Getting into Liam’s car to travel to Upper Wharfedale this morning was not only a struggle – I mean half 10 pick-up is just not what I want to hear on a Saturday! But also not thrilled to learn we only had 10 men, that is until Will Watson’s dad David stepped up to the plate and offered to help us out to which we are very grateful!

It’s a long way to go from the middle of Leeds but Upper Wharfedale is without a doubt one of my favourite grounds to go to play cricket.

We got to Upper Wharfedale and found only the umpire there with us until the steady stream of Wharfedale players started arriving. We’d already had a look at the square and wicket and found it wet and probably not going to be ready for a 1pm start. And it wasn’t we ended up starting at 2 and having an 80 over match. Liam won the toss and stuck us in to bat as the sun came out to light up the picturesque setting we found ourselves in.

Ed and Liam opened our batting and, for once in a little while, we were steady and didn’t throw away our wickets ready for a collapse. They batted well together albeit one a tad quicker than the other! It’s what we needed and I didn’t think going into drinks we’d still have 10 wickets intact but we did and were 61 after 20 overs. Upper Wharfedale’s bowlers need some credit though – they bowled well and their figures reflect that they just didn’t get the wickets they could have.

All good things must come to an end and after a partnership of 81 Liam was caught behind to be dismissed for 24. Paul was next to the crease and immediately started his scoring ways. Ed and Paul were just setting up a partnership when Ed was caught by J. Lawn to be dismissed for 49. He batted really well and ultimately should have got his 50. But we still had Paul at the crease and Sam Winter came to join him. They quickly got to work establishing a partnership and getting the score to tick over nicely. Paul got an extremely well deserved 50 and they had a partnership of 89 until Sam was bowled on 20 and the score now a lovely 183. He batted well and took the chances he was given. Tom was next to the crease and with only 3 overs to bat out it was in no doubt. We ended the innings on 192 for 3 and Paul was not out on 74 (off 54 balls) and Tom not out on 3.

In the midst of all of this Kirkstall big hitting the other scorer (a lovely mum of one of the Wharfedale boys playing) had to be somewhere else part way through, so drafted in a spectator to help me. But it all quickly fell apart as their iPad was rapidly running out of charge and a press of the ‘undo’ button once too often in haste had caused the app to delete back to just after drinks. So I was left to keep everything ticking over nicely and try to also help charge the iPad that wasn’t playing ball!! I wish I was unflappable but that is not the case!! It’s all good fun, though, and I was able to get the app up to date at tea before it totally died on me so my efforts were in vain eventually!

Liam and Sam opened the bowling for us, both bowling well but Sam was able to find the wickets, he dismissed opener Hancock for 1 and 3rd in Hodgson for 8 with the help of lovely catches from today’s wicket keeper Paul (he also got a lovely stumping – all in all he had a very good afternoon’s work!) and a good catch from Chris as well. Sam’s first spell garnered figures of 2 for 23 off 6 overs.

After those wickets fell we went 18 overs without another and the score kept rising as J. Lawn and J. Stephenson were able to make their mark and gain 55 and 88 respectively before eventually being out. Stephenson’s wicket was crucial one as well – he was our 6th wicket and a lovely LBW from Sam to dismiss him before he could lead them to victory. I was pleased with Watty as after a couple of weeks of not being able to get a wicket he made his breakthrough not once but twice today and bowled really well to steady the Upper Wharfedale scoring ship.

Seth Chohan, Daniel Ostrowski and Will Watson all stood up to the plate to bowl this afternoon and despite only Daniel being able to find a wicket, they all bowled well and showed the promise and talent that they have.

Figures for the afternoon were: Liam – 0 for 32 off 6, Sam – 4 for 36 off 11, Watty – 2 for 44 off 12, Seth – 0 for 45 off 6, Will – 0 for 21 off 4 and Daniel – 1 for 5 off 1.

The match was tight and in the end it came down to the last few overs. When Stephenson was out in the 37th it looked to be swinging in our favour but Wharfedale only needed 12 runs to win and that could have been an easy task for them we just didn’t know how it would go. It came down to Watty and Sam to step up and stop a Wharfedale win and they did just that. Wharfedale finished on 191 for 7 after their 40 overs. It was a cheeky Kirkstall win in the end.

We were just in time with the weather as well – after a lovely afternoon of hot sunshine just as we finished a spectacular thunderstorm came in and made its presence known.

The win means that we were able to get valuable points which potentially put us back within a shout of 2nd place and promotion. Three crucial games left to go!

LG

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