Ambergate 1st XI vs Rolleston 1st XI
A resounding victory at Ambergate followed by a solid winning draw at home against Elvaston secured a comfortable mid-table position for Rolleston 1st XI, 111 points clear of the relegation zone and 72 points behind third placed Clifton.
Helped by their respective final weekend performances, Gareth Marshall finished sixth in the list of Div. One run scorers with 708 league runs and The Wizard notched 56 victims to head the Div. One wicket-takers’ table.
Saturday’s game was in severe doubt given the dark clouds and unfavourable forecast but, despite losing an hour after tea, a result was reached in the ninth over of the final hour’s play. Hosts, Ambergate gave the visitors first knock and, following a couple of narrow escapes, openers Marshall and Jaymo were soon into their stride. Yaqoob and Ahmed were seen off after twelve overs, 43 without loss looking a solid platform.
Change bowlers Ball and Nightingale fared little better and Rolleston had moved to 89-0 after twenty four. The skipper struck an enormous six over the A6 which kept climbing until it cleared a second high wall and landed on the adjacent railway line, which set him up nicely for his seventh four of the day, the one that took him past fifty.
Yaqoob returned but Jaymo upped the pace and dispatched the strong pace bowler for a pair of sixes. Spinner Liam Wallace was introduced, soon being on the wrong end of a another James maximum, but settling into a rhythm and eventually earning himself a fairly expensive five-for (60-5 off 15). Marshy reached his own fifty run milestone (off 95 balls) with a 4-2-4 sequence off Shazad Ahmed but with the score on 162, Jaymo (91) went for another big one and was castled by Wallace.
Fordy and Rutts came and went, both playing and missing the deceptive Wallace, before Alex Britton entered the fray. Rolleston were 173 for 3 after forty and AB took a dozen deliveries to acclimatise before cutting loose. Three consecutive fours off Ahmed and a six off Ball saw the scoreboard tick past 200. However, Marshy (74) skied Wallace to Mohammed Sultan in the 46th which brought Yakka to the crease. He went straight on the attack and was caught by Mark Heath just inside the long-on rope.
But Bakes (15no off 6 balls) and AB ploughed on. Britton smashed another maximum into the Hurt Arms beer garden, followed by another four and two further boundaries off Wallace, to finish unbeaten on 53 (from 40 deliveries) – Rolleston well pleased with 259 for 5.
Ben Liversage and AB (3-36) led to attack, the latter soon forcing an edge from Thompson through to wicketkeeper Ford. Both openers had struggled to cope with Livvo, his much threatened breakthrough coming in the next over when AB took the catch to dismiss Mark Heath, and a third consecutive maiden for the bowler.
Chris Whiteley looked solid enough but AB found a way through his defence which seemed to inspire Sultan to go on the attack, striking an elegant straight six back over the bowler’s head, Hurt Arms regulars again in danger. But the experienced ex-Quarndon batsman could only look back in disbelief when AB’s next delivery sent his off stump cart-wheeling.
Next came the hosts’ highest partnership of the day, led largely by Rob Heath (27 off 25 balls) who conserved his energy and ran just one out of his total – five fours and a six providing plenty of entertainment. Alas, he was bowled by Bakes in the 20th, and when The Wizard pinned Yaqoob and then cleaned out Ahmed, both in the 24th, 85 for 7 looked like bad news for Ambergate.
But at 94-7 the heavens opened, everyone ran for cover and there appeared little chance of a re-start. Thanks to the sporting attitude of the hosts, especially skipper Matt Ball, the very first opportunity to start work on the square was taken, and the umpires agreed to the final hour of play commencing at 6-35pm – 17 overs to be bowled.
Ball had negotiated 24 deliveries and given his determined partner David Whiteley (37) the strike at every opportunity before another lbw decision went in favour of The Wizard (6-33). Wallace then played a disappointing shot to offer Nelly a catch off Bakes, and Whiteley looked to earn some batting points. He launched Nelson for six but then left his ground to meet the leg-spinner and Ford secured the bowler his sixth scalp of the day. The innings closed on 129 all out, the loss unfortunately confirming the hosts’ relegation to Division Two. Rolleston 27 points – Ambergate 3 points.
Rolleston 1st XI vs Elvaston
A much brighter day welcomed Elvaston to The Willows and, having again won the toss, Jaymo broke with this season’s tradition and opted to bat, concerns regarding the track’s durability the reasoning.
And hard work for batsmen it proved to be. Rolleston suffered an inauspicious start when the skipper was hit on the boot by Simon Lillie (4-45) and was given out leg before. Marshy needed only 13 runs to move his season’s run tally (league and cup) into four figures – how could there be any doubt? He passed a grand with a trademark clip off his legs for four. At the other end, Yakka (16) was forced to bat cautiously as Lillie and Mills’ line and length bowling proved difficult to get away.
Marshy eventually encouraged the withdrawal of Mills, two boundaries and a two in one over and captain Gareth Charlesworth had seen enough. Spinner Michael Morgan (4-60) joined the attack and, following an introductory maiden, was unceremoniously smacked to the rope by Yates who departed just three deliveries later, Aussie Zac Howard patrolling the mid-wicket boundary and catching with style. The pair had added 67 runs for the second wicket.
Rutter (9) could have done with another couple of runs that would have notched him 500 for the season, but having stroked Morgan to the rope he attempted a repeat and was caught out by Hussain. AB (17) joined Marshy and was marginally out-scored by the left hander before the all-rounder fine edged Lillie behind to Elliott Lawley who needed no second invitation.
Bakes went for a golden when Lillie fired one which some thought destined to be winging down leg-side, the disappointed batsman adjudged lbw. At 128 for 5 and only nine overs to go, the hosts needed a shot in the arm – enter sharp shooter Shonker. Marshall had added another half-century to his collection (114 deliveries) and he dovetailed perfectly with Allen as they increased the run rate. The pair had secured a second batting point and taken the score to 165 before Shonker (22 off 20 balls) fell to the Morgan/Hussain combination.
Alex Brown, Nelly and Livvo all chipped in and Marshall advanced to 83 prior to being castled by Morgan in the 50th over, attempting to bludgeon one into The Jinny. The home side had plundered 31 runs from the final four overs. And 189-8 seemed a very reasonable total given the conditions.
Elvaston openers, Lawley and Charlesworth had taken the total to 17 in the fifth, the latter having smashed three boundaries off AB before he nicked a ripper through to Shonker who took a blinding catch at first slip. Livvo was bowling another miserly spell, three runs from the same number of overs, and well into his fourth when Lawley and Howard set off for a single. There seemed little urgency but as the ex-Willower reached for the line AB dislodged the bails and the umpire’s finger was raised, some thought possibly harshly.
When Zac fell to a second Shonker Allen catch, this time off Livvo, 35 for 3 may have seemed worrying for the batting side, but Akhtar and Briars were still to come. An ominous looking fourth wicket stand emerged between Mills (28) and Akhtar, the former striking Alex Brown to the rope on three occasions before he lofted one short of mid-off and Bakes ran in and bent low to secure another classy catch. Young Liam Lindsay was soon caught behind by Dan Clarke to give Bakes his all important 56th league wicket which brought Nick Briars to the middle.
Naeem Akhtar (61no) had, up to this point, played a most uncharacteristic innings, 17 runs scored from sixteen overs in the middle! And Briars, possibly fatigued following a lengthy retirement party for scorer (of thirty years) Dave Johnson the previous night, did not look as sharp as usual. He’d contributed a handful of runs before Nelly (3-19) trapped him in front at 105 for 6.
Son of Dave, Andrew Johnson took time to settle but was unable to get his partner on strike enough for any significant increase in the run rate. The veteran all-rounder, who’d earlier managed to bowl just one over due to back pains, finally hit the accelerator, passing fifty from 91 balls, nineteen runs coming off nine balls as the scoreboard hit 140with seven overs to go.
But Nelson bowled Johnson and, in his next over, had Danny C. to thank for the stumping of the runless Morgan – 143 for 8 after 45 overs. Hussain and Ahktar soon settled for a losing draw, scoring just eight runs in the last five overs and closing on 151 for 8. Rolleston 16 points , Elvaston 9 points.
By Scorebox Winno
Subject Ambergate (a) & Elvaston (h) (7th/8th Sept 2013)Reply
Ambergate 1st XI vs Rolleston 1st XI