FALLEN GARGOYLES IN DRAMATIC NEAR MISS
After 70 overs and nearly 300 runs, on a glorious summer’s day in the stunning setting of Osmaston Park, it all came down to the very last ball. But, after a spirited fight back in the last 6 overs, Alstonefield Cricket Club, just couldn’t manage the 3 runs required for victory and lost by 2 runs in a tension packed game. Osmaston chose to bat first and made a poor start, as Sunil Angris forced the dangerous Andy Hill into an airy cut to Mark Wright in the gulley and shortly afterwards the pair reciprocated in the dismissal of Richard Hill. Mark Wright, bowling with menace, quickly had Bateman caught behind, leaving Osmaston on 22 for 3. Dave Singleton, bowling with all the flight and guile of the seasoned campaigner he is, was keeping things very tight as Ward and Ault tried to build their innings. The Gargoyles bowlers were all on the money and keeping the scoring rate below 3 an over up to the 24th over. Ward had started to time the ball well until captain John Salt deceived him with a slower one for 32, but with the arrival of Wooliscroft to join Ault, the match changed dramatically. Instead of 3 runs an over, this pair added 59 runs in only 7 overs, with some explosive straight driving, to give Osmaston a respectable total of 149 for 7 off their 35 overs.
Eminently achievable though this total was, it needed a solid start from the Gargoyles openers. Neil Shotton out for a duck and Mark Wright for 2, was not promising. Rob Handscombe elevated to open the batting, proved immovable, much to the frustration of the Osmaston attack and this allowed Phil Bagshaw to show all his destructive batting prowess with 3 sixes and 4 fours in his rapid 43. These two had put on 66 runs for the third wicket before Bagshaw tried one swing too many, but Handscombe was growing in confidence and had moved to a career best 34 when he lost his off stump. There was then the customary middle order collapse and with 6 overs remaining, the Gargoyles still needed 44 runs for victory. With only the rapidly diminishing tail for company, Ian McKay gave it a go and managed to get to the last over with 9 runs required and with one wicket remaining. A massive 6 off the fourth ball and it looked possible. But it was not to be, as the last ball drifted harmlessly down the leg side, McKay was inconsolable. Superb cricket match, shame about the result.