Bramhall 1st XI’s struggles so far this season have been partly due to the continued absence of 2 key fast bowlers from 2017, due to injury. Add to that a lack of runs from the batters in the last few weeks and Bramhall hosting Timperley, the Cheshire County League Premier Division’s leaders, looked like a tough prospect.
Slightly surprised to be in the field after losing the toss, despite a dry wicket and the swiftest of outfields, Bramhall set about containing the visitors strong top order with a bowling attack composed predominantly of spin. Timperley looked comfortable enough in reaching 39 without loss, when Shafiq unexpectedly top edged a pull from Simon Wilkinson to be caught in the deep. Despite the positive start to their innings, some disciplined bowling from the Beavers ensured that the away side never got too far ahead. Boundaries were kept to a minimum, and the scoring rate was hovering around 3 runs an over shortly after mid-innings drinks, when Iftikhar Naseer had Kulkarni caught to reduce Timperley to 97-2.
His dismissal brought Lancashire’s Brooke Guest to the crease, where he joined the composed Grant Hodnett to look to accelerate the score in the second half. This they started to do, as Hodnett passed his 50 and Guest cleared the ropes on a couple of occasions. The pair had put on 75 when Hodnett was bowled by Naseer for a patient 80, and Naseer struck again in the same over to trap Guest in front for 33. At 173-4 with less than 10 overs left, Bramhall sensed their chance to restrict the visitors to around 220 and collect some useful bowling points on the way.
Number 5 Nathan Olivier had other ideas, however, as he looked to savage the home bowlers from his first ball. He smashed a rapid 40 from just 14 balls, having survived a couple of early chances, to set up a more challenging target to chase. Despite several late wickets, including Naseer’s fifth, Timperley went into tea the happier side at 250-8 from their 55 overs. Wilkinson took 3-57 from his 17 overs, Ryan Macciocchi was tidy despite not picking up a wicket, and Naseer’s five wickets came at a cost of 98.
After tea, the Beavers knew that the Timperley attack contained some useful seam bowling, but that would potentially be an advantage to the batsmen on a wicket offering significant assistance to the spinners. Unfortunately for most of the assembled crowd – including a substantial number of former BCC players gathered for their annual catch up – Bramhall’s batters were unable to get out of the starting blocks.
11-1 soon became 22-4 as the top order were blown away, and when Adam Wilde was caught for 27, the Beavers were reeling at 44-5 at the hands of the opposition seamers. Naseer and Macciocchi managed to eek out a few more runs before the former was caught for 10 as the spinners took hold. When Macciocchi was smartly stumped for 27, the game was effectively over at 91-7 and the final three wickets lasted only 11 more runs to see Bramhall bowled out for a paltry 102 from just 31 overs to lose by a substantial 148 runs and collect just 3 points.