SNB beat wavertree
Yates 100 and keedy 5fa
Liverpool Gin Liverpool Competition: First Division: Southport & Birkdale (25pts), 269 for five declared, beat Wavertree (5pts), 167, by 102 runs
Perhaps Southport and Birkdale’s cricketers should be wary of their wishes.
Twelve days ago Chris Firth and his players watched as Newton-le-Willows’ batsmen slumbered to a draw by scoring 99 runs in 55 overs. The atmosphere at Wavertree’s well-appointed Sandown Lane ground last Saturday was rather different.
Replying to S&B’s 269 for five declared, in which Bradley Yates had made a high-quality 134 not out, the home side’s openers opted for a full-scale cavalry charge. Aided by attacking fields and some inaccurate bowling, Tom Oughterson and Josh Birch scored 27 runs in the first two overs and 57 in the first five.
Playing fine shots all round the wicket, they had added 84 in 7.2 overs when Oughterson was leg before wicket to Firth for 48 runs. The Wavertree opener had faced 24 balls. He and his colleague had scored only 15 runs fewer off 44 balls than Newton-le-Willows had managed in 55 overs.
S&B’s scorer, Colin Warhurst, his statistical fascination getting the better of his paternal affection, pointed out that his son, who had previously conceded 38 runs in 33 overs, had now gone for 48 in only four. This year’s Father’s Day may be a rather quiet affair chez Warhurst.
It was, as even some S&B players conceded, glorious stuff. But it could not last. S&B’s spinners, although not exempt from some rough treatment, eventually got their revenge. Having hit nine fours and two sixes in his 43-ball 61, Birch was caught at long-on by Warhurst off Gary Keedy.
Wavertree declined, much as their likeable and welcoming supporters had predicted, from 120 for one to 167 all out. Firth picked up two of the wickets, before he shrewdly replaced himself with Chris Cunningham, who bagged a couple more. Keedy showed some of the home batsmen the skills which had once outwitted county cricketers and ended the innings with five for 26.
S&B’s catching was almost faultless and Harry May’s pick up and throw to run out Stewart Guy from mid-on was outstanding. Firth’s players will be better for their mauling. There are comparable tests to come, although it is doubtful if any will be quite so violent.
All of which leaves us with the 43 overs faced by S&B’s batsmen and Yates’ ruthless determination to capitalise on every shortcoming the Wavertree bowlers revealed. The S&B opener showed that there are occasions during a cricket match when greed is good, and t his is a lesson which, on this season’s evidence, some of his younger colleagues have yet to learn.
More specifically they need to see that getting to twenty is not so much an achievement as an opportunity, especially so during a season in which they can develop both their skills and their cricketing intelligence. No doubt these will come but until then Firth is right to ask even more of his established batsmen. He knows, as should they, that the living will not always be so easy.
A severely depleted S&B side lost their first-round match in the Ray Digman Trophy on Sunday when Highfield comfortably defeated Chris Firth’s team by seven wickets.
However, on the previous evening spectators at Trafalgar Road had been offered yet another masterclass in generalship from that Sun-Tzu among cricket captains, Craig Todd, who led the second team to a 116-run victory over Sefton Park. Assisted by Jonny Hine’s 98 and Josh Hine’s 51 in S&B’s 243 all out in 35 overs, Todd then saw to it his opponents were dismissed for 127.
Jack Morris-Holland took five for 28, including the last wicket courtesy of a fine overhead catch by Adam Galley at cover, while Todd finished with five for 45. The S&B players resisted the temptation to chair their skipper from the field amid bunting and jubilee, although no doubt that time will come.