Lilley came away from Steeple Morden with a creditable draw having been put into bat by the home side and amassing a below par score.
The Lilley pre-match preparation was rocked with the late, late withdrawal of Rob Hoar who was exhausted having played a golf tournament in the morning. Skipper Ashby rang Craig Paddington, who having seen a specialist in the week was fit to play, and he made up the eleven at the last minute.
Mik Carman, Joel Mellor and returning skipper Ashby all departed early with single figure scores and Steve Eyres, who travelled from London for the fixture, hammered a mighty straight six before trying one expansive shot too many. At 55-4, it was left to old hands Doug Tomsett (49) and Kenny Hammond (23) to steady the ship, but when the former lobbed a dolly back to the bowler one shy of a half century, the wheels fell off. The next five wickets fell for 23 runs, most embarrassingly when Ken Hammond ran Stew Collinson out with a call of “Yes…No….Shit!”.
Lilley’s total of 111 and early dismissal meant that they had to take the field early, before tea. Hammond sent Williams and Jarman packing before tea to leave Lilley with a sniff of a chance. Immediately after the break, Bailey snicked the ball to the grateful Ashby at first slip and then Hammond bowled Harper to give him his fourth wicket. Philo Clarke replaced Hammond at the field end and bowled the number three Birdsall in his second over. It was a torrid afternoon for Clarke, who by this point had already dropped one in the covers and generally fielded like a girl!
S Bailey dug in for Morden and looked unmoveable, a village nurdler of epic proportions. He eventually nicked Ashby to Tomsett and Short was bowled by Clarke to give Lilley a fighting chance, but Saich and Tidey stood firm for the home side. With the pair starting to cut loose and look as though they would coast home, Hammond and Ashby came back into the attack. Hammond took a while to find his mark, but when he did, the batsmen had no answer. Saich was lucky to survive a brilliant effort from Steve Eyres in the slips and a caught and bowled effort off the Captain. Ashby eventually bowled Tidey, but it was too little too late, and the last two balls were safely negotiated by a seven year old. Hammond finished with 4-32 from 15 overs, Clarke with 2 for 24 from 8 overs and Ashby 2-18 from 19 overs.
All in all, a cracking start to the season. A winning draw…Ken came out with a few corkers…he said to me having just run a three “Oh, I don’t usually run 3’s until three thirds of the way through the season” and when Ray Hayes fielded a ball he exclaimed “Oh yes Ray, goodly, goodly. Wait a minute, is goodly a word?”.
Deadly Doug Tomsett is unavailable next week, but Lilley legend Matt Clarke is. Watch out Whitwell….