Bramhall 1st XI at Toft 28/04/18

Andrew Reynolds Senior Match Reports

Bramhall’s 1st XI spell at the top of the Cheshire County Premier Division was short lived, as they came unstuck at Toft on Saturday.
Winning the toss and batting first on a slow surface, Bramhall were always going to be facing a challenging day with four key bowlers absent. However, the Beavers made a positive start at the start of the game with the opening stand passing 50 in good time. This was thanks, in large part, to the returning Ashley West who was quick to seize on any loose deliveries. West had taken his score to 45 from just 48 balls before he played on, Toft getting their initial breakthrough with the score on 67.
However, the solid start soon gave way to mid-order fragility as the Beavers’ batsmen displayed some indecision and ill-advised strokes against a bowling attack that soon after switched from seam to spin. No subsequent batsmen ever looked comfortable enough to dominate the home bowlers, and Bramhall made the basic error of using their full allocation of overs when they were all out for 152 in the 49th over. Only Ryan Macciocchi, looking to be batting a little low at 9, exuded any confidence with the willow as he was left unbeaten on 30. Since the opening stand, Bramhall were effectively all out for 85, and it would take a serious effort in the field to be victorious.
After the break, the visitors knew that they would need to keep the loose deliveries to a minimum, whilst picking up regular wickets. Rupes Kitzinger, with the new ball, bowled a tidy spell of 9 overs for 16 runs and took a deserving wicket when fast hands from keeper Sam Johnson realised a stumping with the score on 36. The wicket brought Rob Jones to the crease, who has frequently proved a thorn in Bramhall’s side over the last few seasons, but he looked a little short of fluency in an innings of 15 before he too was stumped, off the bowling of Macciocchi to leave Toft at 67-2. However, with time on their side, Toft’s batsmen could afford not to press the issue and could wait for the bad ball, which were eventually delivered by the Beavers’ bowlers. However, in amongst it all, debutant Hameed Ahmed picked up the wicket of Forster with a leg break, and Bramhall sniffed an opportunity with the hosts will 65 behind at 87-3.
Despite admirable intensity, though, Bramhall’s bowlers were just not quite able to sustain the requisite pressure on the home batters to force any further mistakes and a solid fourth wicket stand saw Toft home by 7 wickets with more than 15 overs to spare.
A low return of just 3 points could be attributed to the poor application with the bat, rather than efforts in the field, but Bramhall know that their skills need to be more readily applied at home next Saturday against Marple.