Joy and woe are woven finely into cricket’s white cloth. On occasions like this the balance between the two seems to hang by one of its fine silk threads. The game’s majesty is the way it ebbs and flows, sometimes languid, sometimes ripping. Battles are played out on so many levels, individual and team, leaving one exhausted with elation or sick with defeat.
Poynton is a former mining village and the coal face for a quarter final clash in the cup for Didsbury. On a pitch which Stanley Gibbons may have laid out, a score of 310 looked about par. Didsbury were put into bat and made steady progress with Harry Youall and Harry Poole, but Ethan and Seamus were unable to capitalise in the face of some strong bowling. Arguably, the early batsmen were a little cautious in their approach, when a hard strip combined with the penny black pitch meant boundaries were needed on a regular basis. A score at the half way point of 239 indicated the batsmen hadn’t taken full advantage of what was on offer to them. The third and fourth pairing did accelerate the pace considerably from then on in, Alfie (18) and Daniel (17) added considerable momentum both in terms of boundaries and running between the wickets. On their way to 304 there was also some strong hitting, especially by Seb (18) and Sam (11).
Didsbury needed to bowl and field with discipline and keep things tight, instead they were on the end of a battering in the early salvos of Poynton’s innings. Harry Poole, especially, was on the wrong end of some ferocious hitting. After a torrid time with the bat, however, Ethan bowled with discipline conceding only 6 runs in his two overs. After the mauling which Harry received it was then Daniel’s turn to be on the receiving end of Poynton’s barrage, though Seb did well to hold back the flood gates. By the half-way Poynton had reached 270, whereas Didsbury had only mustered 239 at the same stage. Somehow, slowly and steadily, however, Didsbury clawed and crawled their way back into contention. Sam and Seamus bowled beautifully, giving nothing away. The latter is developing a nice high action, which coupled with a fine line and length resembles Joel Garner, though his delivery stride is more from the Mike Proctor stable and may require some surgery before next season. As the final batting pair emerged Poynton required 18 to win off 4 overs. Harry Youall and Alfie managed to keep a lid on things reasonably well with Sam taking a nice clean catch on the boundary off the Harry. As Alfie ran in for the final over, Poynton needed three runs to win. Off the first ball Poynton managed to squeeze a single, with the scores tied two balls later. The crowd roared on every ball, every run eked out and every one saved. Alfie then produced two dot balls, leaving Poynton needing one off the last delivery. With the field in to stop the single Poynton’s batsman swung and connected, the ball puncturing the field to race away for four. In a display of relief and excitement Poynton’s players surged onto the field, whilst Didsbury’s players collapsed – think Brett Lee at Edgbaston.
Close and yet so far, Didsbury need to p[ick themselves up for the next match against Timperley in the league. For now the players can go away and lick their wounds because cricket isn’t a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of life.
Updated 11:43 - 6 Oct 2017 by Duncan Anderson