Young ones bowl them over
Playing on a Sunday in a fixture rearranged because of the previous day?s village gala, the Thurstonland team was also missing several bowlers. These included Lee Booth on a coaching trip to Uganda with Cricket Without Boundaries so the opening attack of Tom Broom and George Pinder saw one of the more youthful pairings in that role for many seasons with their combined ages being just thirty-five. Tom was the seasoned veteran at just nineteen.
He could have had a wicket with the second ball of the game as I. Sharif tried an extravagant off drive which soared above deep mid off. In spite of his best efforts Neil Booth could not quite hold on to the chance as the ball descended over his shoulder. Tom had his revenge with the final ball of this opening over as he bowled Sharif for the two runs scored whilst the potential catch was airborne.
The promising Under 15 player Y. Imtiaz and the Birkby Under 13 coach Z. Ayub were both quick to take advantage of any loose deliveries and several boundaries as well as quick singles saw the total to 50 in the fourteenth over when George Pinder, sticking admirably to his task, trapped Ayub lbw for 22. F Javed then joined Imtiaz as David Rishton replaced Tom and Jack Oldham, back in bowling action after a couple of seasons handicapped by shoulder problems, relieved George who took 1/23 in his opening seven overs.
It was Jack who made the next breakthrough with his first wicket for three years when Richard Briggs in the covers took the catch offered by Imtiaz who also scored 22. Two more wickets then fell in quick succession as M Kamran (0) was caught off a lofted off side drive by Russell Mottram. The same combination accounted for F Javed in Jack?s next over after he had bludgeoned four fours and two sixes in his 39 scored at a run a ball. At 95/5 at the half way point of the innings matters were evenly poised.
R Nazar and R Kumar then took twelve overs to add 32 before George Pinder returned and was rewarded with two wickets in successive balls as he bowled Nazar for 12 and trapped M Adnan lbw to put the visitors in the driving seat with the score 127/7. In spite of the best efforts of the Thurstonland attack, which included another young bowler in 17 year old Jack England, Kumar and W Javed mixed caution with aggression in adding 31. Tom Broom in his second spell bowled both of them for 36 and 12 respectively and the hosts ended on 165/9. Tom had figures of 3/33, George 3/44 and Jack 3/27. It had been a creditable effort although the gloss was taken off things as David Rishton had to leave the game having suffered a painful back spasm when simply bending to pick up the ball.
Chris Flanagan and Nathan Appleyard got the Thurstonland reply off to a good start. Chris motored purposefully for a three from a shot which just failed to reach the longest part of the boundary at the bottom of the ground but it was Nathan who looked in fine form as he set the pace. He hit five fours, three of them scorching off drives, as he reached 24 from an opening stand of 36 in just the ninth over. He was then bowled by an excellent delivery from W Javed which cut back at him and he quickly followed up by trapping Jack Oldham lbw for nought and the initiative passed to the home team.
Chris Flanagan continued to play with great concentration although he survived two chances in quick succession on the leg side.  Russell Mottram defended doggedly for a time before succumbing lbw for 2 playing across the line. Richard Briggs was off the mark first ball with a boundary but only added a single before he too was lbw, both victims of M Adnan. At 63/4 Neil Booth joined Chris and they gradually eased the total up to 89. A further seventy-six runs were needed in just over thirteen overs. Chris who had reached 40 then tried to attack nagging spin bowler R Nazar and launched a huge hit towards the long on boundary but it fell a couple of yards short of being a six and Y Imtiaz had to move only a yard or two to make the catch. His innings was well appreciated by home and visiting spectators alike.
Shortly afterwards, having been joined by Tom Broom, Neil tried to roll back the years by going for a second run. In spite of his best efforts the throw beat him and he departed for nine. Tom Broom played soundly and picked up several singles from the nagging joint spin attack of Nazar and F Javed. The former bowled Ashley Armitage for a single and George Pinder (0) was lbw to him offering no shot. With David Rishton unable to bat, Jack England joined Tom in a last ditch stand. With just seven balls remaining he fell to a juggled catch at slip after the wicket keeper had parried the ball leaving Tom not oit on 12 and the all out total 105.
Team: Chris Flanagan Nathan Appleyard (w/k) Jack Oldham Russell Mottram Richard Briggs Neil Booth Tom Broom Ashley Armitage George Pinder Jack England David Rishton.