After a convincing league away win at Didsbury last weekend, and a comfortable 40 run home T20 win against Mobberley on Thursday, Bramhall’s 1st XI could be allowed to view their home league tie against Oulton Park on Saturday with confidence.
The Beavers won the toss and chose to bat first on a dry wicket offering bounce, but not completely batsman friendly. The opposition opening attack took a particular liking to the surface and made life difficult for the top order, aided by good pressure from the fielders. Runs were hard to come by, and Bramhall soon slipped to 14-2 and then on to 29-3. Bramhall skipper Nick Cantello found himself at the crease far earlier than he would have liked, but he set about initiating a recovery with Iftikhar Naseer, with some patient play punctuated with good running and the occasional boundary from a rare loose ball.
The 4th wicket partnership was approaching 50 when Naseer was caught for 21, and when Cantello’s dismissal for 31 was soon followed by the 6th wicket, the home side looked in danger of meeting the 130 run minimum threshold for 2 batting points. However, youngster Ollie Latter – in his first league game due to school cricket commitments – joined wicketkeeper Sam Johnson and the pair played sensibly and positively to add 54 runs for the 7th wicket to get those home batting points on the board. However, when Latter was stumped for 26 on 148 with overs running out, the incoming batsmen were unable to aid Johnson get to the next points target of 160. Wickets eight and nine fell on 153 and 155 respectively, and Johnson (27*) was unable to quite get the two extra points as Bramhall finished on a decidedly under par 157-9 from their 55 overs.
After the break, the experienced Kitzinger and Wilkinson returned to take the new ball. Despite an accurate opening set of overs from both, the key early wickets did not materialise and Oulton park had reached 40 when Wilkinson had East caught by Latter. First change Luke Littlewood’s accurate 7 over spell of 18 runs also brought the key wicket of Leech, caught behind by Johnson with the score on 64. The next breakthrough, however, did not appear as Oulton Park’s third wicket pairing of Bashir & Hyslop combined to add 95 runs and both had passed their fifties as Park strolled to an eight wicket win inside 37 overs.
Bramhall’s lowly 2 point return from the game sees them needing a much better performance and result away to Alderley Edge next Saturday.