The seasonal debut for the over 45s, another under 19s game, the second piece of silverware for the season and a weather affected Saturday. Just another week at Penkridge Cricket Club...
Thursday saw the under 19s suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of local rivals Milford. Will Hinder top scored with 26 as we were dismissed for 93, a target Milford reached very comfortably for the loss of just two wickets.
Given the forecast for Saturday, we were fortunate to get any cricket in at all. As it was, all three games to be played were affected by the weather to varying degrees.
The first team travelled to Coventry & North Warwick for a vital game against one of the teams around them at the bottom of the league. Batting first we reached 161-7 off 35 overs before the rain came to force an early abandonment – Mohammed Ishtiaq (31), Rana Hassan (34) and Laeq Chishti (50) the major contributors. At the moment the team are just outside the relegation places with seven games left this season.
The second team entertained Shrewsbury and closed the gap at the top of the table after a decent performance against the league leaders. Shrewsbury posted 192-8 from their 50 overs, Adam Keen top scoring with 56. A decent bowling effort from us helped restrict the opposition, Chris Green (1-35) bowling a tidy opening spell in support of Gary Pope (2-40) and Jon Price (2-38). We only received 28 overs in reply following a lengthy rain interruption, but a blistering start from Atta Chishti (32) and Simon Parnaby (52) meant we briefly threatened an unlikely win, however a couple of quick wickets saw the innings close on 148-5 for a comfortable winning draw.
Given some of the downpours not far from the ground, we were incredibly lucky to get a meaningful game played – and whilst Shrewsbury remain strong favourites for the title, we have at least kept ourselves in with an outside chance of catching them.
The third team fixture was also affected by rain, as Wednesbury second team made light work of a reduced victory target to record a comfortable nine wicket win. Batting first, we recorded a respectable 219 all out, with Imram Bashir (28) and Will Hinder (29) providing useful support to the consistent Mohammed Shafiq (49). Tom Porter then took the solitary wicket to fall as Wednesbury reached their revised target of 133, Omar Patel top scoring with 51.
Sunday provided a much better story, as the second team got the few points they required to be officially crowned league champions with a victory over Cannock who were dismissed for 118 when batting first. Adam Beeken, Benji Lawrence, Ross Parker and Steve Jones (enjoying a rare bowl) all took a wicket apiece in support of Sam Beeken (2-17) and Jacob Ratcliffe (3-7). After an early innings wobble, Ross Parker (29) and Jack Pope (63) ensured a relatively comfortable win and the league title. Huge credit goes to all the players that have played their part this season, and to captain Richard James for his work with a largely young team who have displayed a never say die attitude in a number of games, deservedly taking the league crown.
The over 45 team made their first ever appearance in the Staffordshire Masters tournament – an eight-a-side competition which is initially played on a group basis. Cannock and Church Eaton are in our group, and on Sunday we hosted Church Eaton in a game which we recorded a relatively comfortable victory in – Richard Birch taking a couple of wickets, whilst Gary Pope (38) and Steve Jones (33) made useful contributions with the bat.
I played in the second team game against Shrewsbury, which saw me take a catch and a stumping as well as disappointingly missing a relatively straightforward stumping chance that I would normally expect to take comfortably. I finished on 15 not out with the bat, which helped us get past the winning draw target relatively comfortably – and whilst it was a good result for us, we were left a little frustrated at the weather interruption that quite probably cost us a victory.
Credit must go to Nick Giles and Neil Davis though, for all the work they do on the ground to get it into superb condition meaning we were able to re-start the game very quickly once the rain had stopped. The fines committee also saw that as the member of the team paying the highest fine of the day I received the “muppet of the day” award, meaning I had to wear a spectacular chicken hat for the duration of the evening. Still not sure how I managed to cop for that one!
No game for me this coming weekend as I’m away on Saturday - although a full set of Saturday fixtures, an under 19s midweek game and a Sunday fixture mean it will be another busy week for the club. In addition, we are both delighted and honoured to be hosting the England Physical Disability squad on Sunday for two T20 games against the “best of the rest” from the Regional Talent Centres as they look to continue their preparations for the winter training programmes. The first game starts at 10:30am and it promises to be a very good day of cricket.