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Nichols' Ton Not Enough for The Moonrakers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 May 2014

The day was kick started with a bit of team bonding over breakfast at the Core family residence. And it was an outstanding full English as well leaving the door wide open for many more before seasons end. But before too long we were on our way to Milnrow for our third league game of the season.  A well conducted warm up game of fielding soccer where our captain managed his first goal of the year, which would have given him some confidence when he tossed the coin.

He made the correct decision and batted first on a dry wicket that was always going to break up and play a few tricks as the game progressed. A change to the batting line up saw Nichols (overseas) and Edmeades (pro) open, as local talent George Walker was competing in the final of a local soccer competition. The innings started well for the Moonrakers as the score ticked along at around 5 runs an over for the first 10 overs. Nichols after two consecutive ducks managed to get his first runs for the season with an on drive for 4, whilst Edmeades at the other end was playing cover drives that could be used as an example for all young players.

The 100 partnership was soon brought up by the opening pair and with wickets in the shed Middleton were looking at a very large total. Nichols passed 50 off as many balls and then Edmeades an over or two later. To the Milnrow bowler’s credit they bowled a steady line and length but were undone by one or two balls an over that would either go for runs or find the boundary, something that would become quite common for the remainder of the game. With the partnership in the 170 region Edmeades after playing a text book innings would be undone with one of his more loose shots for the day and was caught at long-on for 84. Enter the captain and after some low scores was out to get his season going.

Nichols and Jones kept the scoreboard ticking over which brought the Australian into the 90’s. The scoring rate suddenly slowed as he waited for the right ball and was able to work it behind square for two, bringing up a maiden century for Middleton. Two overs later and Nichols smacked the first two balls back over the bowlers head for six a sight that was seen regularly throughout the day, the next ball he attempted for three in a row and held out to deep midwicket. With the Middleton boys only 2 wickets down, around 200 runs on the board and 11 overs left in the innings 270 was looking to be minimum score. But as any batsman knows the hardest thing to do is score runs from the very start. Milnrow set some good fields and the bowling was tight. Jones was caught on the boundary for 17 as was Davey for 6. Sam Warren playing a role that he is not generally used to managed 12 whilst Danny Core was able to score 14 in some lower order hitting. As the Middleton lads finished 7/264 off their allotted 50 overs.

The Milnrow ladies offered up a superb tea easily edging the up the standings for best tea in the competition.

30 minutes were up and 13 players and 2 umpires were back on the field. And with the return of Saqib Mahmood from England duties we were fired up and ready to go. The key once again for Middleton would be early wickets and we got one thanks the Saq who bounced out one of their openers and he was caught at mid-on by a shaky Sam Warren. After an inspired bowling change after only 6 overs Mike Pritchard would bring the other early wicket when he got a ball to spit and take the batsman on the gloves to balloon into the hands of Edmeades at gully, 2 for 30 odd with close to 15 overs completed.

This brought their overseas batsman to the crease who joined their South African pro. Saqib’s bowling restrictions meant he could only bowl 7 overs in a spell which paved the way for Joel Harris to enter the attack. The batsman to both Pritchard and Harris continued to use their feet to throw the bowlers off their length and it worked as one or two balls an over were able to find the boundary on a consistent basis.

A massive turning point in the game came when Pritchard was bowling to their overseas and had him driving in the air but only as far as a diving Grant Jones at cover who with a tremendous effort could not get the ball to stay in his right hand. The very next ball the same batsman drove a ball back at Pritchard to his left who as well was unable to hang on.

The best bit of fielding in what can be known as Middleton’s worst of the season so far was when Joel Harris was able to run out at the keepers end the Australian overseas all-rounder who had scored a considerable amount of the teams runs cashing in on some dropped chances earlier in his innings. This would in turn be the last Middleton wicket as Milnrow were able to knock the runs off with 1 over to go. Their Pro would in turn score 128* and leaving a lot of the Middleton faithful thinking “HOW?”. Luckily for the Middleton boys they have a double header weekend allowing them the chance to bounce back fast.

My votes

3. Harry Nichols

2. Grant Edmeades

1. Saqib Mahmood

Harry Nichols

 
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Middleton C.C. currently have three senior teams competing in the Penine Cricket League, and five junior teams.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

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