LILLEY (151-9, Horner 29) beat Houghton Conquest (150 All Out, Qureshi 3-24) by 1 wicket
Lilley have made a habit out of tight finishes this season, and their ninth victory of 2004, this time over Houghton Conquest, was no different – it took a scrambled single from the final delivery of the match to see Lilley home by just one wicket!
Lilley won the toss and elected to bowl in the 40 over a side clash, with the strongest bowling line up available. As is the story of the season, James Ashby and Gareth Tompkins opened up with the new ball with little reward, although the four runs conceded by Ashby in his four overs was in stark contrast to his younger colleague, who went for 25. Ashby was fined by stand in Fines Chairman Stew Collinson for leaving the field for a leak in the fourth over, principally for leaving Joel Mellor in charge for two deliveries.
The Conquest openers Jennings and Carter began to look at home, and Tim Perry and Ken Hammond’s introduction into the attack did little to stem the flow on a placid pitch. Only in the 22nd over when Ashby introduced Phil Clarke into the attack did things begin to turn, with Hammond bagging the wicket of Carter for 41, his sole success (1-24 off eight). With Philo enjoying success taking the pace off the ball, Taz Qureshi was brought on to bowl his off spin and he (3-24 from eight) and Clarke (2-27 from eight) tightened the screws on Conquest, ensuring they didn’t get away to a big score. Perry returned to finish his allocation of eight overs, picking up a late wicket for figures of 1-25 from eight, with Conquest posting 150-7 in their 40 overs.
With the season winding down, Ashby was keen to give Stew Collinson and Joel Mellor a chance to shine against a moderate attack, with Collinson heading out as Lilley opener for the first time. He looked comfortable in his first over, turning Belafonte round the corner for an easy three second ball, although he had to dash off before the second over to put in his box which was still lying in his cricket bag. “Sorry lads, I had to get a bigger one”, he told the home side on his return. With new confidence, he powered Belafonte through the covers for four in his second over, but succumbed shortly after to the crafty Southerton for nine. Collinson was the second man to be dismissed however, as it was Tim Perry who was first out, bowled by deadly medium pacer Belafonte for 2.
Brad Tompkins and Ashby then set about building Lilley a platform, adding 33 for the third wicket before the skipper, attempting to launch Belafonte for a third four, mistimed his drive and was caught for 22. Joel Mellor bounded out to the crease, but he was soon with a new partner as Tompkins was bowled for 15. Ken Hammond replaced him and added to his list of people he’s run out, although Mellor can feel rightly aggrieved having seen Hammond’s powerful drive deflected onto the non strikers stumps by the bowler with Mellor short of his ground.
Hammond and Phil Horner then set about dragging Lilley towards victory, both crashing meaty blows around the park. Steve Perry, Tim’s father, was fielding for the home side as they were one down and he duly added to Ken’s run of ludicrous dismissals by catching the big midland mainline at point for 17 – a nice hat trick of 13 year old girl, 11 year old boy and arch wicket rival’s non cricketing Dad! Lilley, despite the laughing of the players waiting to bat, were slipping to defeat at 84-6. That went from bad to worse when Philo Clarke, the hero of chases in games gone by, was caught behind for just 2, leaving Lilley 90-7.
Phil Horner continued on his merry way, pounding the ball all over the place and he was comfortably assisted by Gareth Tompkins, who smashed some trademark booming shots on his way to 18 as Lilley moved to 131-7 with a 41 partnership. That became 131-8 however when GT holed out to mid off and a fine tumbling catch and Phil Horner eventually followed just before the end for 29, bowled. It left Rich Kendall and Taz Qureshi the task of getting 6 runs to win and with one over remaining and just one run required, it looked easy.
Five dot balls later though and things were very different!! Qureshi needed to get the ball away for one and he duly obliged, flicking it over the close catchers and scrambling a single with Kendall to see Lilley home by 1 wicket off the very last ball.