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Lilley 194-8, 40 overs (Perry 42) beat Baldock Town 147 all out, 31.2 overs (Kruger 3-26) by 47 runs
It is no surprise that in the year of release of the Christian Grey trilogy, England has enjoyed it’s wettest summer in memory. But E L James certainly can’t be blamed for the serious lack of cricket action in 2012 thus far. That in mind, it was an absolute delight to get onto Baldock’s Avenue Park ground this Sunday and actually enjoy the thwack of leather on willow (I’m sure Mr Grey would like a bit of that too).
Baldock won the toss and elected to field first on a generally overcast day, occasionally punctuated with shafts of sunlight. James Ashby was joined by the returning Raja Asar at the top of the order in the absence of Dan Mills, and Asar quickly picked up where he left off last season by flaying several early wide balls to the boundary. He was unfortunate to play a bit of a non-shot to a ball which stuck in the surface a little on 15 though and tamely gave a chance to point which was taken.
Ashby (7) followed soon after, bowled by Harris off his pads, but Tim Perry and an alarmingly out of sorts McLaughlin began to steady the ship with some assured play. Baldock seems to bring out the worst of Macca’s batting and another injudicious shot led to his downfall, needlessly mowing across the line and miscuing to mid wicket when on 23 off the irritating Mongston.
In fact, irritating probably doesn’t do him justice.
Kruger replaced McLaughlin at the crease and instantly dropped into his natural ‘tip and run’ game. His first six was aimed at Neptune, the second at Mars and the third at a small Russian satellite, all of them narrowly missing. By the time he aimed an almighty heave (and miss) at James Rist and was duly bowled, he had racked up a quickfire 30 and Lilley were motoring.
At the other end, Perry went serenely about his business, oozing class as he worked the gaps to perfection.
Tom Smyth joined him and looked compact and steady at the crease. Smyth hit a couple of dreamy drives through the off side that even had the fielders cooing, but he perished on 14 when he tried to give himself room to cut and was bowled. Mark Scanlan joined Perry at the crease and he provided an excellent foil for Perry as the pair pushed Lilley past the 150 mark.
Perry’s epic knock was eventually ended when he was caught, only for 42, but he had been the glue holding the Lilley innings together. Craig Paddington joined ‘Scanner’, and instantly threw Baldock off with his extraordinary range of Calypso strokes. He was run out for 7, but the paying public had got their money’s worth from Lilley’s gun all rounder.
Scanlan and Qureshi then set about flaying the ball to all parts in a last push for runs, Qureshi being caught off the last ball of the innings. Scanlan ended unbeaten – isn’t he always – on 21 and Lilley had posted a useful 194-8 in 40 overs. The left hander is proving the find of the season, adding bowling, batting and fielding to the Lilley mix.
Lilley got a dream start with the ball when Khan’s loosener bowled Gazeley, middle stump. Soon after, Blenkin got a bottom edge to a Khan delivery which Qureshi took magnificently behind the stumps, low and at full stretch diving to his right. Khan’s effectiveness was curtailed somewhat by umpire Mongston (him again..), who had decided to start calling backfoot no balls, some of which were…disappointing.
Khan shared ‘new’ ball duties with Skipper Kruger, who has been dogged with knee niggles this year. There were no signs of rustiness though as he bowled Rist, had Harris caught at short midwicket by Smyth and then castled Baines first ball on his way to an impressive 3-26 from 8 off-the-reel overs. Smyth meanwhile bowled the aggressive Patel, who hit out suddenly having realised he has ten minutes to get to work…perhaps he should have hurried his team mates along when they were taking three hours to bowl 40 overs.
Captain Gentle was joined by Mr Mongston at the crease and to their credit the pair batted very well. Lilley were unfortunate in that several skied shots didn’t quite fall to hand, but with the duo at the crease and the run rate rattling along, Baldock went from rank outsiders to favourites to win. The introduction of Perry to the attack changed the game however, and Baldock tried to over attack at the other end. McLaughlin had gone for a few, but he eventually caused Gentle to hole out to Raja Asar for 20 and the game swung back in Lilley’s favour. Mongston was Baldock’s last hope, but he fell for 48. Trying to hit out at Perry, he skied the ball back to the bowler and despite screaming at the top of his voice to try and put him off, Lilley’s Vice Captain clung on to a straight forward chance.
Mclaughlin and Pery duly mopped up 9, 10 and jack and Lilley were home and hosed by 47 runs with a maximum points victory. Lilley are now just 5 points off the top of the table with all three teams above them to play – two of them at home. The weather may be bleak, but the season is hotting up like a bored middle aged housewife’s undercrackers at the mention of ‘The Book’…
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