In the final round of group fixtures in the BUCS indoor competition this year we faced Worcester 1’s, Staffordshire and Worcester 2’s on Saturday 20th February.
Our first match against a well-drilled Worcester 1’s side got off to a good start as Goodyear won the toss and we batted. Bex and Teds took to the crease and initially looked positive although Bex was then given out LBW as he tried to sweep the opening bowler. This brought Rooty to the crease and led to a crucial partnership being developed in the early overs, only broken when Teds, having made 17, was caught behind by the Worcester wicket keeper. Rooty soon after retired meaning two new batsmen (Clayden and Goodyear) were brought to the crease. Despite this the momentum of the innings did not slow and with a valuable lower order contribution by Goodyear (31) we managed a total of 113 in 9.4 overs.
In reply, Worcester got off to a very confident start with both their openers scoring freely and beyond the required rate, scoring 52 runs altogether. It took some very good bowling to break this partnership, which is exactly what Clayden delivered – firing in a back of a length delivery which led to Rooty taking a simple catch. After this partnership Worcester would never recover, with no meaningful partnerships being made and scoring a total of just 5 runs between them. This meant after Worcester’s 10 overs they stumbled to just 75 runs. The pick of the bowlers was Clayden who had figures of 4-9 off his 3 overs.
After a trip to Aldi, a below average salad, and a lengthy wait our next fixture was against Staffordshire, again an established side who had beaten Birmingham earlier in the day, the only team we had previously lost to in this campaign. Again Goodyear won the toss and batted, this time UWMCC getting off to a better start in this game. Teds however was the first to go on 20, caught behind from some good bowling and Bex was then involved in a mix up with Rooty, leading to both batsmen being down at the same end and leaving Staffordshire with a simple run out. Despite a good base being set we were in trouble when both Clayden and Root were out cheaply, meaning that Goodyear and Chase came to the crease with the score at just 54-4 in the 5th over. However, some confident batting from both players meant we scored at a good rate and managed to get to one of our highest scores in the competition, 126 runs in 10 overs, with Goodyear and Chase scoring 23 and 31* respectively.
In reply the Staffordshire outfit struggled due to a committed bowling and fielding performance. We managed to bowl a lot less extras than Staffordshire, meaning they quickly started to struggle, really highlighting the effect of scoreboard pressure in indoor cricket. Staffordshire only managed to reach 57 before they were bowled out in the 7th over, Clayden being involved with every wicket.
Our last game saw us face a Worcester 2’s side who were probably a better team than their 1’s who they had previously beaten. For the third time that day we managed to bat first and put a score on the board for Worcester to chase. Bex was out without scoring, being caught and bowled after hitting the ball straight back to the infamous Woodsy. This was a sign of things to come with the rest of the incoming batsmen making starts, but not going on to retire. Fortunately, a determined batting performance by Teds meant that we finished on a low but defendable score 81, of which Teds scored 40.
In reply we took the field and started well, keeping sharp and taking our chances.
The abuse from the Worcester entourage aimed at the umpires seemed to work in our favour, as despite a few controversial no ball decisions from Clayden’s back of a length bowling, the umpires would then give us the majority of decisions (including a potentially contentious run out). Nevertheless, the team performed superbly managing a total of 4 run outs, completely tearing apart the Worcester batting line-up, with only one batsman making double figures. We kept the pressure on right until the end and bowled Worcester out for just 37 in 5.4 overs, which was quite the achievement bearing in mind how easy it is to score indoors. This victory was probably the most satisfying for all of the players, reducing Worcester to a stunned silence.
The day was a very successful outing for the club with all of the team putting in match winning contributions at some stage. Furthermore, due to Birmingham having an absolute nightmare we managed to finish top of our group, only losing one of our 7 matches and will now progress to the Northern knockout stage of the competition this Saturday, with games against Liverpool, Keele and Strathclyde as the boys look to progress to the last 8 nationally. Finally, a big thanks to Charlie Turner for scoring for us again.