By Steven Elliott
Bish Bash! Grayson's back
With availability of players slowly improving the 3’s were boosted by the return of Aaron Grayson and Will Anderson to the team sheet, that being said we still had 5 under 18’s in the starting line up.
Mannofield won the toss and decided to bat first, with a lot of overnight rain the pitch was very green and not very firm! The theory being with more rain forecast the pitch was not going to get any better for the second innings.
As expected, the ball was doing plenty. The skipper and Indy battled it out for 7 over’s and put on a hard fought opening partnership of 34 before the former got a grubber!
Unfortunately Indy and Bash followed soon after and 34 – 0 became 42 for 3.
This brought Lewis and Aaron to the crease and the two teenagers set about occupying the crease and picking up runs from any loose deliveries.
Lewis was next to go and it was Natesh who picked up the pace and along with Aaron carved out a crucial partnership in what was surely going to be a low scoring affair given the ground conditions.
After 23 over’s Manno reached drinks at 100 – 4 a great platform had been set..
However not for the first time in the history of our great game a drinks break brought another wicket.
Due to the holy month of Ramadan 3 Crescent players were off the field completing their prayers so Aaron thought he would take advantage of the huge gaps in the outfield but somehow holed out to the one man in the deep.
It was a very good knock from Aaron who showed great patience in a well constructed 43.
Crescent were fielding well and holding some crucial catches.
From here the Mannofield innings somewhat reached a disappointing end with no late heroics, Danyal was not to repeat the fireworks from the previous week but did give us hope with a well struck six but was out trying to repeat the feat with yet another fine catch this time on the boundary.
Michael was the last man out in the 37th over, Manno had scored 139 valuable runs. The team would have to bowl and field very well to have a chance of victory.
The Crescent innings started about the same time as the rain and the players were soon off the field for a short weather break.
A Ahmed is the form batsmen for Crescent and it was vital we got him early to give us a chance, He reminded us all of his pedigree by hitting Michael back over his head for 6 from his first ball.
However they say catches win matches and what happened next was a very good example. Bash strayed slightly leg side and Ahmed latched onto it in a flash but only to find the safe hands of Calum fielding just behind square. It was an outstanding catch from someone who has spent the majority of the season with the gloves on.
Calum’s catch seemed to set the standard in the field and with Bash in inspired form with the ball Manno were looking good.
Bash cleaned up two more before removing the other opener via a good juggling catch from Aaron in the gulley.
He then completed his 5 fer by removing the Crescent captain.
It was a great bowling performance by the big Yorkshireman , he used the conditions perfectly and got us into a strong position.
Lewis replaced Michael and was quickly in on the act, aided by yet another good catch this time by Bash who had now had a hand in the first 6 wickets to fall.
Aaron replaced Bash once he had completed his 10 over spell and got a wicket in his first over to leave the home side reeling at 76 – 6 this time the catcher was Natesh.
It was at this point things started to turn against us, the rain started and although we tried to continue it eventually forced us off. Surely we would not be denied by the weather being this close to victory..
Fortunately we had the palatial surroundings of the away dressing room for us to keep a close eye on the weather, the rain although fairly heavy at times didn’t last too long.
However once the rain had stopped and upon inspection the wicket did seem a little soggy.
With only 3 wickets required we were confident we could wrap up the victory if only we could dry the pitch. Calum sacrificed his jumper to soak up the standing water (if only Duncan had been playing!) Clark was sent on an urgent shopping spree to the local pet store for more rabbit bedding and an hour or so later we were ready to resume.
Seam had to be replaced by spin, any slips would have been all that was needed as evidence that the conditions were unplayable.
Aaron continued and Charit replaced Lewis. Crescent needed 65 runs, we needed 3 wickets..
For some reason it was a different Mannofield that took to the field after the rain delay, perhaps it was nerves but chances were being spilled.
The 100 came up, no wickets. The 120 came up still no breakthrough, S Tahseen was seeing them through.
That was until he went for the big drive only to find the safe hands of Natesh in the covers. 122 – 8 it was too close to call. However now Crescent were the ones suffering from nerves, crazy singles were being attempted and it was Nathan who kept his cool and with the help of Danyal completed a run out for the ninth wicket (126 for 9).
Chances were still coming our way but we were unable to take them, Crescent were creeping to their target 6 needed surely they would target the small boundaries. 4 needed do we guard the boundary or stop the single?
3 to win, Aaron loops one up and temps the batsmen into an ill timed shot. Aaron takes the return catch and Mannofield win by two runs. Cue the celebration!
There were two outstanding individual performances from our team but in the end it was a team performance that won the game, it was one of those rare roller coaster games that could have gone any of the 3 ways, which is why we all love the game of cricket!
Special mention to Nathan Thangaraj and the Crescent team for a great game of cricket played in the right spirit and for completing the game.