The UWMCC 2nd XI headed to Loughborough hoping to bounce back from their defeat against BCU 1s two days earlier. A smattering of rain in the morning left many feeling the game would be called off, yet by 11am the weather had cleared up and the game was good to go.
After a quick pitch inspection, skipper Chandi won the toss and decided to bat first in the hopes of getting a score of 250 or so and put the Loughborough 3s under some real pressure. Bradshaw and Kunwar opened the batting and looked solid against a useful opening attack. Things were looking good until Kunwar, much to his disbelief, was stumped after some sharp work from the Loughborough keeper. This brought Liam David to the crease with the task of setting a platform from which a strong target could be set.
Bradshaw and Liam put on 49 for the second wicket before Bradshaw fell for 20, alas he was unable to turn his start into another big score. This left the 2nd XI at 68-2 and what followed was an England-esqsue collapse which saw skipper Chandi, Ballantine-Dykes and Bennett unable to amass more than 10 runs between them as the team slumped to 94-5.
Nish was next to the crease and, along with Liam, managed to steady the ship for a few more overs. However, not for the first time in the innings, a promising partnership was broken. This time Liam holing out to cover for a gutsy 41 after being frustrated by the opposition’s spinner. With the score reading 120-6, the 2s had no other option but to try and bat out the 50 overs. Besides Nish, who finished on 22, the tail failed to wag with much gusto and the 2s were all out for 139 – their lowest score of the season so far.
With the jacket potatoes still in the oven and the coleslaw yet to be put out for service, the umpires announced that 9 overs would be taken before lunch. The 2s entered the field knowing that if they were to have any chance of clinching victory they would need a couple of early wickets. Skipper Chandi, ever the innovator, took the decision to open with seam from one end and spin from the other and this proved to be a masterstroke. Samuel picked up a wicket in the first over after a sharp catch at point from Chandi, an ideal start. Then, in what could only be described as “a heads gone moment”, Loughborough lost their second wicket. Their audacity to attempt a quick single to Kunwar at square leg backfired leaving them 2 down. Smelling blood, Nish turned the screw and took two wickets, both LBWs, to leave Loughborough reeling at 20-4 at lunch. To steal a line from a well-known bookmakers, “Game On”.*
Following a quick lunch break, Sam King was brought into the attack with spin being bowled from both ends in order to take advantage of the turning pitch and slow outfield. Unfortunately, Loughborough’s No.6 decided to go on the attack and struck King for a few boundaries through the offside. Two more Nish wickets followed, the second an excellent catch off his own bowling (this did tear the webbing in his hand and thus he had to depart the field) which removed the dangerous Loughborough No.6 who batted well for his 45. With Kraus, who had replaced King at the top end, managing to take two wickets in his first two overs Loughborough had struggled to a mere 89-8 and victory was still very much on the cards.
However, some sensible batting from the oppositions No.9 (27*) and No.10 (22*) meant that they were able to finish the game off despite some very tight bowling and sharp fielding. A tough chance to Bennett at slip was the closest the 2s came to another wicket. The final figures were Samuel (1-21), Nish (4-33), King (0-33), Ballantine-Dykes (0-23) and Kraus (2-21).
Special mention goes to Liam for his knock of (41) and Nish for his efforts with the bat and ball, as well as coming back to field the remaining overs with his injury. The 2s will look to get back to winning ways against Worcester 2s when they play at Cryfield on Wednesday.
*No copyright infringement intended.