An uncharacteristically warm and sunny April day greeted Jonty Collinson’s 3rd XI for their first outing of the season. Clifton Park, looking resplendent as ever, proved to be excellent, with a good wicket offering something for both bat and ball. Fielding a side that mixed youth with (to put it charitably) experience, the 3rd XI began its assault on Division 4 of the Westmorland League.
Aiden Weir (10-1-51-2) opened the bowling with a sharp spell that had the Trimpell openers in trouble. A good line and length attack was rewarded in his second over with a catch at first slip, the evergreen Alan Moulsdale plucking the ball from the air one handed like a bear catching salmon. Weir was unlucky not to take a greater haul, as Chairman Park ambitiously attempted to catch with his wrist with predictable results. Tom Atkinson (5-0-26-0) was similarly unfortunate as a good spell saw mis-hit shots falling just out of the reach of fielders.
With a good batting partnership forming between Huddleston (30) and Cannon (the pick of the Trimpell batting with 67) Moulsdale (5-0-24-0) was drafted into the attack. Silken locks flowing in the breeze, Moulsdale got off to a patchy start and had a quick roll around on the pitch, but quickly returned to his miserly tight deliveries. Will Greenwood (10-2-49-3) provided contrast with a fiery spell of quick bowling, clearly enjoying the hard fast deck and getting good reward for his aggression.
Sadly for Shires, Cannon was firing and the fast outfield meant the runs were flowing. Accompanied by Muir (a well-made 44), he took the score past the 100 then 150 mark before fall as Greenwood got his revenge for a string of boundaries. A direct hit run-out from Park accounted for Muir, as Elliot Dean (3-0-13-0) and Stan Collinson (3-0-24-0) bowled well against an aggressive finish, with Weir returning to close out the innings at 223/6. A stalwart performance from Joe Letchley behind the stumps had stopped many wayward deliveries going for more runs.
In reply, a watchful start from Simon Glen and Greenwood held off a strong bowling attack from Semple (a match winning 10-6-4-5) and Johnston (9-5-11-2) for nine overs before Greenwood was adjudged LBW. This brought Dave Sloan (64) to the wicket who attempted to prove a wagon wheel should only have one spoke. Just as Glen looked to be finding his form, he managed to pick out a fielder with a well-hit drive. Weir(22 off 17) arrived and immediately launched a blistering attack against the change bowlers, clattering the ball to all parts of the field with some exquisite timing.
The curse of drinks was the downfall of Weir, bowled off the first ball after the restart. Captain Collinson (23) put in a good counterattack to both the bowling and sledging onslaughts. The reintroduction of Semple and Johnston saw wickets start to tumble, with the Shires lower-middle order unable to withstand the attack. Crucially, for the 9th wicket, Chairman Park fell just 99 runs short of his century. Thus it fell to Dean and Moulsdale to block out the final two overs for a hard-earned losing draw. It was a good showing against a strong Trimpell side, and had a few strokes of luck gone our way the result might have been better. The Shireshead youth contingent show great promise, and will undoubtedly make their impact in the season to come.
Special thanks go to Mark Sutcliffe for a fine stint of umpiring, and Annie Collinson for scoring.