3rd team crisis? What crisis?
Sunday 17 May the 3rd team were playing
at home to Benwell Hill, a side that is very capable and experienced
with a good mix of senior players that aren’t past it and some good
juniors coming through.
reasons Stockton 3rd team were best described as 'not being at full
strength'. Made up of “9 might be’s and 2 never were’s”. There were two seniors in the Team: Under 15 coach Paul
Stevenson and Under 13 coach Pete Bowman. The juniors, all 9 of them came from
those two age group sides. We haven’t done the maths but the average age of the
side won’t be bad. The problem was that the age range was either side of 15 and 48
with nothing in the middle. Using all his years of experience though the skipper for the
day won the toss. Fearing spending 45 overs chasing a piece of red leather to
all corners of the Grangefield Ground Stockton decided to bat.
The opening pair of Harry White and Toby Stevenson got off to a solid start, Harry tucking into some full bowling to score successive cover drive 4s. A few minutes later caught between minds Harry was caught behind by the keeper.
Enter Boom Boom James Hunter. A quick cameo of 11 off 5
balls. Caught at mid-off brought an end to an entertaining if brief innings.
Saif Javed was next in and unfortunately he got a good ball hitting top of off
and that was him gone.
James English was next in and the Benwell Hill fielders likened it to playing a side of Russian dolls. You get one out and the next one comes in looking identical but smaller. James and Toby brought a fresh steadiness, refusing to give their wicket away and taking runs when available.
James finally fell run out, Toby for once failing to account for the pace of the fielder relative to his batting partner.
Next came Faroze Shafiq, who is even smaller than James, (more laughter from the field). Benwell Hill had got bored by now and the quick bowlers were on again. Faroze had a word with Toby and asked him to deal with the quick bowler from one end. When he saw what was coming next at the other end Faroze then asked Toby if he could deal with the bowler at that end as well. Playing with 4 slips now, The Hill had made a mistake of not having a 3rd man; an area for scoring that Faroze was quick to spot and exploit. They hadn’t thought of that one!
Faroze and Toby were both ultimately bowled by good balls, Toby having top scored with 31. Harris ended 2 not out and was very pleased with himself for not being out.
The good news was that we made over 100 runs and batted out the 45 overs.
We had a very pleasant tea (Thanks Sue Gaffers and Sarah Bowman)and then allowed Benwell Hill to continue to feast afterwards with bowling that was either short, leg side or overly full. Our new under 15 bowler Fardin however got rid of one of the opening batsmen with a great delivery and was undoubtedly the pick of our bowlers. Harry White came on to demonstrate his pie chucking and was rewarded when a miscued down the ground attempted six was caught by a running diving Toby Stevenson. In all fairness Benwell Hill were never in any difficulty and knocked them off in quick time so we could go and have our Sunday Dinner.
We fulfilled the fixture, batted our overs out, got a couple of points and had bit of a laugh.