Stocksfield 1st won the toss and elected to bat.
Despite not being as strong as they once were Stocksfield 1st have been the best team or one of the best teams in Northumberland for over a decade.
Nicola Hawes, County Captain and one of the best bats in the league when on song. Amy Nicholson, top order County bat and aggressive stroke maker to open.
Ellie and Yves to open in a double left arm attack punishing anything wide, anything too full, Nic and Amy got away quickly. Both playing the pull particularly well.
There was a little of a Penrith hangover kicking in, and it was here we go again. Two good bats getting away and the scoreboard rattling.
Both bowlers found themselves under fire and it was very hard work in the field as they picked the gaps.
Yves withdrew with Jen replacing her but with both batsmen settled they hit hard. Jen’s not been in the best form with the ball so far this season, she’s been struggling for consistency in line but more crucially for her length. As her main weapon is flight, if the length isn’t right, good bats cash in as Amy and Nic did.
It’s a hard thing to watch knowing that there isn’t any advice to give because Jen already knows not to bowl short, to keep going at a fuller length but I know that having that said to you and actually feeling confident enough to do it when you’re not feeling good with the ball in your hand, you can’t make the ball do what you want it to and the batsmen are going after you is a completely different thing but it only takes a wicket, a good over, a good spell for everything to click into place.
Form is fickle and Jen will find it again.
At 10 overs with 80 odd on the board for no loss, Nic with 50* they were on for 170 but a double change in bowling saw Lisa pick up the wicket of Amy for 39.
Selina back in form after an 80 against Benwell to the crease.
It was actually very strange bowling at Nic because I’ve done it so rarely in an actual match. Jen usually has her out before I get a chance to bowl at her, I managed to get some pressure on her, bowling quicker, firing the ball in, enough to force a mistake. Top edge that took an age to come down but I didn’t have to move too far to take the catch.
Selina is difficult to bowl at. Actually no, she’s not difficult to bowl at she’s just really frustrating because she has an unconventional technique that has a lot of flaws but a really good eye. She hits boundaries off balls that should send her straight back to the pavilion. She took a swipe at what I intended to be an arm ball but it turn a touch, enough to hit the stumps.
With Selina gone we were into the younger players and the scoring slowed. Katherine Dixon played a few good shots but she was struggling against me. Alice decided to ride her luck with hard hitting but she was ran out when they tried to take a suicidal single. Jenny throwing the stumps down.
Stocksfield’s tail collapsed to Yves and myself. Bex Knight was caught behind. Everyone heard the nick. It was a clear but she thought otherwise. It was still given out. Her reaction was unnecessary and maybe more to do with us giving them a scare. They had been looking at a very good score, they got less than they were expecting and less than they wanted.
129 all out (18.4 overs)
There was a clear plan for me and Lisa. The pitch had misbehaved a bit during the Stocksfield innings and we were very aware of it so ‘nought daft’. See off Emily Ward. I was expecting Amy to open the Rugby end but it was Bex which I was happier about.
It was hard work but we managed to get a start and although not quite up with the run rate we weren’t far off.
It was a bit niggly in the middle. There was a lot of stuff being said, it wasn’t sledging, it was just niggly. It was actually mostly from the young players and enough to leave a sour taste.
We had the foundation at 10 overs to kick on and chase the target down. I had to start hitting more boundaries and unfortunately I had it in my head to start hitting out and needing runs instead of playing the ball that was bowled. After an over of Amy’s inswing and not being able to get the runs we wanted, I had a slog at a straight one from Alice, it didn’t end well.
When Lisa got out not long after Stocksfield regained control and were able to stifle the chase as key wickets fell.
Corbridge 87-5 (20 overs)
Stocksfield 1st 15 points. Corbridge 1st 5 points (3 bowling, 2 batting)
There are a lot of positives to take out of the game, the biggest being; the recovery when staring down the barrel of a big total to get them all out for a manageable target in the field and that we could / should have chased down that target.
This game jogged a lot of memories for me and I was thinking about the Stocksfield sides that I’ve played in over the years and just thinking about where they are now to where they were then.
When I first started playing for Stocksfield we got beat a lot but that was alright because Shotley Bridge were canning everyone to win the league year in year out. They were just so much better than any other team. It was basically Durham county players.
A group of us kind of came together at the same time; myself; Jane Wright; Faye and Holly Allen all around the same age, in Holly’s case a bit younger. It took a couple of years of us to get to a level where we had the basis of a good team but we were lacking a bit of fire power. As we got better Chris Catnach decided to ask Nicola and Sarah White who had been playing at Shotley Bridge if they wanted to come back and play.
We got better, stronger as a team but every time we came up against Shotley we’d fall to the way side. We just couldn’t beat them. It was a mental block. We could beat any other team in the league, we could be playing some of our best cricket but playing them, there were so many mental scars from previous encounters that we’d crumble. I can still remember how much I hated bowling at Pauline Peel because I couldn’t get her out, I didn’t feel like I could get her out and I couldn’t stop her scoring. She had cut me to ribbons in my first couple of seasons when I was still learning to bowl (inswing at the time) and I didn’t have an answer to her then. But the thing is that if I had to bowl at Pauline now I wouldn’t be fazed because I know that I’m a much better bowler now and I know even though she was a very good bat if she was still playing she wouldn’t get the runs and I could find a way to get her out. Confidence and experience does that.
However one dull overcast, probably shouldn’t have even been allowed on the top pitch as it had rained a lot, day. It was the last game of the season. We’d won every match bar the away match at Shotley. We had a chance at the league title but we needed to beat Shotley and do it well enough that they couldn’t get the same bonus points as we had in the game against them. I can still remember how determined we all were that even if we didn’t win the league we were going to beat them, that was all that mattered, we were going to win. We won the toss, put them in and bowled them out cheap. Then chased the total down to not only beat them for the first time but to win the league.
The side that beat Shotley Bridge; Nicola Hawes; Rachel Cowens; Sarah White; Jane Wright; me; Carol, Faye and Holly Allen.
That win marked the start of the team that would go on to win the league pretty consistently.
Carol retired, Rachel Godschalk had moved up here. Jane Wright stopped playing Amy replaced her. Sarah White was injured then moved away but there was a fairly consistent line of juniors following on and up.
But they’ve now lost 7/8 senior players in the space of 4-5 years including myself, however they’ve picked up a couple of good players and their juniors are making the transition to seniors but it has hurt them, of the best side I played in only Nicola and Amy remain playing for them.
Corbridge might not match them player for player yet but we’re getting there.