Report by Paul Coulton
With the weather defined as steamy (low cloud, yet somehow very bright and very warm), Shireshead 2’s welcomed Cartmel to Clifton park; Cartmel being a team full of enthusiasm, energy and motivation, driven on by the fact they are back to enjoying teas when playing at home. No teas here but ultimately the difference in energy and motivation is where the game was won and lost.

Before the report continues, let’s get the bad bits out of the way first ….. 8 batsmen falling for a combined 23 runs with some more culpable than others is not good enough, some woeful fielding (both drops and not even getting there to drop it!!) and an all round lack of energy in the field.

After Cartmel captain incorrectly called at the toss, Captain Gould elected to bat. Yates and Murphy (Adam not Andrew) set to and looked solid early on until Yates to fell to a ball that moved in and through the gate for 3. Looking less fluent than previously this season, Murphy pushed his way to 3 before falling (again bowled) to Cartmel’s other opener. At the other end Captain Gould was banishing any thoughts of demons in the pitch, taking the attack to Cartmel. Bray entered the fray and managed 5 before knocking a rising delivery behind. With both Gould Set and Jnr at the crease, confidence of partnership increased, Capt Gould to be bowled for 38 when looking a safe bet for a half century. Coulton arrived at the crease looking to steady things and looked solid in defensive but fell (3) in a similar way to Bray, but not before Gould Junior seemed to get frustrated and (having charged a bowler) was stumped (0). Next came Mike Mead (8) who looked fluent before being bowled flow by Oliver, who fell to a sharp over the shoulder catch. At 64-9 the situation looked abysmal, however the the partnership between McCartney and Greenwood (who put on 33 and used the over allocation) dragged the score up to sub optimal. A special note should be made for McCartney… batting at everyone judged his innings perfectly and (with better running from the youthful pair) could have had even more.

Defending 97 was never going to be easy, however some accurate bowling from yates (2-24), Oliver( 3-17) and particularly Mead (4-15) who was turning it miles kept the 2nds in contention and could’ve / would’ve won Shires the game. However poor fielding and energy (and giving Cowperthwaite at least 5 genuine lives on his way to 39) cost Shires the game. Ultimately on a number of occasions this season performances have not been there but victory has been snatched by a few critical overs or actions. No such fortune this time and the 2nds need to improve quickly if they want to be considered contenders in 2021 (Teas would also help).