No upset at Lupset
For the first time in four weeks in this rain sodden summer fading memories of Saturday rituals had to be reawakened as cricket was once again possible. To ensure that all those involved did not get too carried away there were two breaks in play as heavy showers reminded everyone that normality had not yet fully returned. These resulted in delays of about half an hour after twelve overs and just over ten minutes after a further four.
W Ahmed was quickly amongst the wickets for the hosts as Nathan Appleyard, having got off the mark with a well timed cover drive from his first ball, was bowled by his fifth. Richard Briggs joined Chris Flanagan and opened his account with a well executed square cut to the boundary. Timing was all as it quickly reached the distant target on this large ground. Almost twenty minutes of watchful endeavour followed before he became Ahmed?s second victim, bowled without addition to his score leaving Thurstonland on 20/2.
Chris Flanagan was playing watchfully on a wicket where the occasional delivery kept low. He had moved on to eleven when he called for a quick single and Tom Broom, a little slow out of the blocks, was run out in spite of a despairing dive. Next ball Ashley Armitage, making his seasonal first team debut, was adjudged lbw to Ahmed although there appeared to be a hint of an inside edge. Once again this season the innings was in ruins and an uphill struggle beckoned. Neil Booth had barely started his innings when the first rain interruption came at 25/4.
He was still there when the next stoppage came as he and Chris battled for runs. At least 34/4 looked marginally better but on the second resumption Neil was bowled by Z Shah for six. Ryan Hunter hit one four before becoming Ahmed?s fourth victim and when Shah trapped Greg Holmes lbw for nought Jordan Thackray joined Chris with the total an anaemic 42/7. He applied himself to the task and looked a better batsman than his position in the order over the years would suggest. Chris managed a second four and had reached 25 when he attempted a pull to leg, missed the ball which kept low, and was lbw for 25. Soon afterwards Jordan lofted a catch to cover to depart for seven leaving Jack England (10*) and David Rishton (2) to add a cheery eleven for the last wicket. This included a boundary from Jack and a three when reference was made to the age difference between his seventeen and David?s more than seventeen as the runs were completed safely. The target for the home team was 67.
At 26/0 early in the sixth over it seemed that T Hussain and Z Zulfiqar would make short order of their task. There then followed an unexpected but encouraging fight back which, briefly at least, hinted at a possible unlikely comeback. David Rishton took over from Greg Holmes shortly after Jordan Thackray had trapped Zulfiqar lbw for twelve. He then bowled H Mahboob for a single and f Chishti for five leaving Azaad on 38/3. When opener Hussain was adjudged lbw for fifteen Jordan had taken all four wickets to fall.
David Rishton then got in on the act. His first victim was K Najam who skied a catch to Jack England in the covers. This was Jack?s first catch in the first team and David?s 1099th wicket. He had not long to wait for his 1100th as next ball, the batsmen having crossed, K Bukhari was bowled for nought. At 51/6 could an unlikely win for the visitors become reality?
It was not to be as Z Shah and N Hussain scored the necessary runs in the next six overs but at least there was something positive to take from the effort put in trying to defend another disappointingly low score.
Team: Chris Flanagan Nathan Appleyard (w/k) Richard Briggs Tom Broom Ashley Armitage Neil Booth Ryan Hunter Greg Holmes Jordan Thackray Jack England David Rishton.