Brilliant Bradshaw Batters Birmingham: A Big Century setting the foundation for a comprehensive 197 run victory for UWMCC
Fresh off an emphatic 4s victory against Aston 2s the day before, UWMCC welcomed in May and the glorious cricketing weather with a double whammy against our big West Midland rivals Birmingham with both 2nd and 3rd teams from both universities in action. The anticipation of adoptions that evening and the balmy summerlike conditions presented the opportunity for a memorable day – one that did not disappoint. The recent university league tables had confirmed Warwick’s academic dominance in the West Midlands, but who would prevail on the cricket pitch?
UWMCC 3s were keen to start the season with a victory (last week’s game against Aston having been declared void due to Aston’s negligence regarding umpires). As if the clear sky and calm winds weren’t enough of an indication of the state of the wicket, the umpires struggling to get the stumps into the ground reassured the inevitable – this was a high scoring pitch. As it is the stumps were finally positioned a good couple of inches above giving the bowlers plenty of opportunity to get off stump cart wheeling back.
UWMCC winning the toss and electing to bat gave the in-form Bradshaw and David an opportunity to assert their dominance on this Birmingham outfit. From the outset, UWMCC began smoothly and swiftly with Bradshaw and David both getting their eyes in and despatching the balls to the boundary. In no time, UWMCC had reached 50 when David, too eager to smack another to the boundary, played just too early spooning it for a well crafted 29. In came Watts, intent on making the most of the fantastic batting conditions and fast outfield. Bradshaw and Watts continued to take the attack to the bowlers maintaining a solid run rate. Before no time, Bradshaw began opening up with a couple of sixes targeting the short boundary on the far side fully utilising his baseball style pick up, and as a consequence losing a couple of match balls prompting UWMCC to pull the brand-new nets across. Fifty came and went for Bradshaw and after a 126 run partnership, Watts was bowled for 26. The Bradshaw show was unfazed by the fall of wickets as he progressed to his century finishing on 120 off 91 balls. A fantastic effort. A score of 300+ looked odds on, however then came the UWMCC collapse. Five wickets falling in the space of eight overs led to signs that the magical 300 would not be accomplished. Nonetheless, some gritty hitting from Mahmood accompanied by a sturdy resolute performance from Evans took UWMCC to the end. Mahmood finishing on 31* and Evans on 9*. UWMCC concluding on a massive 297 for 8 off 50 overs with Birmingham spinner Bradshaw getting six wickets. Bradshaw’s on fire all round in this innings.
Despite a resounding scoreboard, there remained some anxiety regarding the failure to cross the 300 barrier, and the unchangeable conditions presenting a potentially high scoring match akin to the famous one dayer between Australia and South Africa.
Nonetheless, Povey and Evans opened up intent on applying the pressure early. Despite some early looseners, both openers found their line quickly and the agonisingly frustrating position of inches outside the bat too often than not. However, in the blink of the eye Birmingham were two down with Povey knocking off the top of the stumps – helped by their higher position – before trapping the new batsman plumb LBW. Whilst at the other end Evans produced a textbook ball as the Birmingham Number 4 left a straight one that nipped in at the last moment and saw the top of off stump falling. Birmingham struggling at 30 for 3 after a brilliant opening spell from Povey and Evans.
UWMCC deciding to change things up introducing the two swing bowlers, Rayner and Mahajan. Birmingham continued to struggle to utilise the excellent batting conditions as the dots kept on building and the required run rate kept on rising. Rayner with some excellent shape shifters, producing arguably the most frustrating few overs for UWMCC as the Birmingham left hander played and missed at least 70% of Rayner’s deliveries – a truly first class illustration of how to play and miss. UWMCC keeping it tight in the field with some excellent ground fielding from the towering Povey. An excellent spell from the swingers yielding no results.
It was time for Gould and Mahmood to enter the game and produce their moments of magic in order to break down this ‘nightwatchman-esque’ performance. Continuing to keep it tight, both Gould and Mahmood picked up a wicket each and alongside a highly debatable run-out Birmingham were eyeing the jaws of defeat and a hefty loss. Despite Birmingham’s test-match run rate, UWMCC were not to become complacent as a slip of standards could swing the momentum in favour of the opposition. The stage was set for Mahmood as he carved into the Birmingham tail taking four wickets in his last two overs – one being a fantastic sharp stumping from David, preventing the ever-keen Povey from returning into the attack.
Birmingham completely out muscled in all departments as UWMCC recorded a resounding win. The Birmingham skipper exclaimed at the end that they did at least reach 100, but the statistics were there for all to see. UWMCC 3s winning by 197 runs and technically speaking Bradshaw beating Birmingham single-handedly runs wise 120 to 100. A glorious day of cricket and a glorious day for UWMCC as both the 2nd and 3rd teams demolished their Birmingham equivalents.
UWMCC 3s acquiring a monstrous run rate on the back of the win, which should lead them in fantastic stead if the title comes down to run rates.
On to the next on.