GARGOYLES MUST HAVE FAITH
Another thrilling, high quality encounter, decided yet again in the last over of the match, saw Alstonefield Cricket Club just failing to overhaul Brailsford Cricket Club’s 191 for 2 wickets, finishing on 183 for 3.
Brailsford batted first and struggled to score off the lightning hostility of Chris Wilkins and the nagging accuracy of captain Andy Bray. Will Siddons and Ian McKay then followed up with more tight bowling and so at the half way stage, Brailsford were only 55 for 1, with Will Siddons bowling opener Dakin. It was then that Van Niekerk and Derbyshire started to go through the gears, with excellent shot selection and increasing power. Without too many risks, both reached their 50s and left what turned out to be the platform for the final assault. After 27 overs the score was 131, when Dakin and Clarke had completed their attack after 35 overs, the score had accelerated to 191 for 2, with McKay in particular, suffering at the hands of Dakin’s impressive straight hitting over the sightscreen. 5.5 an over from a strong Brailsford batting line up was not a surprise, but to have restricted them to less than 4 an over for much of their innings, the final score was a disappointment. There was some eye catching pace from Chris Wilkins and young Will Stupples-Newton again showed impressive confidence and skill in bowling his 3 overs at the big-hitting Dakin.
The Gargoyles needed a good start, but sometimes in cricket, a batsman can only admire his assassin. Dave Singleton, pushed what looked like an easy single to backward square and within a second, Van Niekerk had shattered the stumps with a direct hit, the insatiable Harry Jones being run out for 1. Skipper Andy Bray joined Dave Singleton and in their very different styles, these two steadily accumulated. Slowly at first, but then Bray began to unleash his powerful square of the wicket shots and the run rate started to move upwards. Still, at the halfway point, the Gargoyles were 69 for 1, with 130 still needed. Andy Bray launched an aggressive array of shots, taking him to another unbeaten 50, which brought Chris Wilkins to the middle. Always up for the challenge, Wilkins immediately set about changing the dynamics of the game, with audacious, but proper cricket shots. Dave Singleton, back from career threatening surgery, was playing nicely now and produced the shot of the day (and there were many to choose from) with the most exquisitely timed 6 over extra cover, before he perished for a valuable 43. Wilkins now threatening the Brailsford total and although the field was pushed back, he reached his 50, with 4 sixes and 3 fours. His innings had given the Gargoyles the chance of victory, with 14 runs required from the last over. In the end, it proved too much to ask, with only 5 possible. So another defeat, but some excellent performances with ball and bat and to make 183 for 3 off 35 overs and come so close to victory, has to give captain Simon Smith back from his jolly at Lord’s, much encouragement for the second half of the season.
A wonderfully competitive cricket match, played in the true spirit, which nicely sets up this Sunday’s return match at Brailsford .
BRAILSFORD 191 FOR 2 BEAT ALSTONEFIELD, 183 FOR 3 BY 8 RUNS