Strong winds and squally rain meant that the first half of this game was played in conditions that – before – this summer – had become the norm for cricketers in this country. Bramhall were looking to consolidate their position in second place in the league, and maybe even make up ground on the leaders.
Winning the toss, Bramhall opted to field first, reasoning that this gave them the best chance of forcing a win if the weather caused the game to be shortened. A brief glimpse of the sun just before play started teased the players into hoping for a warm session, but that was not to be! Gavin Tomlinson opened the bowling for Bramhall, running into the wind, and he made an early breakthrough as Harry Oliver took a fine catch to dismiss Arun Denton. With the wind strengthening, Tomlinson passed the baton to Tom Drury, whose run up required a lot less effort in the conditions, although there was concern as to whether the ball would reach the batsmen! Tim Wood persevered at the other end, eventually bowling Townsley for 30. Drury then removed Sulaiman Anis – the bails just about falling off as he was bowled, and with James Davenport taking the wicket of Orchard with his first delivery, Bowdon were reduced to 50-4. Max Ranson and Michael Booker steadied the boat for Bowdon before Ranson also fell to Drury as the score reached 80-5. It was left to Booker to build the score for Bowdon as a succession of partners came and went. He was largely untroubled, as the younger tail-enders defended gamely, and was the last man out as Bowdon reached 153 all out. Davenport and Jack Harris ended with two wickets apiece, with 3 for Tom Drury.
With a strong batting line up, and the weather improving, Bramhall felt confident of chasing down the required runs, and their confidence was not misplaced on this occasion. Tom Mason and Ed Daber opened the innings and proceeded to 88 without alarm before Daber was stumped for 42, looking to attack the bowling of leg-spinner Seth Champion. Tom Mason continued to reach his maiden 2nd team 50 for Bramhall before inexplicably choosing to watch a delivery from Sulaiman Anis turn slowly onto his stumps. At this point the score was 110-2, and it was left to Tim Wood and Harry Oliver to guide Bramhall home. Starting slowly, they both moved into a more aggressive style, taking Bramhall to victory with 19 overs to spare, Wood having scored 30 and Oliver 20.
With league leaders Cheadle having lost, the gap has indeed reduced to the top. The next 4 weeks will determine how successful the season is, as Bramhall face all 3 of the other promotion contenders over that period, starting with Stockport Georgians next week.