Manderston record last-game victory over the Victorians

Manderston’s last match of a COVID-curtailed season saw them pitched against the Victorians, a team originally composed of doctors but now including students.

Thursday, 24th September 2020, 3:20 pm
Manderston in action in their concluding game of the season (picture by Eddy Richards)

The venue was Bates Cottage CC, in Seaton Delaval. The weather was worse than forecast but, in spite of wet grass, a 30-over match was proposed with a late start.

The Victorians won the toss and opted to bat, a decision they may have regretted, reports Eddy Richards.

After a maiden over from Dan Wright, Eddy Richards (3 overs, 2 for 10) struck with his first ball, pinning the opener lbw and repeated this success with his third.

After Mike Scott took a straightforward catch at cover off Wright (3 overs, 1 for 9), this left the home side at 19 for 3, not an auspicious start.

In spite of the wet outfield, the ball would race to the boundary from almost any contact. So, although the pitch had something in it for the bowlers, it meant an even contest between bat and ball.

The batting side decided to go on the attack, hitting out at almost anything. This meant a healthy scoring rate but also wickets lost. Aaron Mitchell bowled his full quota of five overs, relatively expensive with 34 runs scored, but taking two wickets, both to excellent catches in the deep by Jamie Farr – who ran 20 yards to cling on to a ball that was otherwise going for six – and Mike Scott.

At the other end, Chuck Scott took 1 for 4 from two hostile overs, another great catch by captain Rich Thomson at mid off, and Mark Conington lured the batsmen into big hits that presented the brothers Scott with a catch each on the boundaries at opposite sides of the field, only for both to be spilled.

George Farr proceeded to show the sometime unfairness of cricket by bowling a series of full tosses, one of which was brilliantly caught again by his son, jumping up on the deep midwicket boundary, not only to prevent a six but gain a wicket.

Another full toss bowled top scorer Khan (39) off his pads and finally, an excellent ball took his third, at the cost of 28 runs off three overs.

The remaining bowler used was Jamie Farr, bowling faster than the tailenders could deal with, and taking the final wicket to leave the Victorians on 108 all out in the 22nd over.

Akhal (23) and Chetan (14) were the only other batsmen to get into double figures. The general feeling was they had been too aggressive and more patience was required on a tricky pitch.

The Manderston reply was careful in the face of some accurate bowling but the score had moved to 13 before Rich Thomson (8) was given out lbw to his opposing captain Mohammed Shoaib (2 overs, 1 for 9).

Mike Scott took up the challenge and began to flay the bowling around the ground, scoring 21 in quick time. The inevitable wobble then came, with opener George Farr (8), Scott and new boy Gary Pearson all out in quick succession.

However, Shaun ‘Foxy’ Walsh and Jamie Farr put on a fine, match-winning partnership off 41 in great style; watchful in defence but prepared to punish anything loose. Even when Walsh (15) was out, followed quickly by Mitchell, Manderston remained confident as the younger Farr was batting beautifully, striking fours to all parts of the ground. The only question was whether he would reach his 50 before the match was won.

With five to win, he selflessly hit a single, to allow Chuck Scott to hit the winning runs with probably his best shot of the season, a lovely extra-cover drive, leave Farr stranded on 47 not out.

Curiously enough, the reply also finished in the 22nd over, although Manderston had four wickets in hand. The Victorians used seven bowlers and all were accurate; most successful was Mustaba (2 for 20 from 4 overs). Tahir, Chetan and Yasir took a wicket each, the latter bowling with a curious action in which he started with the ball in his right hand, then switched it to his left in his delivery stride – confusing but effective.