Nostell surrendered their one match unbeaten start to the season in disappointing fashion at old rivals Fairburn on a day more suited to winter fleeces than cricket whites. After winning the toss and electing to field in an attempt to maximise pre-rain bonus points we started well, Lee Hurst and James Rowett causing openers Buxton and Clegg major issues without success, Buxton in particular stuggling against anything driveable. Clegg was fortunate to survive a confident caught behind appeal after a snick heard at the boundary whilst playing away from his body was well taken by Jason Garrick behind the stumps.
Nic Oram replaced Lee and immediately came up trumps with the wickets of both openers and dangerman Craig Piggott. Meanwhile at the other end I replaced Jim, bowling a consistently inconsistent mix of four (and six) balls and nibbly outswing. Fairburn is an unforgiving ground for bowlers and bowling 1.5 bad balls an over is a sure way to figures more Twenty20 than test match. Dale replaced me for his maiden Division 2 over and was immediately switched after disappearing for 10 off his first over, James coming back only to pull up injured. Nic and Lee saw off the remainder of the innings, Lee pulling off a curveball style runout off his own bowling and collecting a couple of wickets, Nico finishing with a well deserved 5-for from his first 14-over spell since 1996. At the break Fairburn finished 180-odd for eight, a more than gettable score with a short boundary and decent pitch.
Jason and Richie Hardman opened and looked comfortable until Richie was castled for 10, leading me to the crease still looking for my first run of the season after kicking the ball onto the stumps for a duck the previous week. Jase and I took the score above 50 before I got flushed with the success of actually scoring a run to be caught tamely off slow bowler Clarke for 28 attempting an unnecessary big shot. Afterwards the umpire told me I was shameless to give my wicket away like this and I’d probably agree with him. Nic came and went cheaply before Jase went trying to force the scoring along, leaving last weeks run scorers James and Lee to pick up where they left off.
The inclusion of a runner for hamstrung Jimbob added some spice to proceedings, leading to explanations on the sidelines rivalling footballs offside rule as to what was happening. James made 21 before chipping to long-on off Clarke, new boy Simon and old boys Dale and Wanna surrendering meekly to leave Lee and skipper Steve Reynolds to attempt to reach 140 and another bonus point. Lee reached 39 without problem before being caught on the boundary when 140 was in sight, leaving the skipper and Dave ‘Orangeboom’ Tarbitt to foil Fairburn and leave us 9 down but shy of the bonus point at the close.
We were disappointed to not reach a gettable target and in particular 140, with a number of batsmen giving away their wicket at crucial times. After 3 games this season no batsman has reached 50 and this must be addressed quickly if we are compete in Division 2. We welcome back Uncle Ken Atkinson next week for the visit of Stainborough, who will again provide a tough test of our aspirations in this division.