On Sunday 20th, after a lengthy playing layoff & under a thundery sky that failed to deliver any rain, league-leaders Witham came to town, determined to achieve the ‘double’ over us.
Stand-in Colne skipper Joe Smith chose to bat first, on the basis that we didn’t have a full team@ 1pm to take the field & he would have been opening the bowling. So Dan Grice & Archie Wilkinson were sent in & saw out of the first hostile 10 overs with ease, keeping the scoreboard grinding over as they reached 25 without loss. Archie’s intent not to score too heavily this season continued despite some elegant strokeplay. Chintesh soon followed back to the pavilion, also unable to cope with Witham’s pacy first-change bowler. Dan was next out for a solid 20, no need for a reminder how that happened (but she is a very talented left-arm 15 year-old)
Late arriver Angus Wardle was undone by the variety being lobbed down from the top end, & this bought together the partnership the crowds had all wanted to see, the Pietersen / Flintoff effect that swelled the numbers around the boundary to a season high, Will Dunn & Pat Kerry. However, as so often this year, disappointment was never too far away, as Will chose to be bowled by the spinner Sambrook on one of his favourite numbers, 13. Pat followed soon after for 20 in the same manner, although the non-Golf Open-watching crowd were treated to a few lusty blows over the boundary. Joss Wilkinson came & went, reminding us what potential there is, but maybe the recent memory of having triggered Archie lbw was playing on his mind.
With a total score of sub-100 looking ever more likely, we needed a saviour. Enter Khetan Patel, so often that saviour this season. With some sensible support play from Joe, Tom Bosworth, & finally Ben Mason, Khetan’s 44 was key in our eventually reaching 144 all out. An interesting stat that had us all startled was that everyone contributed with the bat, no ducks at all.
After an excellent tea, Colne took to the field, pent up with aggression & laced with intent. Or was that the pork pie ? After seeing their eye in slowly for a few overs, Witham then showed their intent to get the game over before the threatened storms arrived, merrily blazing away at over 8 an over. The match ball was soon lost one bounce in the tennis courts & off down Station Road. No bowlers were spared some harsh treatment, although Ben picked up a couple of deserved wickets.
Joe Smith then attempted to cover up his own wicketless performance, by bringing on the part timers of Dunn & the Wilkinson Bros. Archie produced a pearler to deceive the Witham skipper, expertly stumped by Dan. Will bowled an over of variation spin that had us all gasping, & then Joss was given the minor task of taking the remaining 7 wickets & not giving away more than 5 runs.
Congratulations to Witham on the win therefore & to their opener, Turner, in scoring a chanceless 100. They will no doubt go on to face better challenges in a higher division next season, whilst Colne need to re-group & re-discover the mojo that underpinned our 2013 successes. With 5 league games to go, matters are heating up @ the wrong end of Div 2.