After 7 long months, cricket finally returned and the 1’s started their season with a trip away to the Wirral. However, it would be a tough start to the season with Elliot Rowe ruled out due to a pre-season injury, and new first XI captain Toby Rowe and his vice-captain Adam Dixon ruled out due to international commitments. Stand in skipper Steve ‘Beef’ Fulker would have a good start to the day, winning the toss and inviting the Wirral to bat in home conditions. Both openers would get off to a steady start for the Wirral as openers Shiva and Amal found began to find their rhythm. With the score onto 30, Shiva was able to find the edge of McCormack and the catch was safely taken by new 1St XI keeper Elan. A few dropped catches in the slips and Beef decided to change both openers as they began to tire. This brought Oli Warner and Pranay into the attack. Both initially struggled to find the right length, but both soon too got into a good rhythm.
Oli then produced what could be considered one of the worst balls of the day, which should have been dispatched out the ground but somehow Muise only managed to put the ball into the hands of Sykes at cover. Despite his best efforts to put the catch down, Sykes managed to hold on and Wirral were now 45-2. Oli then followed this up with a ball that somehow managed to miss the square for the first wide of the day. However what happened next was a moment of magic which no one in the ground expected. Oli produced an absolute jaffa which seamed and took the off stump of the very dangerous David Lewis for a golden duck. A crucial wicket without any trouble to the score. Shortly after Pranay produced a similar delivery, which removed the equally dangerous Nick Jones. After a misjudged leave, Jones was bowled and Wirral were now 52-4. This brought father and son duo Andrew and Ben Slight to the crease.
The duo started off slowly but both looked extremely solid and untroubled by the pace of Oli and Pranay so Beef made another double change. This time turning to the off spin of Lloyd Sykes, and the medium pace of G. Both bowled consistently to start, with both bowlers going at under 3 an over and keeping things tight. Despite the tight bowling, the batting pair brought up the 50 partnership, however it wouldn’t go much further. With both batsman now looking to attack, Andrew would be drawn into one aggressive shot too many, and would be pinned in front to be dismissed LBW for 39, Sykes picking up his first wicket of the day and campaign. Sykes would then pick up his second of the day, bowling Dominic Develing for 4, after a rare turning delivery. Sykes would finish the innings off with 2 more wickets, meaning the Wirral finished 142-8. A strong bowling performance from the Squirrels, with Sykes the stand out bowler finishing 4-26 off 11 overs. Warner finished with figures of 2-25 off 6, whilst Shiva and Pranay picked up a wicket a piece. Special mention must also go out to Amal on debut for the club, bowling extremely well, his 6 overs going for just 10, whilst G’s 10 overs went for just 29.
In previous years, chasing has always been a tough task for the Squirrels, and a good start would be needed to chase down the target of 143. However in true Wilmslow fashion, a wicket fell almost immediately, with Loku being bowled for 1. Despite the early wicket, it didn’t stop Jegs from being positive, and he regularly found gaps for 1’s or 2’s as well as the occasional boundary. He would however fall for a well made 20 after being deceived by a slower ball from Mahers. Sykes then arrived at the crease and hit 3 quick boundaries before he was struck on the pads after stepping across his stumps. A big appeal and Sykes was walking before the umpire had even raised his finger, in what was the umpires easiest decision of the day, and the Squirrels were now 60-3.
After an extremely successful season in the 2’s last year, Elan made the step up to the 1’s in style, as he very quickly settled in and began to find the boundary early on. His innings would change the game, with him having the right balance of attack and defense. After a good partnership, Ganesh would fall for a well made, patient 22, him too falling LBW. Elan would proceed to take control of the game, hitting a couple of huge 6’s in the process. Oli, despite scoring only 5 supported Elan at a key point in the game before he was deceived by a spinning Develing delivery. Elan made his way to 49 not out, before G managed to wrap the win up in one big over, hitting a 6, followed up by two 4’s to give the Squirrels a five wicket win. Two stand out performances from Sykes with the ball and Elan with bat, meant the trip back to Wilmslow would be a happy one.
Next week, Toby Rowe returns in his first game as skipper, as the 1’s welcome Runcorn to Rectory Fields.