Bramhall captain Nick Cantello won the toss at a baking Grappenhall on Saturday and decided to bowl first, aiming to make second use of a very quick outfield and an excellent wicket. That the Beavers’ first league win of the season came at home to Grappenhall whilst bowling first, may also have factored in the decision. With a certain football quarter final being televised during the afternoon, the captains agreed to play a reduced 50 over a side match to enable the events in Russian to be viewed over an extended tea break.
Bramhall got off to an excellent start, when Ashley West bowled opposition skipper Roylance for 8. However, Grappenhall showed no signs of nerves at 20-1, and Albert Pennington batted very well with opener Peter Barnes to add 138 for the second wicket. When Pennington was caught for 54, Ben Bodha also supported with a fifty of his own. Barnes had made 102 when he was stumped off Ryan Macciocchi with the score 238-4, and the home side managed 16 more runs, whilst losing two further wickets, to close on 254 – 6 off their 50 overs. Macciocchi was pick of the Bramhall bowlers with 3-82 off 15 overs, and in the favourable batting conditions, Bramhall came off content that Grappenhall had no more than a par score. After a below par first half of the season of their own, the Beavers knew that only a win would do as they aimed to start the second half in a positive manner.
The day’s schedule meant that Bramhall had to bat for a potentially tricky 30 minutes before the tea (football) break. The visiting openers got their side off to an excellent start, reaching tea with the score on 48 without loss. After the euphoria in Samara, Bramhall made a solid restart to their innings, and continued to keep scoring at the required five runs an over. Ashley West was the first to fall, however, caught for a lively 53 with the total on 85. At the other end, 16 year old Alex Hunt continued to defy his young years with another innings of mature patience. He passed his second fifty in 2 matches, and had reached a 75 before he fell victim to a run out with a runner on the field to aid his cramping legs. Despite this, at 180-2, Bramhall were closing in on victory, but Liam Banthorpe’s dismissal on 50 soon after left questions still to be answered. These were duly answered by some lusty blows from Iftikhar Naseer, Chris Sanders (29) and Adam Wilde (25*) to get the Beavers over the line with 3.1 overs to go.
Bramhall took a crucial 25 points from the game, to create a little daylight between them in 10th and Grappenhall in 11th position in the division. However, the gap to 8th & 9th above them is greater, and Bramhall face a tough home game to third place Toft next Saturday.