Having breezed through the preliminary round of the Birtwistle Cup – literally – as it was a windy day and the game was conceded, KECC travelled to Bilton for the 1st round match. Although looking forward to the legendary tea, they were less happy at the prospect of a 2nd day in the field in cold windy weather. You know it’s not ideal weather for cricket when your scorer turns up in woolly hat, scarf, gloves and thermal underwear! A last minute withdrawal due to injury meant we travelled to play a 1st Division team with only 10 players. Injuries were to play a further part in the match with Liam Mulligan unable to bowl following his injury the previous day and Will Herrington suffering from a mystery eye infection.
KECC won the toss and chose to bat. Openers Sam Dobson (2) and Mark Deighton (5) departed early before Paul Bennett and Will Herrington put together a partnership of 70. Will scored freely with Paul taking on the Rob-Caddy role before Will was bowled for 42; how many might he have scored if he’d been operating with 2 good eyes? Play continued albeit haltingly due to Bilton’s regular meetings about who should bowl and field placings! A further partnership of 41 between Paul and skipper Liam took KECC to 121 before Paul chipped the ball back to the bowler and was caught for 43. Liam started tentatively with batting causing obvious pain but took some strong painkillers at the drinks break and went on to make 39 off 57 balls. Liam’s wicket saw the innings collapse at the end with KECC finishing on 166 all out off 43 overs.
With the legendary tea downed, KECC re-entered the field with only 9 players with Will’s eye problem causing serious discomfort. The gaps this created made defending a reasonable total on a slow pitch nigh on impossible, despite some excellent fielding efforts by Sam Dobson and Tom Mileham. Bilton reached 31 before Adam Hussain dismissed Lee Heslop for 17, caught in the gully by Tom Mileham. Unfortunately, this was to be the last success of the day as Liam Ford (48*) and Chris Dawson (82*) saw Bilton through to 167 off 28 overs to win the match by 9 wickets.
Sadly, our cup run is over for another year. Will we ever reach the heady heights of beating Otley at North Leeds or Rawdon (the Hodgson final) again?