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Pastures new but same old story about the rain

Posted in ECB ACO

The glorious sunshine at the end of May soon gave way to more wet weather as we entered the month of June.

Two further cancellations were interspersed with a first ever visit to Earl Shilton Town, followed by a return trip to Loughborough University for a - you guessed it - rain-affected BUCS Women’s semi-final in which, not surprisingly, the hosts totally outclassed their Southampton opponents and marched on to the final.

The match featured the third double century by a Loughborough batsman this season, this time by Helen Shipman who was in South Africa earlier in the year with the England Academy.

I had hoped to watch the England strike bowler, Anya Shrubsole, in action but she was not needed. The other semi-final involved Durham and Exeter – hardly a local derby.

A first ever appointment at the Loughborough Town ground, which is notoriously difficult to find, was followed by a return to R&DCL action, after an absence of three weeks, when a short journey down the A1 took me, yet again, to pastures new.

This time it was Eaton Socon who reached their target of just 80 in 13 overs and ensured an early and, for once, lengthy tea.

My 14th cancellation so far involved Leicestershire 60+, who have managed to complete just one of their seven scheduled matches to date - how will they fit them all in?

Forty eight hours later, Leicestershire 50+ batted poorly and paid the price as they crashed to an eight-wicket defeat.

Back came the rain as only 11 overs were possible at the picturesque East Langton ground in an Everards Leicestershire County Cricket League fixture.

That was enough time, however, for me to recall a batsman given run out, when it emerged that the wicketkeeper had dropped the ball in the act of breaking the wicket.

The following day I was privileged to be one of the appointed officials for the Leicestershire Premier T20 Final which had been abandoned on the Tuesday of the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.

Rain water had seeped under the covers at one end of the wicket, causing a delayed start. However, once the match was underway it proved to be an absorbing contest as underdogs Broomleys successfully chased a challenging 180 to move forward to the regional stages.

A turgid batting display condemned Leicestershire 60+ to another defeat when they could muster only 132 for seven in pursuit of 158 on a glorious Cambridgeshire afternoon.

Two more cancellations for rain (what will the season-end total be, I wonder?) were followed by an extraordinary game in which Cropston, requiring just 23 to beat promotion hopefuls Earl Shilton Town in seven overs and with seven wickets in hand, found themselves hanging on for a draw as they finished two runs short with their last pair at the wicket.

Yet another cancelled match, the 17th thus far in this rain ravaged season, was quickly followed by three appointments in consecutive days, incorporating sojourns into both Suffolk and Norfolk.

Firstly, Leicestershire Girls' Under-17s fought well against their Scotland counterparts, who were playing the first of three matches south of the border, but came up just short. The visiting skipper, who was just 14 years of age, scored a fluent, technically correct 77 and a big future in the game clearly beckons.

Both Leicestershire 50+ and 60+ recorded their first victories of the current campaign.

The 60+ side, once they had got rid of the dangerous Neil Hames, who scored just 58 compared to last season’s mammoth unbeaten 168, sensed victory and some tight bowling ensured that Suffolk finished 13 runs adrift.

The following day the 50+ side, in a game full of incident and aided by two spectacular catches, overcame their Norfolk hosts at the picturesque, historic Old Buckenham ground, which took some finding.

I spent a fascinating half an hour or so chatting to a local historian who has spent years researching the history of the ground and the club.

Wikipedia states …”Old Buckenham Hall is a cricket ground in Attleborough, Norfolk. The first recorded match on the ground was in 1912, when L Robinson's XI played the first first-class match on the ground against the touring South Africans. From 1912 to 1921, the ground hosted six first-class matches, the last of which saw L Robinson's XI (an England XI in all but name) play the touring Australians. All first-class matches held at the ground has L Robinson's XI as the home team”.

An eventful month ended with the keenly anticipated showdown between the two sides who were relegated from the Everards Leicestershire County Cricket League Premier Division last season. However, it was a big non-event as Barrow Town reached their target of 186 without loss to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

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