One of England Physical Disability cricket’s showcase fixtures took place at Bourneville Cricket Cub on Saturday when they played a 40-over match against the Army Cricket Association.
This was the third annual fixture of its kind and had been organised through the Bill Lloyd Memorial Trust in order to raise funds for disability cricket and the Army Benevolent Fund.
The damp Birmingham weather unfortunately kept some supporters away, however the game itself was played and the toss was won by the Army who decided to bowl first. The umpires and captains were accompanied by Mark Ramprakash and Dennis Amiss at the toss, where Ramprakash commented on the fact that green-topped wickets are not unusual in this area and that he would be keen to strap his pads on.
The toss was vital on this showery day and bowling first was definitely going to be an advantage. So it proved. In the first five overs of the game, tight bowling coupled with some early movement restricted the openers to just five runs. The rain returned during the sixth over and fell quite hard; however, the umpires seemed reluctant to stop. The fifth ball of that over proved fatal for Iain Nairn who nicked a thin edge to the wicketkeeper and England were six for one. At that point, the umpires then decided to take a break while the rain fell.
Following a 30-minute stoppage play resumed, and in difficult batting conditions Laidlaw and Flynn managed to build what proved to be the highest partnership of the innings (39) before Flynn was adjudged LBW to James Carr-Smith for 14 with the total on 46.
Laidlaw was run out at the non-striker’s end with the score on 60 following some indecision and poor calling; the unfortunate Laidlaw out for 33.
From a total of 60 for three from 19 overs a procession of wickets then followed as none of the remaining batsmen achieved double figures. Boynton, bowling left arm round for the Army, just seemed to have the England players completely tied in knots and coupled with some poor shot selection finished the innings with amazing figures of 4-8 from five overs.
The England innings finished eight overs short of the quota in the 32nd with the side dismissed for 85.
In reply, James Williams the England captain opened the bowling and in partnership with Robert Southall the two seamers bowled quite tightly in defence of their small total.
Williams struck in the fifth over when Emmanuel miss-timed a pull and skied a catch to Barton with the score on 23.
Southall struck in the very next over with an LBW decision against Varley at 23 for two. And a third wicket fell when Southall struck again in his very next over with another LBW decision with the score still on 23.
At this stage the England total was beginning to look a little better and when Williams made a change and brought on Fred Bridges he struck in his second over as Dearden was smartly caught at slip by Matt Blamire with the score on 36.
The game then went away from England when Waqas Khan came on at the scoreboard end. He never really found any length or rhythm and was fiercely treated by Wiseman and Govender as his two-over spell cost 29 runs.
The Army completed a comfortable victory in the 18th over with a square drive to the boundary for four and a six-wicket win.