Mallards v Riding Mill May 21 @ Riding Mill

Though we were in the familiar surroundings at Riding Mill, we found ourselves in the away dressing room for a change – our hosts- familiar opponents, Riding Mill. We decided to field first after winning the toss. Cleaver and Holland were to open the bowling. With no time to lose Cleaver was ready to get us underway. Gibbons seemed to have a moment clarity after his traitorous act of lining up with the Riding Mill by stepping in to field as we were a few players down – thankfully however, he was marched off back to his traitor cell when the latecomers arrived.

Cleaver opened with some tidy line and length bowling, but faced stiff opposition from the Riding Mill openers, who annoyingly found form and settled into a comfortable opening partnership. Meanwhile Simon Holland had a tight first over but was undone by some slogging and Riding Mill quickly picked up a run rate of over 10 per over.

The first breakthrough came in the 5th over when Cleaver’s delivery was caught by Stone, 50 for 1. Malik then came on to bowl, keeping things tight with only two coming from his first over. Watson’s entrance proved deadly as the second wicket arrived with his first delivery of the match.

Watson would take off in the second over as he did in his first with another wicket, caught by McCaffrey. A few deliveries later the tide seemed to be turning when Watson chalked up his third wicket, this time lbw for Raza. He finished the over with an impressive 3-13, giving the Mallards belief. Malik pushed for more wickets in his third over but his reward would come in his fourth, bowling Marks for a duck. Riding Mill were 94 for 5 at this stage.

Cox then came into the attack and just like Watson before him took a wicket from his first delivery – a difficult rising delivery edged behind by Hall which was again taken by the safe hands of McCaffrey.

Stone came in for the final two overs. When he bowled Smith for 8, a familiar face came into bat – Gibbons’ first appearance this season and his second start in a Riding Mill shirt brought back painful memories. Despite a few singles and extras, Cox and Stone kept things tight in the last few overs as Riding Mill would finish with a total of 150 for 7.

Ankush and Malik stepped up to open the batting, both starting off with a nice boundary. Malik would fall early which left McCaffrey to step up and he got Riding Mill rocking with quickfire twos and a boundary. Ankush carefully negotiated their bowling with good shot selection to pick up a few more boundaries. As the run rate was picking up, we were dealt a hammer blow as McCaffrey was bowled on 10. Latif strolled in and would soon be followed by Cox, as Ankush finally fell in the 6th over; we were 37 for 3 and falling behind the required run rate of 7.5 per over.

Latif proved hard to break down by playing a good range of defensive shots with the occasional offensive one. Meanwhile Cox wanted to get the engines pumping, picking up a few singles and a boundary. However, he never seemed to quite settle and unfortunately, he would be undone by the Riding Mill bowling attack for 8.

From here things took a turn and we struggled to get a foothold in the game. Butcher and then Holland went for 2 and 3 respectively, before Moran came in looking to steady the ship. After a lovely pull shot to the leg boundary, she would then be caught by a top edge next delivery – 61 for 7. Watson came in at 10 and he and Latif decided to see off the last few overs, scoring a couple of runs in the process – when Latif was bowled for 3 it was clear the titanic was slowly sinking. We needed a hero and that came in the form of Cleaver, the only man able to save us. Yet on his 5th delivery faced, the criminal of the day, Gibbons would catch him at mid-off ending the tussle. Mallards finished on 65 all out.

A combined love of eating crisps and drinking pints brought the players from both teams together after the match. Even though Riding Mill won this one, the Mallards went home hotly anticipating the next contest.