Division One Experience enjoyed by all.....
By James Popplewell
We missed the memo about putting division one standard players in division nine...
Skipper Pops won the toss and put Bitteswell 2's into bat. The games between the Niffy and Bitteswell have historically been hard fought and good competitive games. The Bitteswell openers started well but after Adam's opening spell, Josh entered the fray and claimed a wicket with his first ball. Nelly was doing what he does best at the other end bowling a very good line and length, albeit after diving to stop a ball that was smashed at him and about took his hand off.
The Niffy continued to plug away and Josh got his second with the away team on 75 for 2 from 17 overs; the gang were confident. However, up steps Ayub who, based on his attire, had just been pulled in last minute, however this was not the case. I have been playing what I would say to be lower level cricket for some years now and I have never seen power hitting like this before. The guy did not have the technique but what he did have was superb hand eye coordination and some serious power. He took about smashing the Niffy to all parts of the ground, including hitting the ball into the nettles at the far end of the ground about 3 to 4 times!
The lads kept going and when Adam was brought back, he got his deserved 2 wickets. Ollie also had his first bowl in senior cricket and whilst the figures dont suggest it, he bowled good lines and lengths and will be bowling again for the fours. To cut a long story short, Ayub smashed his way to 90 not out in 34 scoring shots and with some other power hitting from Mohammed, the opponents got to 255 for 5.
After a great Palmer tea, of which there was plenty left, the instructions from the skipper were to stay out there as long as possible and treat this as some great batting practice. Josh had to leave at 5.15pm for a gig so he cracked on smashing the ball all over the ground after Ollie had been unfortunately run out without facing a ball. Josh and Cam then looked good playing some shots until Cam was bowled. Josh faced the same fait a few balls later and the Niffy were on 47 for 3. Stu and Winston (Andy B for those that dont know) were both bowled but Niffy debutant Matt Tilbury was playing some cracking shots until his tricep went pop and he had to retire hurt. There is a rumour that he did this on purpose so that he would get sympathy from the mrs but that did not work at all!!!
Andy hit a boundary and was then caught and Emma hit a couple of good shots before being caught too; not until she had a stern talking to the away wicket keeper; good on you Lenton!! Adam and Pops were at the crease to bat out 20 overs (as Neil wasnt batting because of his hand) but Adam felt a rush of blood and went for a big shot which was well caught at slip by Bitteswell's skipper. The Niffy all out for 78 with the skipper not out and two batsmen retiring hurt!
The team did really well against what was a team that are far too good for division 9. It is extremely disappointing to be playing in these circumstances but I believe that the spirt in the Niffy camp was good enough which meant that the "gang" all had a good afternoon. Well done all for giving it your best shot. Roll on next week to what we hope will be an actual division 9 standard team!!!