Mallards v Riding Mill May 31 @ Riding Mill

Mallards turned up to Broomhaugh on a pleasant (very) late Spring evening to face a hastily pulled together Riding Mill team following the late withdrawal by originally intended opponents Corbridge.

Despite the short notice the Mill were able to field a strong side with their first team opening pair of Watson and Fletcher starting proceedings with the bat after Tom Browne took advantage of a lack of any of Mallards regular Captains to win the toss and, unsurprisingly, as a firm member of the bowlers’ union, choosing to bowl first.

Browne turned to fellow members of the Tom Tom Club (one for you fans of obscure 80’s bands!) Holland and Edge to open the bowling. Young Holland making his first appearance of the season due to GCSE commitments, clearly relished the opportunity and bowled at a good pace although took a little time to get his line right and had keeper McCaffery leaping about behind the stumps!

Edge took the first wicket, bowling Fletcher in his second over and finished with 1 for 16 off his 3 overs while Holland finished his 3 with 0 – 15. New recruit SIraj and not so new recruit  Bell took over the bowling duties with the latter accounting for J Bell (no relation) thanks to a great low diving catch from Tom Holland.

J Bennett(Snr) came to the crease and together with Watson (fresh from a century at the weekend) upped the run rate with Watson retiring on 31. This brought Master J Bennett (jnr) to the crease, young Joah at the tender age of 10 playing just his 4th ever game of cricket and his first for the senior team. Having survived his Dad’s attempt to run him out Joah played some nice shots and ran hard to help his Dad’s score as well as his own before falling for a very creditable 7 being caught by the dastardly Kiwi  Gurr off Si Holland who had taken over from Siraj.

Holland followed this by bowing Nitsch and completing a double wicket maiden to start his spell. He also picked up the wicket of Aly Hall, stumped(eventually!) by McCaffery to finish with 3 for 20 while Gurr fresh from crushing the dreams of a 10 year old, clean bowled Greenwood and Mallinson to finish with 2 for 20 off his 3 overs. In between this Bennett snr retired on 33 or 34 depending on which score book you read. Browne and Nair finished off the bowling with one tidy over each while Marks hit some nice 4s to finish on 18 not out to take the Mill to an impressive 154. A tall order for Mallards to chase but over 30 runs less that the target we were set the week before!

Nair and Sai opened the batting for Mallards, Sai fresh from being loaned to the opposition a couple of weeks ago (making a strong bid for the Friendly Fire award with 30 retired). Fortunately his form continued  and together with Pradeep they kept close to the run rate reaching 55 off 8 overs without loss. Sai retired on 31 in the 10th followed by Pradeep for 30 in the 12th over. Butcher was the first wicket to fall in the 13th over for just 5. Holland jnr and Gurr did their best to keep the run rate up with Gurr hitting a couple of great 6s but both fell to the bowling of Bennett snr for 11 and 16 respectively. Bennett picked up a further 2 wickets in his second over accounting for Browne and McCaffery leaving  Bell and Holland snr to close out the innings including facing Bennett jnr who closed the bowling for the Mill with a very respectable over. Mallards closed on 124 for 5, 31 runs shy of the target.

Mallards search for a first win of the season continues but nevertheless I think I speak for everyone in saying everyone enjoyed a great evening’s cricket which was rounded off with  cap presentations for both the youngest and oldest players on show with young Joah being presented with his baggy blue Riding Mill cap and Pete Nitsch receiving his Centurion cap for having played over 100 games for the Mallards (despite playing for the Mill tonight!).  Here’s hoping young Joah is also still playing and enjoying cricket in another 70 (ish) years (sorry Pete!). Thanks very much to the Mill for pulling together a team at such short notice and being great hosts as always.