26th Jun 2018

SNCC 205-9 dec (47o) Adam Cragg 70*, Simon Birtwisle 35, Rob Peyton 24, Michael Craigs 20: Chris Nicholls 4-25, Paul Leonard 2-66.

FELLING 155ao (53.3o) Eddie Hurst 61, Graham Wright 36, Phil Mustard 28: Lee Crozier 4-38, Jonny Wightman 2-36, Sean Tindale 2-49, Michael Craigs 1-9, Simon Birtwisle 1-1.


Asked to bat first at sunny Felling, on a green tinged surface, openers Simon Birtwisle & Sam Dale faced the seam of Paul Leonard & Josh Eaton. At 48 in only the 9th over, thanks to 9  boundaries, Birty 7, as Eaton's variable length was punished & Sam Dale 2, Dale (11) was bowled by Leonard.


The 10th over saw the beginning of an outstanding spell of medium pace from the Pavilion end by home skipper, Chris Nicholls. 15-7-25-4 with movement in & off the seam on a helpful surface with some variable bounce, which meant standing up to the wicket was difficult, so all credit to w/k Joe Carroll for taking the catch to dismiss Birty for 35 off Nicholls in his second over, the 12th. Two balls later Andrew Doig's off stump was knocked back by Nicholls for 4. In the next over, Liam Trevaskis was then superbly caught, one handed by Phil Mustard at second slip off Leonard, 53-4. This was now a true test of determined batting against skilful bowling on a helpful wicket with some uneven bounce.


Enter skipper Adam Cragg, perhaps remembering his 50 at the same venue in 2017. John Graham's 27 ball vigil, with a sore back, ended at 81. A vital partnership at a crucial time.  Sean Tindale was bowled by Nicholls in the over after drinks, 8 overs 3-10 at that point, 90-6 in the 25th. Game in the balance.


Craggy then produced a masterclass of playing the difficult conditions, leaving well, defending with a full stride & punishing anything overpitched, being left handed helped. The side's batting depth then came into its own as important partnerships with Rob Peyton (24), 44 for the 7th, (134-7), 35 for the 8th with Michael Craigs (20), 169-8, & finally 36 with Jonny Wightman (12) 205-9 in the 47th when the declaration came.


70* for Craggy, 11x4 1x6, 106 balls, 137 minutes of concentration, excellent timing & shot selection when almost all others found difficulty. A Captain's knock to be proud of & the first side to score over 200 in the league at Felling in 2018.


With a possible 63 overs available, Felling openers Phil Mustard & Alan Robson faced Jonny Wightman & Sean Tindale. Robson was bowled by Wightman for 1 in the third over at 5. Eddie Hurst joined Mustard & the pair watchfully accumulated. Lee Crozier entered the attack in the 13th over & in his second, around the wicket, bowled Mustard (28) through the gate ! Two balls later Shaw was lbw for 0, 60-3 in the 17th. Eaton was then bowled by Crozier in his next over, 68-4. Les magic once again !


Hurst was batting nicely, compact, hitting to mid wicket or driving through the covers, so it was to the visitors credit that Lee persuaded him to hit once more towards wide mid on for Michael Craigs to take the  catch. An accomplished 61 for Eddie, (8x4, 87 balls), 119-5 in the 31st. Short three over spells for Craigs & Liam Trevaskis saw Graham Wright strike some form & were the prelude for the returning Sean Tindale to snare the stubborn Heron (8) who cut a catch to Adam Cragg at backward point & for Birty to bowl 6 overs for I run & the prize wicket of Wright, bowled for 36, both going at 138, 7 down in the 39th.


An attritional period began before Carroll was bowled by Tindale for 3 at 142. Leonard  & the obdurate Nicholls were defiant until Wightman, round the wicket found the angle, to bowl Leonard, 154-9 in the 49th. Michael Craigs was recalled & with his third ball Nicholls was trapped in front, lbw for 9. 155 all out in 54.3 overs. 


30 points for the Bulls, a lead by 27 at the top of the Premier league, but still only almost at half way. Eppleton next Saturday at home. Do come along, it will be exciting. We must continue!


Duncan D. Stephen.

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