Dropped catches lose matches!

Tuesday 17 July 2018
Brigthon Brunswick 200-8, Northern Club 204-7

Leaving the sun drenched Sussex coast on Sunday with temperatures in the 30s the Brunswick travelled to Southport, Lancashire for its annual tour. Having toured the West Country since 1934 this tour marked not only a major locational change for the club but, as we were soon to learn, it also involved a climatical one as well!

Whilst much of England sweltered in the sun Brunswick’s first match on the Monday against the formidable Formby Cricket Club was disrupted by a band of west coast torrential rain sweeping in from the Atlantic. This resulted in the Umpires having to abandon the game with Formby tottering on 85-5 after 21 of its allotted 40 overs. The Brunswick bowlers, Tim Moses, Ollie Blandford and Tom Haynes all bowled a magnificent length and had destroyed the backbone of Formby’s batting when the rain set in. The Brunswick was disappointed to be denied the opportunity to get its tour off to a winning start. 

On Tuesday the Brunswick moved on to play The Northern Club. Winning the toss the Brunswick captain Callum Smith surprisingly elected to bat on a drying wicket. He was not to know the demons in waiting in the wicket! 

In the opening overs the Northern Club’s bowlers had a field day. With the ball seaming and rearing off a length the Brunswick opening batsmen Ryan Maskell and Chris Grammer were confronted by a series of unplayable balls. In the third over Maskell on 10 having driven two short balls for 4 played at a ball from Laker which rose sharply off a length to provide Woolley with a simple catch in the covers.

Brunswick 22 for 1 off 3 overs.

This brought Joe Ludlow to the wicket. He and Grammer put their heads down and just when it appeared they had weathered the storm Grammer playing back received a ball which stopped off a length and he spooned it back to opening bowler Woolley who took a simple catch to dismiss him for 10.

Brunswick 34-2 off 10 overs.

Mason Robinson survived 2 balls before playing back to a short ball from Woolley which skidded through low to rap him in front LBW for 0.

Brunswick 34-3 off 10 overs

This brought skipper Callum Smith to the crease. With the sun breaking through the clouds the vengeance in the wicket appeared to ease. For the first time in the match Ludlow and Smith gained an upperhand over the bowlers, although it was at the expense of a number of overs. The score passed 100 in the 25th over with Ludlow hitting a superb cover drive for 4. 

Ludlow reached a well deserved 50 with a quickly scampered single to mid-on. Similarly, Smith who had concentrated hard and been particularly severe on anything short brought up his 50 with a quick single. Just when these two batsmen were taking control of Northern’s bowlers  Smith mistimed a drive though mid-wicket and hit a simple catch into the safe hands of Kavanah. His fine innings came to a close on a hard and well deserved 59,

Brunswick 142-4 off 30 overs.

Four balls later, with only 10 overs remaining, Ludlow in attempting to accelerate the run rate and having driven Watson for two successive 4s, mistimed a drive and was well caught at deep mid-on for a fine 58.

Brunswick 151-5 off 31 overs.

Jonny Phelps survived two balls before chipping a ball to backward point for 1.

With wickets falling around them and running out of overs it was left to Joe Walker on 22 n.o. and Connor Golding 14 n.o. to take the score to a disappointing 200-8 off the 40 overs.

After a fine tea Northern’s opening batsmen Finnigan and Fagan set about the task of reaching their target on a batting surface which had clearly eased over the afternoon. With Ollie Blandford delivering an unplayable ball which pitched on Finnigan’s leg stump and took the top of off the first blood went to the Brunswick with the score on 3.

This brought Laker to the wicket. He had batted for Formby the previous day and had been dismissed by Tom Haynes, caught behind for only 25. It soon became clear he had no intention of giving up his wicket so cheaply. He and Fagan tore into the Brunswick’s bowling attack with Fagan being particularly aggressive on Connor Golding hitting him for three 4s off successive balls. Fagan, an overseas Australian in-port for the day for the Northern club, hit his first five balls for 4s! 

The Brunswick fielding at this stage of the game was particular abysmal with Fagan surviving three very simple dropped catches in the space of two overs. The saying “catches win matches” could never have been more appropriate with Fagan racing to 47 which included six 4s and a 6. It took an incredible tumbling catch on the deep square leg boundary by Ryan Maskell to send Fagan back to the pavilion for 47. But with the score on 79-2 off only 13 overs the damage had already been done. By now Laker was in full flight and in hitting Mike Rose for two successive 6s he raced to his 50 off 49 balls. Despite Joe Ludlow dismissing Smithers LBW for 18 and Callum Smith picking up three cheap wickets for 33 and raising Brunswick’s hopes of a possible win, Laker continued to flay the bowling to all areas of the ground reaching an unblemished ton with a six off Connor Golding over long-off. 

With only one ball and one over of the allotted 40 remaining Laker hit Matt Blandford for 4 to score the winning runs for the Northern club. Laker finished on a superb 113 n.o.

A most enjoyable match which had the Brunswick held the early catches would have almost certainly seen a different result. 

We now move on to play Ormskirk.

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