A frantic end in dark surroundings leads to Adwalton's seventh win of the season.
By Mark Palfreeman
'Dead eye' Neil Farnhill is the partnership breaker as Adwalton battle to late finish with only ten men.
It’s a scene typical of the Central Yorkshire League, that while in its top echelons Ossett played host to a Wrenthorpe side opening with two former Yorkshire players, at Woodkirk CC two of the leagues sides were left to compete with ten men apiece, no scorer and no official.
As ever on such occasions, which are not as rare as they should be, a gentleman's agreement between the players meant that a game could go ahead. The Woodkirk ground sat on a windy hillside, overlooking the motorway but deceptively hidden from the world.
In a frantic environment, the toss was again lost by Adwalton, but made little impact as they were put in the field with perhaps the best bowling side they had fielded all year. Initially it was a similar story to the past few weeks, as Matthew Lyles had the opener dropped on 0 who subsequently went on to make a half century. It was one of a number of catches that were downed, each costing precious runs that had to be chased down in the second innings. Captain Chris Taylor hit the matches’ highest score, with 62 before being run out by a wonderful piece of fielding from Neil Farnhill, something Neil had already done earlier in the match to dismiss James Claughton Both run outs brought significant breakthroughs at a point when Woodkirk began to dominate.
Although defiant, the runs were hard to come by for the rest of the innings, and Jonathan France worked hard on his way to 33 before eventually running out of partners. The total of 159 was deceptively high on a pitch that had both a vicious slope and unpredictable bounce.
The reply started well as Jonathan Banks played some wonderfully orthodox shots on his way to 35. His partner Graham Johnson was dismissed in unusual fashion as he hit his own wicket after chasing a wide ball and falling to the ground under the momentum of his wild swing.
Still with a long way to go, the middle order collapsed in a way it hadn’t done so for a number of weeks. But in another rare occurrence the lower middle order offered a stubborn and effective resistance. Chris O’Reilly and Craig Wright frustrating the bowlers and edging their way towards the required total. But as the darkness descended, Wright was bowled bringing James Emmott to the crease with only 15 runs required. Although re-assuring to have a batsman of his calibre coming in at number 8, the game was becoming unnecessarily tight. In his usual way however, Emmott struck the ball clean and straight down the ground for eight runs off two balls moving agonisingly close. But as often happens one too many wild shots led to the ball flying high in the air and Elliott Jennings came to the crease with four runs required and only one wicket to fall. Now in an awkward position O’Reilly rode his luck running a quick two and then hooking the ball to the leg side boundary for an important victory.