Match Report – East Leeds A v Sandal A 26th May 2018
Report by John Steel
Out With The Old And In With The New
Sandal A 158-9 East Leeds A 159-3
East Leeds got back to winning ways at Pontefract Lane with a 7 wicket victory over Sandal thanks to substantial contributions from four new players with only a handful of East Leeds games between them.
The match also marked the retirement of Martin Kent, the club’s second highest run scorer who was characteristically in at the win.
Skipper Dan Thewlis lost the toss but wasn’t overly dismayed when Sandal elected to bat; Shaan Ahmed and Shamraz Hussain taking the new ball.
Shaan put the nightmare of two weeks ago behind him and soon generated accuracy and pace and was a little unfortunate to have strong LBW shout against Hale turned down in his first over; Hale was quick to profit from any width with some crashing cover drives before Thewlis rang the changes early, replacing the wayward Hussain with Jamie Blackbrow at the pavilion end and taking off he unlucky Ahmed to bring Javed Aslam into the attack, however he too struggled with rhythm as the opening stand gained momentum and he was replaced after just four overs by Bobby Mushtaq.
The introduction of the spinner had an immediate effect on the rate of scoring and, with Blackbrow maintaining a tight line, East Leeds managed to peg the visitors back; it was a frustrated swish which brought Blackbrow his first victim for the club as an inswinger shaved leg stump to send Hale back to the pavilion after an enterprising 59. The junior partner in the stand of 105 was 15 year old Shuttleworth who showed excellent technique and a deft touch, but the accuracy of the bowling and intelligence of field placing created pressure which the other batsmen sought to relieve by some injudicious hitting; Mushtaq took a neat caught and bowled to remove the dangerous Scott Fairbrass and whilst some airborne shots off the spinner brought runs, they also brought wickets with another excellent catch taken at long-on by Blackbrow to dismiss Jim Davis.
Having completed his 12 over allotment for just 28 runs, Blackbrow was replaced by Ahmed who was rewarded with 3 quick wickets whilst Mushtaq wheeled away with accuracy and guile to claim a well-deserved five for.
Skipper Ian Shackleton was surely too low at number 11 and he guided his team through to a competitive 164-9 after the full forty overs, but he will have felt that a strong opening stand was somewhat squandered.
The pick of the East Leeds bowlers were Mushtaq with 5-45, Ahmed with 3-27 and Blackbrow with 1-28 backed up by some efficient ground fielding and some excellent catching by Mushtaq, Blackbrow and Thewlis. Mark Baulk, deputising behind the timbers made some good saves in the East Leeds cause, but extras were the third highest score with 21.
After the newly minted opening partnership of Brad Cunningham, (debut) and Osman Malik, (2nd match) started watchfully against an accurate opening attack with Malik lucky to survive a fairly straightforward chance behind, however once the change bowlers came on, runs started to flow with both batsmen playing some fine off side drives to recover the run rate to where it needed to be to take the score on to 90 before Jim Davis produced a ball which leapt off a length to leave Cunningham unable to drop his hands quickly enough to prevent a soft, gloved chance behind. Mushtaq arrived to play a couple of positive shots before holing out for 7 to bring the skipper to the crease. Malik went to his maiden East Leeds 50 in spectacular style with a six over extra cover but the return of the left arm opener Rafi saw him cleaned up with no further addition to his score.
The fall of the third wicket brought what the crowd was waiting for as Martin Kent strode out for the last time and quickly announced his arrival with a crunching drive through extra cover for 4. With the opening bowlers back in the attack, the result was far from settled, but the fluentThewlis combined with Kent to ensure that the rate was maintained with some intelligent running between the wickets. Both batsmen received let-offs with catches that ought to have been taken, however Thewlis struck the winning run, courtesy of a mis-field to bring the home side their second victory of the season with 13 balls to spare.
Thewlis finished on 39 not out from just 31 balls and Kent was unbeaten on 14 as he was carried from the field in recognition of his 4 decade long contribution to the East Leeds cause.
Martin Kent made his 2ndXI debut in 1980 and his maiden 50 the same year with 74 against Great Preston.
Apart from a year at Whitkirk in 1998, all his cricket was played at East Leeds and he retired at the end of the 2002 season at the relatively young age of 42 before coming back in 2009 to resume playing and adding considerably to an already formidable run aggregate.
In all, Martin scored 10,650 runs including career highlights of 49 half centuries and 3 hundreds; the highest of which was 114 for the 1stXI v Garforth in 1994.
He holds the record for most wicket keeping dismissals in a match, (7) for the 2ndXI v Garforth in 1986 and won the 2ndXI Batting prize on 3 occasions and the fielding on 4.
Few people who have seen Martin bowl are likely to forget the extravagant flighted leg-breaks which have broken the hearts of a number of batsmen who thought they could smite him from the park and his 55 wickets included a best performance of 4-39 which included the most exuberant of hat-tricks.
Martin has been a pleasure to play with and to know and we look forward to him remaining a valuable and popular member of our club.