LICC v Marton – Friendly XI Report

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Live from the scene: Scotty Senior

 

Local Derby Down to the Wire.

In an historic day for the Scott household having three on the same side for the first time and on yet another glorious summers day at the home of Itchington Cricket, all looked good for the local derby against near neighbours, Marton.

As would appear to be the norm, Skipper Perks, adorned in the Max Wall inspired whites sauntered to the team talk with the ever motivational team talk, sorry lads, fielding. The redoubtable Funday team noting this week the inclusion of the lesser spotted Rawbone junior (who was definitely not working today) along with a plethora of youngsters gave heart to the stalwarts knowing the fielding was supported by those more mobile (Greaves is excepted from this of course). This week saw the welcome introduction of the on the spot forfeit for crap fielding, tasteful sweat bands and head band introduced by the skipper so he could see where the most incompetent one was and put him out of harms way!!

Scotty Junior took up the keeping challenge and donned the equipment keen to get a top score come what may. Keeping to the fearsome attack of Parsons, Gupta, Perks and Scotty senior, this was considered a brave move. Safe in the knowledge that loitering down leg from Rawbone would protect the byes……

Blessed with a pace attack rarely seen on Sunday’s, the obvious decision was made and the opening pair of Rawbone and Hart got things started. Now, loyal reader, you may presume here that this is Freddie Hart but you’d be wrong. Rolling back the years, and barrelling to the crease was Hart Senior who again this week delivered nagging line and length. In what could be described as a pocket money limiting moment, a rank full toss by Hart was directed towards the deep cover fielder, one Freddie Hart. To say he dropped it is understating the enormity of the matter. Dropped and dropped over the boundary. It is hoped that one day Bowled Harts (snr) Ct. Hart (jnr) will grace the score book but not this day. Long walk home Fred…… (Is he speaking to you yet?). Fred really looked the part in the fluorescent pink sweat and head bands.

A solid opening spell from both saw the Marton openers struggle to get anything meaningful on the board. The opening salvos providing a miserly 30 off 8 overs. Wickets tough to get but pressure mounting, time for a change in attack.

Clearly in a charitable gesture, Perks elected to bowl the youngsters and pushed to the fore young Suttcliffe, again playing so that the services of the top scorer are provided, and young Hart. These 2nd team strike bowlers needed to show our 1st team guest how it was done on Sunday’s and both succeeded with generous bowling all round.

It was, however, not the bowling from young Hart that achieved the break through. Fielding at long leg (also known as covering for the keeper….) swooped to collect the ball and threw with great precision, screams of leave it James (stumper) Scott and the direct hit saw the back of Truslove for a well constructed 30. First blood which was most welcome in the high heat of the afternoon.

Aaron was the first the strike with the ball, with an excellent ball which, having ignored the advice offered by the mid-on fielder, got his man plumb in front. Dispatching Singh early doors and putting Marton on the back foot for having lost wickets in quick succession.

Wanting to maximise on this situation, Perks called to action the main strike bowler, Charlier Parsons.  Inspired captaincy as in over number one, the well set Reuben was mystified by the skiddy bounce young Parsons is renowned for and dumbfounded that the ball barely bounced. Bowled Parsons, Funday Bowlers 1, 1st team guest bowler 0. This however saw the arrival of the destructive Prem Kumar who plundered runs mercilessly.

This called for special tactics by the Itch team and top pies needed indeed. Scotty Senior joined the battle and immediately had mirth as the best approach. Both Greenway and Kumar were clearly not reading the Pukka ball and for a couple of overs, showed respect for the pies being served. Sadly, the fielding 1st team guests was wanting to make his mate feel good and in a near action replay, spilled what to many was an easier catch than that dropped by Fred giving 6 away in the process. That being said, Rawbone did look good in pink and it may have been suggested that he dropped the ball intentionally for just such an opportunity. Suffice to say the life given was taken and Kumar continued is plunder.

Parsons persevered and much to his credit, and thankfully the safe hands of the ever dependable Martin Greaves, dismissed the well set Greenway and then the notedly dangerous Marriott with another exquisite Pasons special, skidding on to the new man and Marriott in not obeying the Itch mantra of don’t go back on the Itch track, was seen by all as loitering in front and was triggered. Excellent effort by Charlie who achieved 300% more in the wicket column to that of the guest 1st team bowler……

Enough was enough to for skip who saved the young Parsons from further punishment and took the lead himself. The opening loosener was perhaps the undoing of Kumar. Seeing the massive swishes to leg that generated so many runs for Kumar, sliding one through the gate saw the timbers disturbed and a happy (and relieved) Itch team. Well done Perko, don’t know why you don’t turn your arm over more often.

The Marton innings maintained momentum with Dodd gaining a well earned 50. Man of mystery, and a very tasteful hat, Rishi Gupta took up the task from the Farm end and Scotty Junior, Junior took over from Scotty Senior from the River end. Rishi bowled his 57 varieties and was successful on two occasions with one being a straight ball that struck and the other another Sunday rarity of a Scotty Senior catch. That would be one more today that the guest 1st team player……

Young Scotty Junior, Junior surprised all with a spell of quick, accurate balls which even his brother beind the stumps was having difficulty finding fault with. Sadly, Scotty Senior was not as supportive and saw a simple stop escape past him earning the pink sweat bands for a few overs. Soon to be returned to Freddie who looked every bit a young Dennis Lillee…..

Towards the close, Marton pushed hard and Rishi was given some punishment. Marton’s key player Dodd launched into another fierce drive but in doing so, injured his hip necessitating a runner. Our very own Zak Aulakh on ground duties stepped into the gap as Marton were only a 10 man team today. More on Zak in the Itch response….

In the end, Marton on 240 with keeper Scotty Junior realising a very commendable 10 byes and was overheard suggesting that there’s nothing to this keeping lark….. I am able to report that Monday and Tuesday were days of severe leg aches which occur after 40 overs, perhaps less enthusiasm for keeping now?

A welcome tea provided by Mr and Mrs Nick Brooks was greatly appreciated and the seniors in the side tucked in safe in the knowledge that the youngsters were more than capable of seeing the Funday team home.

The two James’s (Rawbone and Scott) strode out to the middle and looked solid from the outset. Reuben and Truslove for Marton bowled tidily and constrained the Itch opening pair but never stemmed to runs with the opening two moving on to first drinks with 79 on the board.

Marton had introduced bowling changes in an attempt to break the partnership and Dwyer bowling from the Farm end revealed a technique that was “unique”. Pies of such height and speed that Scotty Senior expressed envy. Scotty Junior took the rise by reverse hitting one of these massively flighted deliveries for 4 to much acclaim from the on lookers.

As seems to be the norm, drinks break brings wickets and this was true today. Scotty Junior, who was looking very much set for a big score, was advised by his darling younger brother is his 44 runs scored thus far. Clearly thinking about the big score that beckoned, Scotty Junior did the unthinkable….. He played on from Dwyer who was, to say the least, more surprised than all others at this unexpected success. The surprise from Marton was in equal measure reflected as disgust by Scotty Junior who was out for blood from younger brother Joe whose fault it clearly was that James had played the most awful shot…… Joe wisely hid for a few overs.

Not to worry, a well struck 44 for Scotty Junior was a good start and the incoming young at heart Greaves was seeking runs to end a recent barren spell.

Young James Rawbone clearly concerned about the presence of Greaves and his (wrongly established) reputation for running batting partners out looked becalmed. Coupled with the introduction of the lead Marton strike bowled in Zach Aulakh saw his undoing slapping a Zach slower ball straight to cover who gladly took a simple catch. A good 50 by James which could well be his highest as a senior player. This brought to the crease the ever impressive Aaron Suttcliffe.

Young Suttcliffe looked his usual solid self and with ever young Greaves for Company, things were stabilised however, not for long. Greaves facing the accurate (practising slow bowling) Zach did the unthinkable and holed out. The celebration from the bowler was unusually muted but the balance of the Marton boys made up for this.

Man of mystery Rishi was now in a position with 10 overs remaining to lead the Itch boys home. Surviving early chances Rishi batted with increasing authority and took the lead in the fledgling partnership. Aaron was starting to get his feet moving and struck a commanding four which many suggest was his undoing as the next ball faced was his last one and the straight ball undid him missing all that he had but not the stumps.

168 on the board, batting in the hutch and 8 overs to chase the 80 odd needed. Rishi, joined by the skipper started to open up and with the return of Reuben a bit more pace was available. As usual, Perks looked comfortable and worked the ball well to get scoreboard momentum. Supported by Rishi, the chase was very much on.

The watching pavilion working out the required rate every ball and encouraging the Itch boys to keep the pace going. Acceleration into the final over sees 14 required. Perks facing and ball 1 despatches it for a massive six over cover. Ball 2 a scampered 2 with the field well spread and boundaries needed, another mighty blow would make the victory possible. Perks eyed up his favourite cover side and moved well the meet the Reuben ball, hitting through the shot the ball arced towards the deep cover boundary but was short. The most unlikely cricketer on the pitch (yes, even less likely than Scotty Senior) took a very decent catch and Perks was gone.

Andy Hart was up for the challenge and off the final ball with still 5 needed to win did all he could to get one over the rope and Itch over the line. Sadly, the ball was just too deep the get elevation and the final single run leaving Itch 5 shy of what would have been an excellent victory.

Reflecting back, the two dropped over the line for 6 catches perhaps proved very decisive and mentioned will be made at every opportunity by way of ‘motivation’

Another brilliant fun game of cricket with Scotty Senior a very proud and happy Dad realising an ambition set for this season and all of the Funday team playing with the spirit expected and normal, competitive fun, serious when needed but not needed too often.

Thanks Tom for allowing Joe Scott to play, well done the whole Itch team and scorer for making the Sunday afternoon such a pleasure.

Of note – 3 for 45 from 5 by Charlie Parsons, 0 for 12 from 5 (plus an excellent 50) by James Rawbone, 44 for Scotty Junior and 46 for Martin Greaves.

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