Sunshine, glorious sunshine. Beautiful clear blue sky. Warm. No wind, that alone made it a good night for a game.
T20 Division One Knock Out Cup…
Away at Benwell Hill’s actual ground instead of Riding Mill where their 3rd’s play on Saturday’s. At least we got that message because the umpires went to the wrong ground and were late.
One of the good things about playing at Benwell is it’s a pretty nice ground despite being on the West road and surrounded by houses. It’s North East Premier league ground so it’s very well looked after. Not that we got the 1st team wicket to play on we were a couple or 4 strips down off the central strip.
The boundary from the wicket to the carpark is rather long, a fairly comfortable 3 for good runner’s between the wickets. It’s a long hit though and the ball doesn’t always travel to the rope holding up and teasing the fielders. It needs a good arm to get the ball in. Down to the tennis courts, yeah not so much. It wasn’t as short as last year when we played 2-3 strips closer to them and it was almost like the boundary next to the river at Wylam but it was still pretty short.
Of course playing at Benwell means that it is far easier for them to get their ringers in from the 2nds. It’s expected. Annoying but expected… And I expect that when they get drawn away that those players will suddenly become unavailable just like they did last year when they beat us, got drawn against Allendale away, the team changed significantly and they got beat. Not that I’m bitter about it.
With Aaron away with work, Steve injured, and others not available for midweek, we were a bit thin on the ground. In step Peter ‘Pedro’ Armstrong for his 51st season’s debut.
Hamish and James D’Arcy to open the bowling against a loaded top order including a couple of unfamiliar faces and a few we know.
Benwell started well with the straight drive the most effective shot.
As always in cup matches the umpires were incredibly tight, at times, with legside wides and wides in general, there was a bit of inconsistency.
Benwell ran hard and collected boundaries along the way to rattle the scoreboard. The loss of Ladd didn’t slow the scoring at all in fact it upped the rate with the incoming bat not taking much time to get going.
Tom spelled Hamish the scoring continued. James Ankers spelled an economical D’Arcy.
It was hard work in the field espiecally as the outfield isn’t as flat as it looks. There’s some awful lumps and bumps knocking around that can play havoc. It’s very difficult to trust the bounce. Get one with spin on it, nightmare.
Hooper and Dawson continued their assault.
I spelled Tom and after 2 decent enough overs, although I was ready to outlaw the chip shot my 3rd wasn’t good at all, in fact it doubled the runs I had gone for. Getting hit back over my head for 6 was the icing, well I expect these things. I don’t like it but it was a good hit.
A couple of quick wickets towards the end didn’t really slow them up much.
159-4 (20 overs)
Required rate 8 an over against a pretty strong attack…
Pilki and D’Arcy to open.
Steady, sensible, have a look Pilki… First ball, long hop dispatched with a flourish, bang straight to the rope. 4. It’s going to be like that then.
James D’Arcy not to be out done finding the rope soon after and continuing to find it with an array of shots including a brilliant pick up, one bounce to the carpark. It was a big hit.
Pilki 6 into the tennis courts, over them and I was going to buy him a beer, as it was my purse was safe but the real damage was being done by D’Arcy.
43-0 after 3 overs. 6’s, 4’s, 2’s, quick singles.
Another couple of overs of this and the run rate will be manageable.
49-1 (5 overs). Pilki losing his off stump for 12 as Luke Musset got one to skid through.
Hamish in with time to play himself in while James continued to hit the bowlers pretty much all over the park.
72-2 (8 overs) Hamish not finding the middle as he went to hit out, found the fielder at mid-wicket.
There was a bit of a lull as Max tried to get himself going, the first big shot he went for he got caught.
83-3 (11 overs)
Although he had slowed up a bit, fielders pretty much all on the boundary will do that, James D’Arcy brought up a hard hitting aggressive 50.
We started to lose more wickets around him though, too many for not enough runs to sustain the chase.
107-5 when having been kept off strike for a while James went after Musset again but failed to connect instead lost his stumps, 65 very entertaining runs and after a bit of a torrid time of late in the longer format it was great to see.
Mathematically still possible but looking unlikely. That didn’t stop Paul Wood hitting what would have been shot of the night if we hadn’t already been spoilt, straight drive into the sightscreen, putting a hole in it.
We finished up 139-6 from 20 overs.
Benwell Hill through to the next round.
End of the cup run for a second year running at Benwell Hill in a very good quality match.
No fines as we decided not to fine in Cup matches.
Next up for Matfen is Stamfordham away, local derby.
Stamfordham a different prospect from last year when they were battling to stay in the division. They’ve been stringing some good results together in recent weeks and have picked up a couple of players. In the last couple of years the wicket has been pretty dire and the outfield can be and usually is a nightmare.
I was going to miss this game because I was selected to play two T20 games for Northumberland in Lincolnshire however now I’m moving house so I can’t play any matches this weekend.
The week after is Haydon Bridge at home, which I also miss because I’m going to watch England v New Zealand 5th ODI at Durham. If it doesn’t get washed out, which it usually does.