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5th July 2012
The opposition - Orrell Red Triangle
For the first time this season, I was able at the weekend to play Saturday AND Sunday. Granted, it was only the first time I had made myself available for Saturday, but still it was an incredible achievement given the horrific "summer" we have so far endured.
Saturday saw me opening the batting for the 4th XI, the first time I have performed such a role since 2009 (the day Jonathan Trott reached his debut century in the second innings at the Oval v the Aussies), against high flying Bootle. The last time I played against these opponents I came off at the end having seen off 18 overs for a measly single as I managed to scrape a draw. On this occasion, I left the field after seven overs with 0 against my name. 25 overs, 1 run. IPL here I come.
My team mates managed to perform little better, as we scrabbled to 77 all out. The pitch was...interesting, providing a mix of deliveries passing by the ear and then rolling along the floor. In reply, the 4ths managed to reduce Bootle to 40-6, but could only take one more wicket before the visitors reached their target. Five minutes after the winning run was hit, the rain came.
Sunday began grey but dry, and no phone call came from Orrell Red Triangle, a team the 5ths had won five out of six against. The 3rd XI were playing the same day against the 3rd XI of...Orrell Red Triangle, and so both my and our opponents teams were weakened somewhat.
We managed to dismiss the home side for 86, thanks to a wonderful opening spell between youngsters Cieran Kyle and Josh Byrne who reduced ORT to 19-3 after 8 overs, and then 4-13 from wily off spinner Conor O'Brien. Kyle and Byrne then both chipped in with 18 (Josh was not out) as the 5ths chased down the target for the loss of only seven wickets. And for those of you dying to know, I stroked an elegant 16 and held a fine slip catch to dismiss the ORT skipper.
The performance of youngsters like Josh and Cieran make my job all the more satisfying, and I look forward to seeing them progress further in whatever season the elements will allow us to have.
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