Middleton Stoney 188-8 dec (C Smith 4-26)
Jesters 189-5 (A Smith 53, E Smith 48)
Won by 5 wkts
We recorded a solid victory against Middleton Stoney thanks to a real team effort at Middleton Park. Match manager Chris Smith takes up the story of the day…
The Jesters won the toss and chose to bowl first in overcast conditions on a very green looking surface. Openers Jonny Bridcut and Simon Rawson started very well, testing the Middleton Stoney batsmen with a number of balls beating the bat and a couple of very close appeals for leg before - the first ten overs costing just 25 runs. Both Bridcut and Rawson were excellent and unlucky not to be rewarded with a wicket or two.
Just as the opening batters were starting to increase the tempo the ball was knocked into the covers for a quick single - however, skipper Chris Smith picked the ball up and managed to throw down the stumps with a direct hit to make the breakthrough for the Jesters. This brought T Riley to the crease to join N Moorman and the pair soon set about their business, playing sensibly and dispatching any rare loose deliveries. Andy Mortimer and Andrew Short both bowled very tightly, restricting Middleton Stoney to a limited number of boundaries.
The Jesters then turned to the unlikely spin twins of Chris Smith and Louis Harris after drinks and much like the rest of the Jesters’ attack, they bowled tightly without success. In his 34th over Smith broke the partnership of 113 (136-2) and soon after Harris got in on the action. This led to a collapse with the Middleton Stoney middle order struggling to push on the run rate - notable mention to Moorman’s innings of 97 (on the back of three consecutive hundreds). Rawson returned to help mop up the tail finishing with figures of 2-36 (from 10 overs), whilst Smith returned figures of 4-26 (from 12 overs). The Jesters bowled an incredible 47 overs in the 2½ hour session which led to Middleton Stoney declaring on 188-8 at tea.
It was noted after the match that Smith’s 12 overs was the longest spell of bowling from a captain in the history of cricket at Middleton Stoney - most notably noticed by a certain Jester who resorted to cheerleader style star jumps in the field in order to make the point that Smith should be removed from the attack!
This left the Jesters approximately 40 overs to chase their target and disaster struck in the very first over losing Adnan Mohammed. Debutant Ed Smith (brother of Chris rather than the Chairman of Selectors) and Alex Smith then proceeded to dispatch the Middleton Stoney attack to all parts of the ground in a partnership of 77 in 13 overs before Ed fell for 48. Louis Harris and Alex continued the good start with a combination of fine strokes and occasionally excellent running when the calling didn’t create animosity.
Both Louis and Alex did eventually fall with 30 needed from the final nine overs. Louis made a well-constructed 31, whilst Alex top scored with a fine 53 - including a number of very elegant cover drives. This could have been nervy times for the Jesters, but Muz Ali and Saj Zaib proceeded to play with freedom to get the Jesters very close, and despite losing another wicket with nine to win, we duly knocked the runs off quite comfortably with five overs to spare in the glorious sunshine. An excellent five wicket win.
Our thanks go to the team at Middleton Stoney for hosting us once again in what is a brilliant fixture for the Jesters’ calendar.