News & EventsLatest NewsCalendar


James Emmerson10 Jun - 17:58
Share via

Super Saturday, Soggy Sunday

The dreadful Sunday afternoon weather did us few favours – of which more anon – but we had the best possible Saturday with three wins from our sides. Of which more anon. But apart from catching up with the Dids seniors action, I also want to focus on something else quite prevalent in this set of games – the spirit of cricket. Often debated, rarely agreed upon, occasionally sighted, but central to the game we all love, we have seen several examples over this past week which I will highlight as we go.

We’ll start with the first example back on Wednesday, when Hale Barns came to take on our 1s in the group T20 match washed out a fortnight ago. You will have read all about the record-breaking evening that we had – Nick was typically modest when he told me that “led by a fantastic (and honours board worthy no less) 155* from Rob, [Dids] broke the competition record with 299-1. It was also great to set a competition partnership record with 255.” No mention of his own role in those amazing proceedings!

But the spirit of cricket mention is for Hale Barns. Bear in mind they had a point from the cancelled game and could easily have stalled on any re-arrangement – they’re not obliged to do so. I can think of a number of clubs who would have done just that. But they were happy to re-arrange, even though, being at the time bottom of Div 3 and without any wins in 2024, they knew they would cop for it in all probability. But nonetheless they came and played. Despite the mauling, they stayed around afterwards for drinks and chat. I think that’s praiseworthy stuff. Incidentally HB had another T20 the following evening (they lost off the penultimate ball) and then conceded 297-3 in their league game on Sat. They knocked those runs off in the final over of a breathtaking game, though, and I was not alone in being delighted for them.

Also on Wednesday, somewhat in the shadows after the run avalanche at Didsbury, but no less significant, our over 40s finally got their first win of the season, a tense three run triumph over Ashley. Andrew Mashiter led the team. “We chose to bat on a decent wicket with an outfield that would probably benefit from a mow. We posted a very solid 137, with three of the top four reaching 30* along with a 29. Ashley started well in reply but we chipped away with regular wickets from each of the bowlers meaning they never got ahead of the rate. It turned into a close chase, but a very solid last couple of overs from Sunil and Andy (defending 13 off the last), in addition to a worldy of a catch on the boundary from Vinod got us over the line. Very good all-round performance!”

Saturday dawned bright, dry – and absolutely freezing. It was long sleeves all round for the 1s who made the long trip to Oxton, winning by 25 runs after posting a modest-looking 130. Nick said, “yes, Oxton’s been a happy hunting ground of late and so it continued. We batted first on a phantom wicket - it looked great but did everything! We lost wickets early, but really dug in, applied ourselves, and fought to 130. Contributions throughout. With the ball we were at our very best. Boothy took two big wickets with his first and fourth deliveries, and we never looked back. Boothy picked up 4 overall, Steve bowled with great control for 3, and Cookie and Will wrapped it up. Couldn’t have been prouder of us throughout the day, a proper win!”

I asked him whether he genuinely thought, at halfway, 130 was enough. “Having batted on that pitch, definitely. My innings [Nick batted just shy of two hours for 45 off 75 bs] was by far the best I’ve batted all season.” Considering he’s made two tons already, that’s quite a statement.

The 2As didn’t have as far to go but they were much higher up on the exposed Alvanley steppes, but it was to be a trip to remember as they got their first win of the season by a handsome 92 run margin. With Rehmani away, the captaincy was in the hands of Nigel Bellamy. Here’s his summary: “I won the toss and batted on a good wicket, very short boundary one side, very long the other. Airey (90) and Brady (116) batted very calmly to put 178 for the first wicket. Bowling was pretty average but our guys took advantage and we basically scored at 5.5 an over constantly throughout. We looked to be on for a very big score, but it was a very fast scoring ground, and par was probably 220. In looking to accelerate from 220-1 we essentially collapsed. Tom Beresford batted ok, but chipped to cover and Reilly and Fisher were run out.”

[JE writes: Ryan does this as well, there is a lot of this use of surnames only in 2nd XI cricket – I wonder if it’s like this in the dressing room! Both Jack and Tom batted really fluently, hitting 31 fours and 2 sixes between them and both scoring at almost a run a ball in a fabulous opening stand.]

“Saad’s wicket was highly contentious. The umpire (provided by them, and who otherwise was pretty good) was somehow persuaded that Saad’s cap had knocked the bail off when it blew off in a gust of wind. The video later showed it was nowhere near the stumps. Neither umpire saw the bail dislodged, and Seb Byrne at square leg said he didn’t think it was the cause but was overruled.”

[JE writes: I have not had time to fully review the video, but a hit wicket dismissal can only occur if, once the bowler has started their run-up or delivery action, the batter dislodges a bail (or bails) with any part of his person or equipment. And it should be adjudicated upon by the square leg umpire, as Law 31:5 makes abundantly clear they have jurisdiction over this type of dismissal.]

Here’s Bellamy – sorry, Nigel – again. “266 was a good score overall, but we hadn’t finished well. Saad and Seb opened the bowling, and were accurate. Tied them down for several overs before a flurry of wickets fell (3 to Seb) left them 11-5. Both bowlers noticeably tired after 6 overs. Opposition no.7 was injured and chanced his arm and smashed my bowling to the short legside (I actually bowled reasonably well!). Changed the bowling and Saad got him out 2nd ball of the spell (11-2-36-3). Rotated the seamers, Seb came back to claim 2 more wickets (13-4-44-5). The ball was actually hit hard at the field a lot, but they ran very poorly so we could set them deep on the ring.”

A big well done to all there, a great win. Back at HQ, another massive opening partnership – the 2s third century opening stand of the season – was to propel them to an eye-watering 287 run win over Neston, who were actually fourth, two points ahead of us, at start of play. Stuart Stoneman (88) and Evan Turner (94) provided a perfect youth/experience blend, putting on 162 in 30 overs, a second successive 90+ innings for ET. Jack Hastings also crashed a 58-ball 94 of his own, as 93 came off the last 10 overs and the 2s had 342-7 on the board. Neston fell in a heap for just 55.

Ryan was a little lost for words. “Well, they didn’t bowl well and against our batters that’s asking for trouble. The disparity between the two sides was stark, but in fairness they at least turned up and played when some of them didn’t want the long journey and would have preferred a game for their Saturday 3s side. It was men against boys almost literally.” And here we are with the spirit of cricket again – as Ryan said, they did at least make the trip, and it is a long ride from deep on the Wirral, a 100-mile round trip. So credit where it is due to Neston for fulfilling a daunting game with a fledgling side.

Incidentally, those Neston players that did play their 3s game fared little better, as Congleton 2s racked up 294-4 en-route to a 167-run win.

So a fantastic set of results on Saturday but sadly Sunday was a different day. Three washouts, two abandonments, two wins, one loss was the net result of a bleak afternoon more akin to November than mid-summer.

The washouts were suffered by a frustrated Jack and his 4s, the Knights, who Chris said didn’t even mount their steeds to gallop towards Prestbury, and the 5s. Simon messaged me “5s cancelled, unfit” – I think he was referring to the ground and not the team, but if you see them doing stretches and squats on nets evenings, you’ll know why.

Paul’s Wanderers did play at Bowdon, where they lost by 91 runs. The captain was succinct in his summary – “got stuffed in the Bowdon drizzle. Won toss and decided to field on tricky wicket. Bowled okay, with Zak Ekstein making a fine spinning debut and Ahmad, Jamie and Shah keeping things tight. Fielded well and caught everything, particularly Josh whose diving received consistent 5.8s from the judges. Despite tricky conditions, our batters didn’t show their talents, and need to consider their technique, application and focus. And we lost in style.”

Another mention here of the spirit of cricket – the Wanderers kept going on an afternoon where play would almost certainly have been called off by neutral umpires, or where a captain is entitled to stop playing if conditions are too poor.

The 3s weren’t as fortunate after the long schleck to Nantwich, especially not JB himself, who was returning from a family sojourn in Wales to play. Train cancellations meant his plans were turned upside down, and he ended up driving his family back home before turning round and setting off for the ground, arriving late (sending instructions to the team via WhatsApp) but finally striding out to bat at 110-3 in the 22nd, a captain’s knock required. He was then almost immediately striding back to the changing room, run out for 0 without having faced a ball. Rob Goldstone’s attractive 44, and an excellent 58 from Seb Byrne were real highlights but when Seb fell in the 28th it was 128-5 and the 3s were in a spot.

What followed was as exhilarating as it was glorious. Enam was joined by keeper Mike Corbett and after the briefest of reconnaissance periods, the pair cut loose as 132 runs were plundered in the last 10 overs. Mike 59* off 43, Enam 82* off 43, the 3s 269-6. A buoyant side had reduced the hosts to 35-3 when the rain finally arrived and that was that. JB was, as ever, in philosophical vein. “Yep, my day personally was the worst cricket day going, haha, but 3 half centuries, a 44, and a partnership of 138 between Enam and Mike Corbett was one of the best batting performances we’ve put in for many a season. Weather ruined a comfortable win which might be karma for the Georgians game.” Spirit of cricket nomination for JB, anyone?

The womens 1s were also in the Nantwich area, taking on the Vipers in the Club Cup T20 QF. I haven’t heard from Rosh but the scorecard indicates that Dids won by 9 wkts via DLS (they reached 42-1 in 5.3 overs needing 88 in 20). Zoe’s 2s only managed 1.3 overs against Edgworth in the T20 plate before rain ended things – they have games tonight and tomorrow, she tells me - and the 3s got a full game in, winning their T20 by 18 runs at Lymm.

Further reading