EVEN THE WEST INDIES WOULDN’T
HAVE FANCIED THIS...
How many sweaters can the average cricketer wear at the same time and still be
capable of meaningful movement? An answer seemed sure to emerge on a truly
perishing evening at Bowdon Vale as the Outcasts assembled at this tidy little
ground in one of Trafford’s more affluent enclaves. A truly remarkable
temperature drop of 10C in little more than a couple of hours caught everyone on the hop, as hail
showers peppered the suburbs of Altrincham. Not the most welcoming weather,
then, to greet the start of another season; officially Outcasts’ thirty-first.
So, a new ground and new opponents - Vale Vikings, whom we learned play
competitively in an over-40s league, which sounded somewhat ominous, though
they seemed a friendly enough bunch and were happy to lend us two players:
Steve Bottomley and Gareth Roberts, in order to ensure a full 11-a-side match.
called incorrectly and Vikings chose (predictably) to bat, with Ollier and Webb
getting things under way. Les and Paul set about their bowling business tidily,
with just six runs coming from the first three overs, for the wicket of Ollier,
who hit one from Paul straight at Gareth Roberts in the covers, who with
minimal fuss held the catch. Dean, replacing Ollier, was looking to attack and
the scoring rate accelerated as he and Webb began to punish the odd loose
T. and Gareth took over bowling duties, with Chris the first to strike as Webb
again picked out the lurking Gareth; in the following over Gareth got his
reward when Jessop found Bob Sproat who made good ground in from the mid-wicket
boundary to cling on to a far from easy chance. That, however, proved to be
Outcasts’ last success until the final over of the innings, as Dean and Hunter
made steady progress; a succession of boundaries keeping the score ticking
along effectively. Dean’s enforced retirement, having reached a pleasing 30,
didn’t slow things down, as Gandy joined Hunter in a supporting role, easing
the total towards the three figure mark.
managed to have the last word, however, returning to bowl the final over, and
dismissing the impressive Hunter for a well-crafted 29; Gareth completing a
fine hat-trick of catches. Vikings finished on 102 for 4 - would this prove to
be gettable for Outcasts’ notoriously brittle batting?
fair to say that things didn’t start well, with Ted Noone succumbing in the
first over, struggling to pick out the decidedly sharpish line of Gandy against
a backdrop of a low setting sun. Bob and Derek Molyneux then steadied the ship,
but found scoring hard work; one Aziz over apart, where Derek helped himself to
thirteen runs. By the halfway mark, the pair were still there, but had only
managed to advance the score to 27, against some tight bowling and a
well-placed field. Bob then fell lbw to Aziz; followed by Steve Bottomley who
overstretched himself against the wily and economical Hutton and became the
victim of a neat stumping.
however, was looking secure and went serenely on his way, eventually reaching
the retirement mark of 30; the only Outcast batsman who looked generally
comfortable against some accurate bowling. Thereafter, however,
continued to fall rather too quickly as first Paul and then Les departed to
successive balls, by which time the run chase - which if truth be told never
really got going - had petered out, with Tony T. and Chris seeing out the
overs. Outcasts’ final total of 64 for 5 was well short of the target and once
again highlighted the batting deficiencies after a decent enough bowling and
the evening had improved markedly; the match ending in sunny conditions, the
temperature remained stubbornly in Arctic territory, and the rather excellent
pie and peas provided by our hospitable hosts were most welcome.
P.T. 28 May 2016