On Sunday 31st August, Cleeve CC played host to a Gloucestershire CCC all-star first team in a nail biting Twenty20 match in aid of Craig Spearman’s benefit year and Cleeve CC’s 60th anniversary.
Hundreds turned out to see village club Cleeve take on the Gloucestershire line-up of Craig Spearman, Hamish Marshall, Jack Russell, Steve Kirby, Chris Taylor, Kadeer Ali, Mike Smith, Mark Hardinges, David Brown, Steve Adshead and Alex Gidman.
Visiting skipper, Craig Spearman, won the toss and elected to bat first. James Haswell and John Hance took the new ball for Cleeve, bowling to the Gloucestershire opening pair of Hamish Marshall and Kadeer Ali. They seemed to have less trouble with the league winning strike partnership than most this season, as they got off to a flying start with 28 runs coming from the first 2 overs.
When Hamish Marshall was caught on the long off fence by Robbie Hoffeldt, Kadeer Ali responded by stepping on the gas and plundering Robbie's two overs for 32 runs. The hundred came up in the 8th over before Kadeer Ali (72 from 27 balls) walked past one from Alan Terrell to gift Mike Carpenter a stumping. Craig Spearman followed shortly after, excellently caught by Chris Lewin running round the long on boundary.
Craig Spearman hits out during his innings
Wickets continued to fall regularly, with Jack Russell run out, unfortunate to be left stranded as John Parsons deflected a straight drive from Steve Kirby onto the stumps. Kirby made his apologies before giving a simple return catch, John finishing his spell with 3 for 26. There were more good catches from Cleeve’s Chris James and Bill Mather, before Alex Gidman (40 not out from 18 balls) gave the Gloucestershire total a late boost with some lusty hitting, and the 200 was reached with the final ball of the innings.
Cleeve’s Andy Burrell and Mike Haswell were first to face the new ball pair of Steve Kirby and Mike Smith. Kirby seemed initially to struggle with the left hand-right hand combination as fine leg was kept busy. Mike Smith had no such trouble and soon made inroads, having Andy caught at square leg. Robbie Hoffeldt struggled to get the ball away before being cleaned up with a yorker and Smith wrapped up his spell by removing Bill Mather to finish with fine figures of 3 for 3.
With Mike Haswell having departed, caught at mid on by Steve Adshead off Thule Player of the Month, Steve Kirby. Chris James and Ian Mitchell were left to try and rebuild: Mitchell played the supporting role as Chris got stuck into the friendly change bowling, hitting both Hamish Marshall and Jack Russell for huge sixes.
Jack Russell demonstrated his genius behind the wicket moments later, taking a superb catch to dismiss Mitch. Chris Lewin gave Russell a wicket in the next over courtesy of a sharp catch at cover by Hamish Marshall. Chris James continued to pile on the runs with more sixes off Chris Taylor, but it was not to be a fairytale ending as, having made 95 from just 50 balls, he holed out to Adshead off Craig Spearman to depart to a well deserved standing ovation.
Mike Carpenter joined Ian Wisniewski to see out the remainder of the innings, as Gloucestershire held on to win by 32 runs.
Players leave the field after the match