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Time games often hide the true course of a game of cricket, offering one side the opportunity of clinging on for a draw in a game in which they have been thoroughly outplayed. The timed game came to Greenwood Park’s rescue today however, as Lilley hit their straps at a scorching Chiswell Green.
GP won the toss (about the fifth in a row Ashby has lost…damn that call of heads…) and asked Lilley to bat on a greenish but hard track in the sweltering sun. Peter Rogers and James Ashby compiled a useful opening stand of 90 last week at Pirton, so continued their opening partnership. The home side’s bowlers struggled early on, and Lilley were soon racing away at ten an over, Ashby’s
first scoring stroke being a square cut six. By the time Rogers departed to a tired stroke for 33, Lilley were 107-1 in the 19th over and looking in good shape. Ashby soon followed, but not before registering his second fifty of the season, 77, including eleven fours and one six. Rob Hoar hit a punchy and entertaining 19 before falling to another tired looking stroke and once the Tompkins brothers both went for 4, Lilley had endured somewhat of a mid-innings flop.
Enter Phil Horner, the rock of the middle order. It certainly wasn’t his prettiest innings, full of planted front foot swat attempts, many of which were about as attractive as a pint of Evian to George Best, but it was an important cameo. Eyres came in, smashed three mighty fours, then went in the usual fashion, Trent Bridge intent, Terence Trent D’arby execution. Mellor gloved one behind, Taz walked across his stumps and was plum and Craig and Stew did their regular punch and judy act to wrap up proceedings….Craig’s average of one and Stew’s one run in six innings is starting to get ludicrous! Nonetheless, Lilley had amassed 201, a challenging total to chase.
Ashby & Eyres opened the bowling for the first time since they skittled Guilden Morden several years ago and to good effect. This time round it was the big northerner doing the major damage, bagging 4-51 in an impressive 13 over burst. Ashby at the other end nabbed 2-23 from 13. The support bowling too was good, Gareth Tompkins again very impressive with his pace. Tompkins it was who nabbed the wicket of Meech, who had put up stubborn resistance. He edged the ball to point where Joel Mellor took a spectacular catch low to his right, quite possibly a contender for catch of the season. Lilley managed to bag seven wickets, but couldn’t quite force the victory in the face of stubborn defensive batting. Tompkins should have bagged another wicket late on, but Eyres muffed a sharp chance in the slips with the evening sun setting in front of him.
A good, winning draw nonetheless….