Mallards v Benwell & Walbottle May 17 @ Riding Mill

After reading the last match report and struggling to find out what actually happened on the field of play, rather than in the Palace of Westminster, I determined to stick to matters cricketing. Having read the completed report below in all its tedium, I understand why match reporters seek to add interest from elsewhere. If you wish to read on, you have been warned!

Despite the foul weather forecast the previous day, predicting rain from 5 o’clock, the sky, though overcast, failed to deliver the expected rain, and play was possible.

B&W, looking keen, young and fit and practiced beforehand, which is always a worry – several had the look of not being in the same league (!) as the Mallards.

Surprise for Beakers on his second match after a year’s absence – the first match wasn’t a dream – there really are a number of new young members in the Mallard’s ranks this year.

The toss was duly made, and B&W batted first with Standring opening the bowling from the pavilion end and opener Robbie facing. More comfort for Beakers behind the stumps to find that these keen young bowlers bowl straight. The B&W openers were being cautious but showed some confidence in the first over with two scoring shots, five runs on the board. Edge took the second over, again accurate bowling with distinct movement in the air but Birrell managed to clip a vicious inswinger off his toes for 6. 14 for 0 off two overs despite good bowling. Had these two batsmen arrived for a league match by mistake? Another good over from Standing yielded a further four runs, and at the end of Edge’s second over B&W were on 27, a good start from the batsmen though the pitch was showing signs of variable bounce, some balls lifting off a length, others shooting through.

At the end of the seventh over, B&W were 55 for 0, and over the next two overs both openers retired on 25, Edge captured the wicket of Smith, well caught by Potts, with the score on 58 and Mowbray was run out by Latif first ball for 0.   The opening bowlers finished with Standring four overs 0 for 21 and Edge 1 for 28, against good batting, with the ill-luck of balls in the air going between fielders, and some unnecessary runs conceded. Collins took over from Standring and despite bowling with pace and accuracy conceded eleven runs in his first over, and the tenth was bowled by Potts, who conceded eight. At 75 for 2 after ten overs, B&W looked well set for a very big score. Collins conceded a single in his second over and Potts bowled Ridley for 4 and conceded 3 in his, to bring Draper to the wicket. 80 for 3 at the end of the twelfth! Carr, who had been watchful at first, scoring six runs from 18 balls, went to 25 and retirement with another six which brought White to the wicket. Collins ended his spell of four overs with 36 for 0, and Potts 18 for 1. After 16 overs B&W were 111 for 4 with White run out for 4. Latif replaced Collins and had excellent figures of two overs 6 for 2, Draper dismissed with a fine catch by Wilson (A) for 4, and Hayes bowled for 1. Wilson (A), replacing Potts, had problems with his line and conceded 13 runs in his two overs, and the innings finished on 131 for six.

Mallards were set a target of 132 which was a lower total than expected at the halfway point. Three of the batsmen had retired not out, extras top scored and some fielding errors didn’t help the Mallard cause.

The Mallards openers, Kent and McCaffery marched out to start our reply under continuing overcast conditions.  Hayes opened at pace from Lone Tree End, and Kent, having scored a 4 from the second ball, then took a single, bringing McCaffery on strike. A single off the second last ball saw McCaffery on strike for the second over. He immediately went on the attack to the speedy Hassan, only to be bowled by his second ball (7 for 1). In came Butcher and he and Kent settled down to get used to the conditions – bad light, and an orange ball keeping low. Tight bowling by Hayes, Hassan and Ridley meant that after 7 overs Mallards had reached 22, well below B&W’s 55, at which point Draper came on, warnings were issued to low flying aircraft and the batsmen prepared for the long wait while the ball descended from altitude.

The scoring rate improved, and with Bateman bowling from the other end, there was a flurry of runs, until Butcher missed a ball from Draper and was bowled round his legs for 17 in the eleventh over, having shared a partnership of 47 with Kent. Wilson (R) joined Kent at the wicket, who retired in the next over on 25 (60 for 2). This brought Collins to the wicket. Wilson (R) scored at a run a ball until he was bowled by Bateman for three, (62 for 3 in 12 overs). Potts joined the fray. Collins faced ten balls in his brief stay at the wicket and scored with nine, including three fours and two sixes, 20 coming off Draper’s third over. He finished with his second six in Draper’s fourth (42 for 1) to retire on 29 not out, and Mallards were 93 in the 15th over. At nine runs an over the target of 131 began to look possible, although difficult. The incoming batsman, Latif, started well with a single and a four, but Potts was unable to score freely, and the returning Bateman bowled him for 2 in the seventeenth over. Wilson (A) came in and Hassan returned, bowling quickly in the poor light, and with Bateman bowling a maiden, any chance of victory disappeared, and Mallards were restricted to 109, Latif not out 9 and Wilson not out 3, falling short of the target by 22 runs.

A disappointing result for Mallards in difficult conditions, against a team that posted a good score, and generally made scoring difficult, but there were some positives. The young recruits are fitting in well, and Latif is regularly proving difficult for the batsmen. Lots of opportunities to take advantage of the facilities in the clubhouse and look forward to better things in the next game.