Sandal 1st XI v East Leeds 1st XI
Report by Tom Chapman
An early season 40 pointer (is that a thing?), as both East Leeds and Sandal had made disappointing starts to their seasons after lofty finishes last time around. East Leeds welcomed Willy Storey back into the fold, which meant on paper a very strong eleven would take the field. The pitch looked very dry, and on a warm sunny day it looked like batting first would be the only option upon winning the toss, which is why there was some surprise when Sandal won it and opted to bowl first.
Dean Atkinson and Chris Cannings continued their role at the top of the order and got East Leeds off to a great start, with Dean in particular playing some lovely shots on his way to 37. Chris was the first to be dismissed after an opening stand of 45, and when Dean was bowled the score had reached 60-2. Jimmy Watling (19) and Jacob Naylor (46) batted well together and kept the scoreboard ticking over, building a great platform for the lower order to showcase their hitting ability later, however the dismissal of Jimmy from the first ball after drinks sparked a collapse. East Leeds slipped from 111-2 to 165 all out, a medium pacer being the main destroyer making use of the dry pitch, bowling stump to stump and extracting some extremely low bounce from the dying pitch. The behaviour of the pitch gave East Leeds hope despite having targeted 250 at drinks.
Early wickets, keeping it tight and building pressure to let the decaying pitch do the work would be the key to defending the total for East Leeds, and when Banaras Hussein (1-35) took an early wicket we were on top. A well-built second wicket partnership saw Sandal edging their way towards victory, before Willy Storey (1-40) and Tom Chapman (1-21) bowled well in a partnership to put pressure on the Sandal batsmen. The pressure resulted in two quick wickets, and potentially a match changing moment when Tom dropped Westwood (84) off his own bowling while the batsman was in his 40s. Had the chance been taken nerves would have been running throughout a Sandal dressing room, who were also yet to win this season. As it was Westwood continued to grind Sandal towards that illusive victory before Jimmy (1-17) removed him with Sandal needing just 11 more to win. Those runs were knocked off, which meant a Sandal win by 6 wickets.
The margin of the defeat doesn’t tell the full story, as the game was in fact a much closer affair and could have gone either way at most points of the game. In fact we were well on top and a score of 200+ would have really challenged the Sandal batsmen, who were content to grind their way to victory. Onwards an upwards, we are too good a team to keep losing, and we’re confident one win will send us on a run!