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Past, present and future

Posted in ECB ACO

July started disappointingly when Cambridgeshire conceded a 50+ County Championship match.

I believe the points will be awarded to Leicestershire which could well guarantee their progress to the knock-out stages.

My second venture of the season into the Fenlands saw March Town ease to a comfortable four-wicket victory over Market Overton, thanks to their Australian opener who carried his bat for an unbeaten 80-odd and some rather sloppy fielding.

After suffering the ignominy of a ten-wicket defeat the previous week, Leicestershire 60+ bounced back with a tremendous four-wicket win over visitors Yorkshire.

Chasing a target of 221 on an variable wicket, the hosts seemed out of contention at 50 for four and 155 for six but an assured 62 from ex-county player Paul Haywood and an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 67 saw them home with five balls to spare - an excellent game of cricket.

There followed a quite extraordinary game between Leicestershire and Lincolnshire 50+.
Lincolnshire looked completely in control as they cruised past 100 for the loss of just one wicket, chasing a modest target of 204.

A combination of tight bowling, keen fielding and poor shot selection saw a clatter of wickets which resulted in Lincolnshire requiring six off the final over with their last pair at the crease.

The target was whittled down to two off the final ball. In the event the batsmen scrambled a single and the scores were tied. Under the rules of the competition, however, Lincolnshire were declared the victors on countback - Leicestershire's first defeat of the season.

An unbroken second wicket partnership of 124 consigned Market Overton to a second consecutive Rutland & District Cricket League (R&DCL) defeat at the hands of their hosts, Stamford Town, who romped home by nine wickets on an unpredictable, wearing pitch clearly in need of some heavy watering.

Ironically my next three scheduled games, in the space of four days, after weeks of unadulterated sunshine, were all washed out without a ball being bowled - the vagaries of the English climate.

Normal service was resumed when an understrength Leicestershire Ladies' Under-17 side proved no match for their Warwickshire counterparts who easily triumphed by eight wickets.
Warwickshire included four players whose progress, I am told, is being closely monitored by England.

I was particularly impressed with the wicketkeeper-opener who, apparently, averages 100+ and an off-spinning all-rounder who hit the ball very hard and was looking to score at every opportunity. Their names have been noted for future reference.

The wet weather intervened again when a Leicestershire-Durham 60+ match at a lovely ground just north of Morpeth was called off. I understand that Leicestershire needed a win to give themselves a chance of making the knock-out stages. It may be that the game will have to be re-arranged, depending on the results of other matches.

In the meantime, I am told that Leicestershire 50+, after yet another excellent win, have finished top of their group and will advance to the knockout stages. They will, no doubt, be hoping to benefit from having secured a home tie.

An enthralling game saw table-topping Barnack succumb to Peterborough Town in a match that was decided with only two balls left. Not for the first time this season Peterborough snatched an improbable victory, this time by just five runs, thanks mainly to their spin-twins who bowled in tandem and shared seven wickets.

This result means that Bourne take over at the top of the R&DCL as we approach the business end of the season, although it is very tight with three or four clubs vying for honours. This game, in my view, was played in an excellent spirit and was a credit to both teams.

My final game of a somewhat frustrating month, from a weather point of view, saw me standing for the first time at the excellent Kibworth ground, which is no more than 15 minutes from where I live.

The occasion was an Under-11 District Final in which Countesthorpe, and their captain in particular, kept their nerve to edge out the hosts who, I would have thought, started the game as slight favourites. We had to endure four stoppages for rain and the game ended in very murky light.

Another month has come and gone - it would be good to experience rather more settled weather through to the middle of September.

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