Metcalf sets the total which the bowlers defend but catches win matches.
In deconstructing the game upstairs afterwards, 11 chances were counted which weren't taken. Some easy, some very tough but 11 nonetheless. In truth it was not an easy pitch and Dan decided to bat first knowing anything up towards 200 would be tough to chase and put points on the board. Luke and Noah missing form the top of the order so Tom Wyatt stepped up to bat 3 whilst Dil opened with Griff. The openers immediately knew they were in a game as OP's bowlers hit their straps removing both men cheaply: Griff bowled and then Dil caught behind. Andy Metcalf and Tom Wyatt's partnership in the t20 showed they like batting together and they rebuilt the innings with some fine strokes and quick running. Metcalf unfurled one almighty 6 towards Chez-Law to lay out his intentions from the off. But then the spinners came on and the game changed. Owen Williamson (who only stops talking when he's running in to bowl) and Harry Newton put the ball in the right areas and scoring became tough. Tommy (24) was bowled through the gate aiming a drive through cover but 15 for 2 had become 73 for 3 and the key partnership had ended. A middle order collapse ensued. Hodges 4, Killoran 3, Townend 0 and Riley 5 all went. The spinners bowled dot after dot and Metcalf remained. Matt Brayne was the only other batter to make double figures (10) but the overs were being taken up too. Newton's figures of 15-4-14-3 were impressive but Williamson did the damage with 5. Metcalf the only batter to really make headway in the conditions. He was watchful and rained in his natural instinct to aim over houses and canals. There were boundaries but they were hard to come by and his strike rate was around 60 as opposed to the 160 we've come to expect! Carefully placed fielders, good catching - did one go down? - and tight bowling would surely be the blue print for the Chester bowling response. All out 151 in 49 was by no means a disaster but equally could have been 20 or 30 more. Tea was taken and there was enough for everyone! Owen was still talking and plans were hatched: put it in the right area, catch the catches, defend every run. Easy game cricket. Matt Brayne opened with Sam Mallows and Brayno struck in the 4th over removing Litler LBW for 3. Sam was bowling straight and the ball was behaving itself pretty well which wasn't what was needed. Quickly the slow bowlers came on. Dan and Fishy have taken a lot of wickets and were both looking forward to bowling. Fishy's 2nd and 3rd overs yielded wickets with the dangerous Begg run out and then Williamson caught and bowled for 0: pretty brainless shot in truth. Newton at the other end gave a chance to Fishy and then there was an easy run out opportunity squandered before a tricky one off Dan to Tommy Wyatt ( those stick or they don't) but a pattern was forming as Dan again shaved the bails. The run rate was dropping with every passing over and Guest seemed intent on blocking until he pulled a long-hop to Dil. Griff took one at slip and at 66 for 5 with 18 overs left, Chester looked favourites. More chances came and went, Griff lost one in the sun as did Wiggy. Another bail trimmer. Joe Killer running backwards and Dan at gully off Fish - both extremely tough ones but chances all the same. All the while Newton was ticking along at one an over and as he built with Moss, the tide turned to OP. Dan wicketless with 15 overs for 30 and Fish 15 overs for 34 with 3 wickets. What now? Well t20 is something we've done well. Sam and Wiggy are well versed in bowling at the death and with 12 overs left, 57 were needed with 5 wickets in hand. With few points available for a draw, surely OP had to go for it. But Chester did get some fielding right the fence was only found twice in the last 12 and one of those was an unfortunate bobble. Another catch went down off Sam - the easiest of the day - but there were plenty of dots. At this point, Chester looked unlikely to win so not losing became the plan and with 7 an over required the field for the most part spread to stop 2s. Dan clung on to a smart catch diving at mid-wicket and Moss was gone thus ending a 70 run partnership. Surely the next couple of batters would swing from the hip and have a go? Not to be as Sam's last over went for 3 leaving Wiggy's and the games's final over needing 12. OP fell short finishing on 146 and Newton 75 not out. But with 4 wickets still in hand, to not have a few hopeful swings was possibly naive. In the end the draw was fair reflection on a good competitive game but the chances created should have won the game. Admittedly there were a couple of tricky ones but double figure misses has to improve. Plus points - Tom Wyatt and Metcalf with the bat; Dan and Fishy in the middle; the quicker bowlers tight lines ; Tom's keeping. Chester 9 OP 7 and with Didsbury dismantling Nantwich, the lead at the top extended to 22. A good if frustrating day at the office. Oh and it rained...twice!
MotM - Obvious, Andy Metcalf for the second time with the bat. DotD - Griff for refusing a catch that would have got a point and other misdemeanours. Joe Killoran who batted with his trousers on back to front and turned up half an hour late was joyous.
Chester Boughton Hall CC - 2nd XI won the toss and elected to bat