East Leeds 1st XI v Oulton 1st XI 16 June 2018
Report by Tom Chapman
It was an overcast Saturday afternoon for Oulton’s visit to East Leeds. Both teams came into the fixture on good form with Oulton sitting third in the league and East Leeds having won their last two games. The pitch was hard but had a green tinge with plenty of grass, which left captain Tom Chapman a tough decision upon winning the toss. A mixture of the overhead conditions and the abundance of grass on the pitch swayed Tom into bowling first.
It’s fair to say East Leeds didn’t take advantage of the conditions first up. There was plenty of movement off the pitch and it was tough to bat when the ball was put in the right place, but too often the pressure was released by a bad ball. The score had quickly reached 38 before Allan Olbison (1-46) got it right and trapped Harrison, one of the league’s leading run scorers, in front. The dangerous Healey joined Henshaw at the crease and was his usual destructive self, smashing 34 in quick time, before he played one shot too many off Jimmy Watling’s first ball. Jim bowled with his usual control all afternoon, going for just 36 runs off his 15 overs and taking four wickets in the process. Jim’s control as well as tight spells from Allan and Willy Storey pegged Oulton back and wickets started to fall at regular intervals. It was when Henshaw was caught behind off Jim for a very well made 79 that East Leeds started to have the upper hand. At that point Oulton were 176-6. Ben Wilkinson had been introduced into the attack and set about his usual task of finishing the innings extremely well. Bens pace and swing, combined with bowling the heaviest ball in the club, make him not only extremely difficult for batsmen to get away at the end of an innings, but also a real wicket taking threat. Ben finished the innings off quickly (although there was time for Tom to be hit for six by someone who looked like they didn’t know which end of the bat to hold) taking four wickets for just 14 runs. Oulton 219 all out.
Chasing 220 doesn’t happen too often, but there was a real air of confidence in the East Leeds dressing room, which wasn’t dampened by a downpour during the tea break. The rain meant East Leeds lost a couple of overs, but fortunately play was back underway without too much of a break. Dean Atkinson and Brad Cunningham continued their partnership at the top of the order and got us off to a great start once again with Dean in particular looking in great form. As a right handed batsman it was nice to see Brad wearing right handed gloves too, instead of the left handed ones he’d been wearing in previous weeks (how no one noticed I have no idea). Brad hit a lovely cover drive for four, pulled a massive six and then was trapped in front LBW for 25, with the score on 78. A great start to the chase. Dean continued to play some fantastic shots and passed 50 for the first time this year. East Leeds had a stutter just after they’d passed the 100 mark with the wickets of Dean (60) and the injured Jacob ‘Snakey’ Naylor (20) in quick succession threatening to rock the chase. Jim and Tom needed to rebuild and fortunately had time to do so, the score moving on to 140 before Tom (16) was strangled down the leg side. Jim (26) and Chris Cannings (16) moved the score onto 165 before both were dismissed within a run of each other, again threatening to throw the chase into turmoil. Fortunately Ben (17) and Jehan Rana moved the score closer to the victory target before they too were dismissed in quick succession with the score on 188. It was time for a hero, and fortunately for East Leeds Allan (20 not out) is well versed in seeing his team over the line. Al came in with two wickets in hand and still another 32 runs required. He put on 19 with Baz Hussain, but East Leeds still required 13 more for their victory. Step up Willy Storey. Willy was greeted to the crease with Al saying (forgive me this may not be an exact quote) ‘Looks like it’s down to me and you again’. Been there, done that got the t-shirt, and the pair knocked off the winning runs to spark wild celebrations on the home balcony. A third win in a row and a major scalp, see’s East Leeds rise to sixth in the table.
A great win and we’re on a huge roll. Confidence is flowing, and I don’t think I’ve ever kissed a man as much as I did Al when we got back to the changing rooms. What a man he is!