. In the end it didn’t matter. The game was lost and the extra runs would not have affected the points awarded.
So where does that leave us? Bedworth are again top of the league, 11 points ahead of us. Attock are 20 points behind us.
Bedworth have had some very close matches recently, scraping to victory in the final overs of the match. Will their luck hold out for the rest of the season against some tough opposition? We’ll see.
Next week Bedworth play 4th placed Coventry and North Warwick in the last of the win-lose matches. After a shaky start to the season, Coventry and North Warwick have found their form, winning their last four matches included against Attock, so it should prove a tough match for Bedworth.
The week after, the league returns to the win-lose-draw format, and it’s Bedworth’s turn to meet Attock. We’ve seen what Attock can do, and with their opening bowling attack decimating the opposition recently, it’s going to be another interesting match.
Walmley does not meet Bedworth until the penultimate match of the league on the 31st August.
With six matches to come and so few points in it at the top of the league, it’s not clear as to who will reach the play-offs against the winners of the Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire leagues. Of course, my money would be on Walmley if I were a betting woman.
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