2010 Third XI
Thoughts of the Third Team Captain
I would just like to put on record my gratitude to one or two people at the end of an extremely difficult year. For the unswerving support I have received from the club I am truly grateful and in particular my thanks go to Ralph Middlebrook and Mick Hirst. They have supported me in every decision I have made this season and I appreciate their loyalty. To Neil and Michelle I am very thankful for the work you have done behind the scenes in arranging things, especially when we have played on the main ground. To John Malpass and especially Graham Curtis I am hugely grateful, without either of these characters we have no pitches to play on.
To all of my players, thanks again for the outstanding commitment you have given me this year. I mentioned on Saturday that Majid Ali has played every single match this year, a terrific achievement and that Brian Wardle missed only one game. It is this type of commitment that serves to make our league position even more puzzling. We have only taken a hiding in two matches all season and yet we have found ourselves completely anchored to the bottom of the table. For whatever reason, we have found it impossible to win close matches, we have lost, probably, 15 of them. As I have stated earlier, we would do well to reflect on why this has been the case as we consider our future in Division B.
I should also thank our superb first team for making us all so proud on Saturday night. It’s a great feeling being involved with a team that has so deservedly won the Bradford League and such a great set of blokes as well.
Finally, I would like to thank a very unsung hero at Congs, Glen Duffield in Canada who performs a superb role for the club in keeping this superb website functioning. He always puts my (far too lengthy) reports onto this site within minutes and ensures that it is working perfectly all the time for the thousands of visitors. Your work is hugely appreciated Glen.
All the best to everyone at this great club, thanks to anyone I have unintentionally missed,
Pudsey Congs v Hawksworth
Saturday September 11th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
And so the season’s finale was upon us like a flash and it seems like just a few weeks ago that we showed up at the same ground in April for the first game. The weather could hardly have been more contrasting; glorious on the opening day but a huge shower just before the scheduled start meant that this game would certainly be delayed. Dom Allen took the opportunity to thank his team for their efforts before the game and rewarded them (in this dead rubber) with a return of the ever-popular batting lottery.
This entailed that Nathan Dalton and Adam Patrick opened the batting and the pair looked a picture as they wandered out to the square holding hands. Sadly neither contributed a huge number of runs and in fact the whole top half of the order slipped to 47-5. Brian Wardle batting at six and Graham Curtis at seven were able to rescue the skipper from embarrassment and put on 48 for the sixth wicket. Gary Lewsley then helped Curtis add a further 32 for the ninth wicket to significantly boost the final Congs total to 154-9. Curtis had batted superbly on a wet pitch and after being far too self-critical of his batting the previous week, he had rescued the side from complete collapse and helped them post a competitive total.
Pudsey Congs 154-9 (G.Curtis 55 no)
Robin Kettlewell gave Congs a flavour of what they had been missing in his left arm slow medium paced bowling picking up a decent wicket in the process. Majid Ali jagged a ball back alarmingly also to remove the dangerous Malhotra and at 21-2, Hawksworth looked in deep trouble. Singh smashed 33 in no time before Curtis appeared (this time with the ball) to hurt the away team again and Hawksworth were slipping to defeat. But a massive and ironic turning point took place on 86 when Nigel Dibb spooned a catch between the bowler and mid off. Had it dropped in no man’s land, Congs would without a doubt have won this game because he had barely managed to get a ball off the square. Unfortunately competitive to the end (and nobody should be criticised for that) Lewsley took a superb running catch that signalled the end of Dibb and of the defensive batting. Kizakkhe who had made 50 at Arthington earlier in the season hurt Congs again with some superb batting and dragged his side back into the contest, even despite some appalling running between the wickets which saw three batsmen in a row run out.
But with only 20 needed, stalwart Trevor Lobley appeared and just when Congs felt they had most of his attacking strokes covered, he hit a huge six over wide long on to effectively win the game for his side. Despite a further late scare Kizakkhe smashed a two off the third ball of the final over to guide his team to safety in Division A next season.
Hawksworth won by 2 wickets
Pudsey Congs v Crompark
At Britannia Ground
Saturday September 4th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
On paper there could only be one winner of this game, Congs housing firepower in their batting line up down to number 11 and players used to playing cricket on pitches more akin to the real game. Unfortunately, this game is not played on paper and confidence (or the lack of it) played its part in deciding the result of this match. Dom Allen won what was felt to be a crucial toss and elected to make first use of a slightly green wicket. Iky Zaman opened once again, this time with Gary Lewsley and the pair rattled to 41 off just 8 overs before Zaman tried one attacking stroke too many and was bowled for a sharp 19. Just before this point, Congs had looked to be on target for a score in the region of 250 but such a high target never came into vision again.
The scoring rate did still progress healthily when Brian Wardle joined Lewsley but with the score on 66, disaster struck in several ways for Congs. First, Crompark’s medium paced Whittaker hopped off the field with suspected knee ligament damage and this forced the away team into using a plethora of spin bowlers they probably would not otherwise have turned to. Wardle was bowled by a ball that kept very low and without any addition to the score, Lewsley was desperately unlucky to follow him having been adjudged caught behind. The spinners then took a complete stranglehold on the game, bowling superbly to 8-1 fields and demonstrating to all young cricketers, the real disciplines of line and length bowling and the rewards you can muster if you execute this effectively. Ashley Slater managed to time several beautiful boundaries but when he was out, Majid Ali and Graham Curtis became slightly bogged down by the unusual field placing. Toward the end of the innings, Robin Kettlewell, Dom Allen and Joe Goodchild all managed to add vital runs to the final score but there was to be no domination of the spinners at all and 178 was at best a par score and probably 20 or 30 short of that.
Pudsey Congs 178-7 (M.Ali 25 ; A.Slater 24)
Chris Halliday came out all guns blazing for Crompark and played a number of well-timed, lofted strokes over extra cover for four. The scoring rate was at fives after just six overs and it was clear that the Crompark innings would follow the same pattern. With no hint of a breakthrough, Allen turned to spin and slow medium pace and he was rewarded instantly when Graham Curtis had Phil Cooper plum LBW for 7. The attacking Halliday soon followed him, brilliantly bowled and out thought by Gary Lewsley and it was very much game on. Crompark slipped to 102-5 whilst the two quatrogenarians weaved their experienced magic. It appeared there was no way Crompark could win this game but, in truth, Allen was seriously worried about what would happen when the two had bowled through.
Curtis and Lewsley had bowled superbly well but the minute they had finished, the scoreboard began to rocket at an alarming rate. In the exact same manner as the early Congs batsmen, Vineet Verma and Amit Khullar used the pace of the ball and the glass-like outfield to project their team closer toward 179. Allen called a halt with 40 still needed for victory and made a final attempt to stem the flow by introducing Joe Goodchild and himself as slower bowlers. Whilst this worked initially when Allen flukily bowled Verma, Khullar and young Boyden showed nerves of steel to canter over the winning line with two overs to spare.
In the end, this game represented a perfect summary of the season. Without a doubt the better team, consisting of the much better cricketers had been soundly beaten on the day by a team that had a great deal more confidence in their own ability and demonstrated a more competitive and clinical edge to their performance. Crompark had won with 10 men and totally deserved their victory. The damage done to the psyche of the Congs team during the first half of the season, when they were forced to play with sides that simply could not compete at this level has proved irreversible. It is the oldest adage in sport but both winning and losing become a habit and but for some welcome blips, 2010 has proved a nightmarish campaign.
Crompark 182-6 (G.Curtis 3-43 ; G.Lewsley 2-20)
Crompark won by 4 wickets
Baildon v Pudsey Congs
At Westvale Terrace
Saturday August 28th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Congs were strengthened for this match with the addition of Ashley Slater and Liam Stanhope as the selectors took the opportunity to make the best use of their squad in a final attempt to stave off relegation, the second XI already unfortunately relegated. In appallingly windy conditions, Stanhope opened the bowling with Nathan Dalton and the pair bowled exceptionally well to say they were charging into a force 12 hurricane. They shared the first two wickets and at 19-2 Congs were well placed. But Mubasher Khan and Majid Hussain shared a big fourth wicket partnership to put Baildon into the ascendency. Phil Hiley then added a more than useful 28 to leave Congs requiring 190 for victory and whilst the captain attempted to instil in his team a belief that this would mean a 19 point win, there was a sense that Baildon had scored a few too many.
Baildon 189-9 (L.Stanhope 4-51)
Congs reply got off to the worst possible start with their two best batsmen back in the hutch without troubling the scorers. Ashley Slater went back to a ball that he should have got well forward to but Brian Wardle had his legs cut right off and not for the first time this season it has to be said. Iky Zaman was not to be deterred at the other end and the initial experiment to open the batting with him has proved one of the great success stories of a disappointing season. He shared a third wicket partnership of 51 with Graham Curtis who departed to the thinnest of snicks behind and 53 with Robin Kettlewell. Zaman departed for a superb 61 and will have been kicking himself well into the night because a hundred was massively on the cards for him. He had played some exquisite strokes intermingled with some classic Mushy but his innings had been as entertaining as ever. Kettelwell had played some outstanding drives and deft touches in his 29 and he too will have been disconsolate to get out with his eye in.
The real test of the innings commenced at this point and it was disheartening to witness Congs fail miserably to knock off a total which they should have managed comfortably. 110-4 soon became 130-8 before Allen and Stanhope provided Pudsey with hope adding 33 for the ninth wicket. But when Stanhope departed, Allen quickly followed him and Congs had lost a game they should have won. The jury was out at the end of the game as to the specific facet of their game which had caused the downfall but whether it was allowing too many runs or failing to knock off a par score, this game was ultimately destined to be added to the list of games Congs should have won this season. Such a list would probably contain more than half the games this season and after a period of reflection we would do well to look at the reasons this has happened. With Hawksworth winning their game against Crompark, Congs fate was sealed and a desperately disappointed team trudged away from Baildon, knowing they were about to receive their last rites.
Pudsey Congs 164 all out (I.Zaman 61 ; R.Kettlewell 29)
Baildon won by 25 runs
Pudsey Congs v Hepworth & Idle
Saturday August 21st, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Losing both Steve Gunner and Adam Patrick from the previous week’s victory over Shipley was always likely to affect the team adversely. In fact the two absentees almost certainly made the difference in a tightly fought match that saw Congs on the back foot for the majority of it. On a damp pitch Idle still opted to bat and trusted their attacking instincts ahead of the conditions. Nathan Dalton bowled well, without any luck and Majid Ali; precisely the opposite. At one stage Ali’s figures read 3-25 and none of the wickets were down to his usual good away swing bowling. But Congs gleefully accepted all offerings and but for superb contributions from Mark Mills and Matthew Tinsley, Idle would have been struggling to post a competitive score on a drying pitch. Both opening bowlers were replaced by Gary Lewsley and Abid Bashir, the pair bowling sufficiently well to cause the batsmen some uncomfortable moments but sadly serving up the occasional four ball to release the pressure. Thirteen year old Mohsin Hussain stumped Mills brilliantly off the bowling of Bashir to peg back ‘Heppies’ but skipper Dave Matthews continued the good work with Tinsley to take Idle toward a score they felt would be defendable. Even when both had departed to contrasting catches, the score continued to balloon and a final total of 227-6 appeared a tall order at half time.
Hepworth & Idle 227-6 (M.Ali 3-63 ; A.Bashir 2-66)
Matthew Humpleby played some delightful strokes in a short stay at the crease but with the score on 24 he joined his opening partner Iky Zaman in the changing rooms, both having succumbed to the innocuous looking Andy Horner. Newly resurrected Graham Curtis joined Brian Wardle for a remarkable partnership of 112 to hoist Congs right back into the game, Curtis stroking the ball around for ones and twos, Wardle preferring to find the large boundary on no less than twelve occasions. The two complimented one another perfectly and had they stayed together for another four to five overs, the result would probably have been different. When Curtis holed out for a brilliant 44, this brought the young keeper Hussain to the crease and he once again belied his youthful years to continue where Curtis had left off. Sadly, just when another great partnership looked on the cards, Wardle had a rush of blood and was bowled for a brilliant 90. Soon afterwards Hussain followed and whilst immensely disappointing, the air-headed comments that accompanied him back to the pavilion should serve as a great compliment to the youngster and his ability to get under the skin of cricketers four times his age.
By now the wickets were falling a fair rate of knots and it was clear that a successful chase would not be taking place this week. Nobody in the bottom order was able to raise their personal score into double figures and Congs lost their final wicket in the penultimate over for 188. Once again though, they had shown a huge amount of fight and commanded respect from a side that believed they would win the game in a much easier fashion. With Hawksworth losing again and picking up fewer points than Congs, the race to avoid the wooden spoon is still very much on.
Pudsey Congs 188 all out (B.Wardle 90 ; G.Curtis 44)
Hepworth & Idle won by 39 runs
Shipley Providence v Pudsey Congs
At Salts Cricket Ground
Saturday August 14th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
This game was an eagerly anticipated return to Salts Cricket Ground for the Congs players that had played in the momentous cup match in June and scene of their first victory of the season. Dom Allen again won the toss but this time did not hesitate for even a fraction of a second before electing to bat first, despite a saturated pitch from heavy early morning rain. Steve Gunner and Matty Humpleby opened but Congs were soon one wicket down as Humpleby struggled to keep a rising ball down and he was brilliantly caught at square leg.
Gunner was joined by Brian Wardle and the pair proceeded to put together a magnificent partnership of 91. Both sensibly took their time to settle in on a difficult track, recognising that whilst early doors, the pitch would be difficult, it would be easier to score on having spent time at the crease. Wardle’s drives are simply out of the top drawer and were a pleasure to watch. He also did nothing more than help a ball over mid wicket for a massive six. Meanwhile, Gunner was ruthless on anything short and played a number of brilliant pull and hook strokes that left many of the Prov players arguing amongst themselves in frustration. During their partnership, a score of well over 200 looked to be on the cards which given the size of the ground would have been some feat.
However, nothing is ever plain sailing for Pudsey and Wardle departed to the excellent Tom Hawksworth who bowled shrewdly all afternoon. Whilst his wicket did not exactly trigger a collapse, Congs did lose their impregnable position in the match and 94-1 became 133-7 at one stage as a succession of single figure scores spoilt the scoresheet. It has to be said that one of those wickets was that of the desperately unlucky Steve Gunner who had batted brilliantly and to have his legs cut from under him in such a manner was tremendously disappointing when a century had appeared in the bag.
Dom Allen managed to hang around with the tail to nudge the final total up to 165-9 which represented a score that was lower than had looked on the cards an hour before but would have been accepted gladly at the toss.
Pudsey Congs 165-9 (S.Gunner 75 ; B.Wardle 34)
Despite protestations, Allen ensured that Nathan Dalton and Joe Goodchild opened the bowling and his loyalty to the pair was rewarded in the second over with the score at 7-2, both sharing a wicket apiece. However this was to be the high watermark of the first 15 overs as Saqib Mir and Johnny Thompson plundered an unusually slack bowling attack to all parts and it appeared that Congs might be heading for a defeat to rival the league result at Fulneck.
Never short on confidence, both of Allen’s more experienced spinners Gunner and Gary Lewsley pleaded to be given their opportunity, the latter characteristically mumbling and chuntering almost up to the point where he released his first delivery. But just like all good cricketers, a little irritation does him the world of good and ‘Golden Arm Ginster’ removed Mir with a ball that almost bounced twice. A much better delivery bowled Thompson around his legs and Congs felt they had an end open. Lewsley was still not delighted with the ball which dismissed Garfield Allen despite the brilliant catch at long off from Wardle but he delivered the ball of the day to bowl Chris Hawksworth through the gate, although getting a little too excited in process! Gunner had become virtually unplayable at the other end and removed Tom Hawksworth to the plummest of plum LBWs, then bowling the captain James Jeffery and keeper Walsh. When the umpire raised his finger for the final wicket, Shipley had slipped from a healthy 124-3, to 149 all out.
Pudsey were absolutely jubilant to have come back from the dead to win this game and get the better of another team for the first time this season (winning their little mini-series against Prov 2-1). This was also the first league win over Shipley since their reformation and merger with Salts. A delighted team headed back to the cricketer’s night at the club in great spirits and importantly, gave themselves an outside chance of getting off the bottom before the end of the season.
Shipley Providence 149 all out (G.Lewsley 4-17 ; S.Gunner 4-19)
Pudsey Congs won by 16 runs
Halifax Direct v Pudsey Congs
Saturday August 7th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Inside the first two balls of the match, Congs’ captain realised that he had committed a cataclysmic faux pas in allowing his team’s pre-match excitement on viewing a wet green pitch, to affect his decision at the toss. Neither of his opening bowlers could stand up, the wicket ends were so saturated and this therefore entailed that Messrs Stanhope and Dalton were bowling at somewhere near quarter pace. They were also doing so with a ball that resembled the proverbial bar of soap due to a deluge that came down in the hour before the match. Whilst two catches did go down in the opening hour which were both costly, neither of these could have been attributed to decent deliveries had they been taken and the sad fact was that this was the worst insertion since David Gower asked Australia to bat at Headingley in 1989.
Gary Lewsley and Jamie Allen did both manage to stem the attacking flow of the Halifax Direct side which had been on overdrive since around the eighth over. Only Liam Stanhope had been spared a battering up to this point but the combination of youth and experience reduced Halifax from 111-1 to 150-5, Allen finishing with respectable figures of 1-23 from his 5 overs. Lewsley toiled away in typically pugnacious fashion and was rewarded with a well deserved 5-59 from his 12 overs. It could have been slightly better had an horrific incident not taken place in the outfield when neither Stanhope nor Majid Ali called for a high ball which meant they collided at full speed and it was a sickening impact to witness. Ali certainly came out of the clash the worst but fortunately after spending five minutes on the sidelines he was back to his usual chirpy self. Meanwhile, Halifax had racked up a colossal total on such an unpleasant looking surface and Congs could not be described as feeling confident at tea.
Halifax Direct 228 all out (G.Lewsley 5-59)
Iky Zaman’s first failure from the opening spot did not help matters and neither did Matty Humpleby’s fourth leading edge dismissal in succession. Brian Wardle was desperately unlucky to be adjudicated against but both Dom Allen and Adam Patrick only had themselves to blame for their dismissals. So at 31-5 it appeared Congs would succumb to a heavy and embarrassing defeat. That they didn’t was down to the fighting quality of Lewsley, the strokeplay of Majid Ali and a wonderful cameo from Joe Goodchild.
It has to be remembered that Halifax were hugely on top when Lewsley commenced his innings but he rode all of this and the conditions to guide Congs to full bonus points from the game. On many other days his innings would have been more than enough to seal victory for his team. Ali played some delightful cut and pull strokes during his lengthy stay with Lewsley and Goodchild saw off some early pressure to end the game comfortably on top of the bowling. He had already played some wonderful shots before needing five from the last two balls to ensure maximum batting points, Goodchild smashed them both for four.
Despite yet another poor day at the office for the team and for the captain, a decision at the toss that will be the source of huge internal acrimony for years, it was immensely pleasing that this fighting side never laid down and even with no opportunity to win the game they fought all the way to maximum points. There is certainly some ticker to this side and they are well equipped to rise to whatever challenges are presented to them in the future.
Pudsey Congs 178-8 (G.Lewsley 57 ; J.Goodchild 35 ; M.Ali 27)
Halifax Direct won by 50 runs
Pudsey Congs v Rodley
Saturday July 31st, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Liam Stanhope made his long awaited return to action for the 3rd XI and he did not disappoint. Still nowhere near 100% full fitness he bowled tidily after Rodley elected to bat, somewhat surprisingly, on a very damp pitch. Nathan Dalton also produced his best haul for this team and Majid Ali, yet again bowled Congs into contention by taking four wickets. Two of those wickets owed a great deal to Gary Lewsley, taking two blinding and completely different catches. One must have been hit higher than the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool and the other was caught supremely over his head, one handed. At half time having bowled out Rodley for just 158, Congs felt they were in with a superb shout of a first win in recent years against the champions.
Rodley 158 all out (M.Ali 4-51 ; N.Dalton 3-22)
It was sadly not to be despite Iky Zaman once again kicking the side off to another fiery start, hitting five boundaries in his lusty 27. Brian Wardle and Steve Gunner took the score to 73-2 but alarm bells had begun to ring when both played strange shots and were dropped within the space of an over. They were both soon back in the hutch in any case and it was a shame that having looked so assured, the pair should gift their wickets in such a fashion. The remainder of the batting order went down like a pack of extremely flimsy playing cards, although Stanhope demonstrated that he is no No 10 batsman and almost batted the side back into the game before being last man out for a well compiled 20. Sadly the on field behaviour dipped significantly below an acceptable level toward the end of the game. Some of the home team did not help matters by making ill-timed cocky remarks when it appeared they were on top but this was no excuse for some of the personal and frankly offensive conduct that followed. In a league that has recently been taking great pride in the spirit in which its games are played, this was a considerable step back to the dark ages.
Pudsey Congs 120 all out (I.Zaman 27 ; S.Gunner 22)
Rodley won by 38 runs
Pudsey Congs v New Wortley
Saturday July 24th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
After a forecast that promised a great deal, the day itself delivered a disappointing level of cloud and Congs went into their return match with New Wortley slightly weakened having lost Ashley Slater to the 2nd XI. After a period of consultation, New Wortley elected to bat on a beautiful looking track prepared by groundsman (and now player) Graham Curtis. They opted for the safety first approach and this was reflected in the scoreboard after 12 overs displaying 17-0 and then 50-0 almost at the half way point. Nathan Dalton and Majid Ali had both bowled tightly without luck and were replaced initially by Joe Goodchild and then Gary Lewsley.
The captain decided that Goodchild was bowling at the wrong end and alternated his spinners with devastating consequences for Wortley. In successive overs they each removed an opener, caught to excellent catches in the covers by Ali and Brian Wardle. The spinners then proceeded to rip through the heart of the New Wortley line up with only Sultan Mahmood demonstrating any stickibility. Both Ali and Wardle contributed further with a brilliant catch and run out and Jamie Allen pocketed a sharp chance at cover point. In just 38 overs, New Wortley were all out for 109 and Congs enjoyed a tea time knowing their first, comfortable, league victory was within touching distance.
New Wortley 109 all out (G.Lewsley 4-19 ; J.Goodchild 4-56)
After a great deal of discussion between Lewsley and Allen as to how best the small target should be approached, Iky Zamnan was chosen to fire the Congs to a sharp start that they were hoping would immediately put New Wortley on the back foot. When unusual tactics pay off in sport there is a sense of satisfaction that is almost unparalleled and in contrast to the opposition’s approach, Zaman went off all guns blazing. With a scoring rate of six per over to commence with, Wortley proceeded to make a number of unforced errors that would cost them dear. They did manage to remove Matty Humpleby but this merely brought a mean looking Brian Wardle to the crease in determined mood.
Whilst it could be said that Zaman rode his luck to a certain extent, fortune, as we all know, favours the brave and on this occasion his approach turned out to be the correct one for the conditions. Some of the blows brought the rest of the team to their feet in admiration and two of the towering sixes resulted in those balls being lost for good. At the other end, Wardle was initially accumulating and batting solidly but as the target drew ever closer, he cut loose with the final stroke of the game being a monster six over long on, hitting the pavilion wall on the full. Both batsmen enjoyed their time in the middle and clearly cherished every minute after some of the hard times the team has suffered this year.
Whilst we must pay due deference to the fact that New Wortley were weakened in this match, Congs played a brand of cricket that will bode them well in the coming weeks and the captain insisted that his players enjoy the albeit too rare experience this season. Rodley next week will represent a sterner task but one the players will walk into with a great deal more confidence.
Pudsey Congs 113-1 (I.Zaman 67 no ; B.Wardle 26 no)
Pudsey Congs won by 9 wickets
Farnley Hill v Pudsey Congs
At Tong Village
Saturday July 17th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
A heavy downpour in the hour before the match led to the customary rule of batting first on this postage stamp of a ground being turned on its head and Richard Bedford inserted Congs, although this was clearly not without reservation. Dom Allen promoted himself to open the innings with Matty Humpleby and the early indications were not good as both Humpleby and Brian Wardle departed to leave the score 1-2. The moist pitch appeared to be playing some tricks as one might expect and Farnley Hill clearly expected a rerun of the earlier season blitz of Pudsey.
But the middle order was made of much sterner stuff on this occasion and both Allen and Ashley Slater set about a period of consolidation. It was not without an element of good fortune but they had the advantage of knowing that on such a tiny playing area they would get full value for all of their shots. Slater departed to a ball that kept slightly low but that he should have got forward to and Gary Lewsley arrived in his new No 5 role. The score moved onto 77 before Allen attempted his customary blast over the bowler’s head, not allowing for Pankaj Rathore’s misleading deviations and was caught at long off. Mohsin Hussain is something of a child prodigy and this was borne out by, not only batting at No 6 but looking completely at ease in the company of players that were three times his age. He made a very sharp 20, hitting a six and 3 fours before unluckily chopping the ball onto his stumps for 20.
At the other end, Lewsley was more like the Garfield of old, calmly accumulating runs and rotating the strike. At one point when he was joined by Majid Ali, it appeared that a gigantic score was in the offing as Ali persistently hauled the part time spinners over the mid-wicket boundary for several sixes. He was caught trying to blast one too many, departing for 30 and sadly this signalled a dramatic collapse. After two lusty blows, Iky Zaman was to follow him, although it did appear he was a little unlucky that the delivery was not signalled a no ball, which incidentally would have seen Farnley Hill’s (by far an away) best bowler Joe Bedford taken out of the attack. Congs slipped from 170-6 to 171 all out and during this Lewsley was clearly stuck in two minds as to how he should bat with the tail; his indecision costing him dear, although he had compiled 34 runs which represented an impressive return to form.
Pudsey Congs 171 all out (G.Lewsley 34 ; M.Ali 30 ; A.Slater 30)
Defending a relatively small score was never going to be easy but the Congs bowlers and fielders made a hell of a fist of it. Nathan Dalton opened the bowling and was hostile, forcing opener and captain Richard Bedford into fending off a ball, straight to the grateful hands of Joe Goodchild. Gary Lewsley ran round from third man to catch Liam Walsh to give Hussain his first wicket and then stood perfectly still in the same position to catch Dalton ‘s second at the other end. When Hussain caught Gibbs on the boundary at mid wicket with the assured nature of a county cricketer, Farnley Hill were teetering at 26-4 and looking in perilous trouble. The scoreboard had barely changed when a dramatic turning point came as Carl Best hit the ball straight past the bowler in the air but low toward the boundary. Wardle made superb ground to get right behind it, only for the ball to drop excruciatingly straight back out and one sensed that had he managed to hang on, the game would probably have been up for Farnley.
Together with Joe Bedford, Best commenced a devastating attack on the Congs bowlers and it appeared that Farnley were coasting to victory. But with his very last ball, Wardle had Bedford caught behind for 55 and this triggered a further collapse that saw Farnley slip to 128-8 involving two wickets for the (yet again) impressive Joe Goodchild. He bowled Watson straight through the gate and had Brakewell caught in the covers. When Best was caught behind off Lewsley it appeared to be Congs’ day with 44 still needed for victory.
But it was not to be as Rathore hit 18 in as many balls before he was well caught on the boundary by Jamie Allen off the bowling of Goodchild. This left an agonising period in the game when both sides were terrified of losing. With the equation standing at 11 required with one wicket remaining, stalwart David Harland stood firm with Jonny Walker, the latter waiting more than five overs before seizing on a chance to squirm a boundary away. Five balls later it was all over as Walker pulled the ball to the mid wicket boundary, bringing jubilation to his own team.
Congs were left completely shattered by this defeat and there was a deafening silence in the dressing room that went on for nearly 15 minutes before the players decided it might be a good idea to get changed and leave. They did not deserve to lose this game and having put so much effort in, the result was an exercise in cruelty. One point that must be made however, is that the match was a truly excellent game of cricket played in a fantastic spirit. Two players from Farnley Hill are deserving of special praise, Joe Bedford and Carl Best, not only because they walked immediately after getting the thinnest of nicks on their deliveries but also because the game was very much in the melting pot at those points and their dismissals could (and should) have provided Congs with victory. To remove yourself from the pitch in these circumstances is sportsmanship of the highest order and both are a credit to their team and the league.
Farnley Hill 174-9 (J.Goodchild 3-20 ; N.Dalton 2-20)
Farnley Hill won by 1 wicket
Pudsey Congs v Mount
At The Britannia Ground
Saturday July 10th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Congs went into their second game with Mount inside six days and the conditions and surroundings could not have been more contrasting. The main reason for this was the availability of the Britannia Stadium but the previous Sunday’s cool breeze had been replaced by a stifling humidity that necessitated four drinks breaks in the game, plus an extended tea. Dom Allen cringed when, after rolling half the length of the pitch on its side, the coin came down on the wrong side and Congs were forced to endure the mugginess first. An excellent opening spell by Adam Patrick (bowling through the pain barrier of a worrying and troubling back injury) was rewarded when he had Patel caught in the covers by Joe Goodchild.
Last week’s assassin, Usamah Sacha, again batted at three and initiated a period of consolidation for Mount which suggested runs might be hard to come by and that Pudsey were on top. But by keeping plenty of wickets in hand, Mount had timed their innings to perfection and Congs were left, effectively, hunting for scraps. Brian Wardle bowled very tidily, picking up three wickets during his 12 over spell of left arm medium pace and the switch certainly appears to provide more options for the captain. Steve Gunner bowled in an orderly fashion without any luck and as a result, suffered when the inevitable onslaught arrived with around 15 overs to go. No bowler was spared and poor Gary Lewsley was once again given the thankless task of bowling at the death; a role he performs well. Ravat top scored for Mount with 60 and although he hit the ball cleanly, Congs were disappointed that his aerial assault did not come to an end a great deal sooner. Despite this, Matthew Humpleby did take three catches in the innings, taking his tally to five in the last two games and he looks a very solid fielder, either in the covers or out on the boundary.
Mount 245-6 ( I. Ravat 60 ; B. Wardle 3-64)
Congs had stuck to their task well and a target of 246 by no means represented a mountain to climb. Allen pointed out at tea that a steady start was required and that one man would need to bat through, with several others lending considerable support if the Mount total was to be surpassed. Humpleby was asked to open the batting with Lewsley in difficult circumstances as Riaz Motara seems to be able to make a new ball talk. His opening spell was close to perfection and accounted for both of the openers to leave Congs on a precarious 19-2. But Wardle and Ashley Slater were able to rescue the position and reapply pressure to the Mount side; Wardle looking as stylish as he had two weeks previously on the same ground and Slater batting with his new found maturity that exceeds his years by a considerable distance. A nasty strangled dismissal saw the end of Wardle, gloving a short, leg side delivery to the keeper and when Gunner and then Iky Zaman departed before the score had reached 100, Congs looked to be in a degree of trouble.
Robin Kettlewell joined Slater and the pair put on 40 without ever really getting going and Kettlewell’s frustration was all too apparent for everyone to see. A wild swipe saw his demise, borne of frustration as the rate required continued to climb and when Slater departed to an excellent slower ball from Laher shortly afterwards, the game was just about up for Congs. Slater was clearly upset at being bamboozled but it had not been lost upon him that another century was in the offing and with it would probably have come victory.
Majid Ali and Adam Patrick both batted well to ensure Pudsey collected all five batting points and Goodchild safely negotiated the final four deliveries to ensure that a full 20 point victory was not gifted to Mount. But the visitors had fully deserved their victory, bowling and batting better than Congs and sometimes you have to hold up your hand and admit, you’re beaten by a much better team. Mount were also a tremendously sporting team and it has to be noted that you never get a moment’s aggravation when playing them, demonstrating that it is not a necessity to bully, harass and behave reprehensibly in order to win this competition.
However, there are also many positives to take from this game for Pudsey. They never gave up, the youngsters again provided effort that belied their years and taking eight points from a team that is guaranteed to finish in the top two this season was a commendable performance.
Pudsey Congs 182-9 (A.Slater 64)
Mount won by 63 runs
Mount v Pudsey Congs
PPM Cup Semi Final
At Staincliffe CC
Sunday June 4th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
On a wicket that was simply not fit for a cricket match of this importance, Dom Allen won the toss and chose to bat for the exact same reasons he had the previous day. After three balls had been bowled the club’s very own and unique Lord Nelson impressionist was back after a week’s absence when Alistair Goodchild received a delivery that bounced from nowhere into his elbow. Once again he had to leave the field and although expecting to return at some point, spent the entire remaining 39.3 overs, as a spectator with pads on. This brought Brian Wardle to the crease and another ball that stopped in the wicket and lifted saw Wardle straight back to the boundary edge for a five ball duck.
Gary Lewsley and Ashley Slater were forced to take up the reigns and conditions were as difficult as they get. The pitch was appalling and the opening bowlers Patel and especially Motara were bowling extremely well. Miraculously, the pair put on 67 for the second wicket and despite some luck for Slater (dropped on three occasions), they demonstrated considerable guts, determination and no little technique. Lewsley departed to a magnificent catch from Patel for 19 but then for the second time in two days, the Congs batting collapsed alarmingly from 81-2 to 93-7. Slater had made an impressive 39 but his departure resurrected memories of the previous day. It was left to the captain and vice captain to add some respectability to the final total and they managed this with a stand of 57. They played aggressively (as much to avoid injury as increase the score) by taking the pitch out of the equation as often as possible. 25 runs came from Badat’s penultimate over and with Allen and Robin Kettlewell’s stand, Congs felt they had something to bowl at.
Pudsey Congs 156-8 (A.Slater 39)
Commencing with spin was a tactic devised mid-week and was an attempt to combat the early onslaught of the Mount batsmen with Joe Goodchild and Wardle initially rising to the challenge. Goodchild bowled Rawat for 4 in the fifth over and everything appeared on track at this stage. However, when Allen failed to acknowledge his spin attack was not going to achieve the victory on their own and left them on for several overs too many, disaster struck. Usamah Sacha batting at three developed a liking for Goodchild’s flighted deliveries and commenced dispatching them over the nearby Working Men’s Club. This triggered an equally devastating attack on Wardle and Pudsey were almost out of the game as quick as a flash, although off Wardle’s very last ball, Lewsley took a blinding one handed catch at slip to see the back of Sacha. Belatedly, Allen turned to Adam Patrick but this coincided with the arrival at the crease of Riaz Motara and it appeared that he just loves quick bowling. Whilst it has to be said that some of his shots appeared to take place when he was looking elsewhere, the ball did travel a great distance and poor Patrick was the third bowler to receive an undeserved hiding.
And there it was. The high hopes before the match and rekindled just before tea were trampled over by two batsmen that looked a cut above anything seen so far this year. When one considers they were batting on a dreadful wicket that should have necessitated an ambulance on stand by in the car park, their performance looked even more impressive. But Congs can still hold their heads up. They got to the Semi Finals of the competition which is no mean feat when you are not enjoying the best league campaign and the relegation battle starts in earnest right now.
Mount 157-2 (U.Sacha 69 ; R.Motara 43 no)
Mount won by 8 wickets
Leeds Sikh v Pudsey Congs
At Leeds YMCA Ground
Saturday July 3rd, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
As the captain walked nearer and nearer to the wicket, he knew this game was going to one of the most testing of the season thus far. On a pitch that more closely resembled a badly ploughed potato field than a cricket wicket, it was clear that this would not be an enjoyable affair, certainly from a batsman’s point of view. Dom Allen did win the toss and elected to bat first on the basis that chasing any kind of meaningful total on such a deck would prove near impossible.
Robin Kettlewell and Gary Lewsley bravely went out to the middle to face a barrage of nasty bowling from Arul Gopalasamy, not intended to be so hostile but made so by the horrific pitch. After surviving six overs Kettlewell departed, having spooned a lifting ball to cover point and the ever safe hands of Raghunath Chandrasekaran with the score on 20. Brian Wardle soon furiously followed him, gloving a lifting delivery to the slips but Lewsley was able to move the score to 45 with Ashley Slater before being caught inches off the floor by the irrepressible Chandrasekaran for 17 runs that were worth 50 on an actual cricket pitch.
Sadly this triggered the hoisting of a white flag by the Congs batsmen who had all clearly witnessed the horror show and injuries sustained and felt they were fighting a losing battle. They subsequently collapsed to 56-9 before Allen and Matty Humpleby managed to add 29 for the final wicket to give the score a slightly more rosy hue.
Pudsey Congs 85 all out
It was a shame that the batsmen did not eek out a few more runs because after Adam Patrick and Majid Ali were wound up and told to bowl short and hard, it quickly became apparent that 85 was not such a bad score. Ali bowled Reddy for a duck and the dangerous Hari Seehra was well caught by Humpleby next ball to leave Sikh 4-2. Koduru was not hanging around and was caught off the bowling of Patrick to leave the score 13-3 and Sikh were reeling. They steadied the ship somewhat before a major collapse saw them slip from 45-3 to 61-8, with further wickets falling to Ali, Patrick and Abid Bashir. Congs must have been firm favourites at this stage but a brave stand between two old stalwarts Matharu and Dharmendra Singh saw their side home under intense pressure.
Congs may well rue this opportunity to beat one of the best sides in the league. They could and probably should have won this match and a little more resolve and bravery in the batting department would probably have seen them home. It has to be commented upon that it is a source of great sadness to see a once great side such as Leeds Sikh being forced to ply their trade in such inappropriate surroundings. No cricket matches, of any standard, should be played on dangerous wickets such as this that cause injury and turn the result into a lottery. Congs left the ground feeling at least some relief that no serious damage had been done, blissfully unaware that less than 24 hours later they would be playing on a pitch nearly as bad and arguably more dangerous.
Leeds Sikh 86-8 (M.Ali 4-42)
Leeds Sikh won by 2 wickets
Hawksworth v Pudsey Congs
At Arthington CC
Saturday June 26th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
History was destined to be made on a very warm but cloudy day in Arthington as Congs attempted to make it three wins out of four and more importantly acquire their first league win of the season. Dom Allen’s luck with the coin was absent yet again and Hawksworth made first use of a perfect looking pitch. After an inauspicious start to the Congs bowling and fielding, Majid Ali acquired the breakthrough with a strangle down the leg side of the dangerous Malhotra for just four. The scoreboard would race around to 70 before the next breakthrough was achieved and an inspired bowling change saw Gary Lewsley bowl Arya for 35 with the second ball of his spell. Wickets fell steadily till at the point of 108-5, Congs felt they had the measure of this Hawksworth side. But Kizakkhe made a well-compiled 50 and put on 57 with Bahal to ensure that Congs would be chasing more than 200. It was a mixed bag of a bowling and fielding performance; at times impressive (Matty Humpleby making a superb diving stop on the boundary) but often laboured and it has to be said lazy. In truth neither side were happy with the total at the half way stage. Hawksworth will have felt they could muster somewhere nearer 300 after various batsmen got starts, Pudsey were disappointed not to keep the total below 160. Lewsley’s slightly expensive four wickets were the highlights along with an excellent closing spell from Brian Wardle.
Hawksworth 216-9 (J.Kizakkhe 50; G.Lewsley 4-64; B.Wardle 2-34)
Allen remonstrated with his team at half time that 217 was not huge total to chase on a very good wicket with a fast outfield and short boundaries. Whether some of the batsmen didn’t believe him or low confidence was playing its usual mind-games was difficult to tell but they quickly subsided to 12-2; both openers back in the hutch and sadly to shots that could not exactly be described as sagacious.
And so it was at 4.57pm that 15 year old Ashley Slater should make his way to the crease with the target still standing at more than 200. Whilst it was clear from the start of his innings that there was a steely doggedness and determination not seen before it did not appear that his innings would prove to be anything more than a bit-part cameo and a footnote to yet another Congs league defeat. Such an assumption was all but guaranteed to come to fruition with the score at 45-5 and then 92-7, as batsman after batsman saved their most injudicious shot for the worst possible moment. In short it appeared that Congs were sliding to an horrific defeat that would almost certainly have seen them relegated. But with seven wickets down, Robin Kettlewell joined Slater and provided some much needed impetus to the innings, plundering several boundaries in a quick-fire 16 and far more importantly, adding 48 with Slater as the youngster started to hit his straps. Unluckily caught behind, Kettlewell had at least transformed the character of the innings from abject defeat to a sense that at the very least, the side were going to go down all guns blazing.
So having badgered the captain all week about not batting at No 11, Adam Patrick was allowed to bat one position higher (in fairness to protect a still broken finger). At 140-8 he joined his lifelong best friend at the crease for what many might have felt were the last rites but it was clear they both had a completely different mentality. At hardly any stage did the run rate required climb above seven per over and the pair combined sensible quick singles with an average of at least one boundary per over. When the opening bowlers Sahadeven and Arya were brought back to the fold, Hawksworth clearly felt they could blow away the youngsters and put an end to the irritating uprising. But it did not work out as they planned and as the length of time spent at the crease grew, so did the confidence of the two batsmen, not to mention their eye for the ball. Between overs 38 and 42 the score increased from 145 to 192 with both Slater and Patrick finding a way to carve at least one, if not two boundaries per over. It was clear that something special was happening; win or lose. And Hawksworth began to panic.
After a stuttering 43rd over the equation was 20 from 12 balls with Slater, 85 not out on strike. He managed two runs from the first ball of the penultimate over before being felled by the next that crashed into his thigh. It was time for a break and when two youngsters ran onto the pitch with a much-needed drink, Slater inquired as to his score. What happened next will live long in the memory of all that witnessed it and was completely unexpected of a 15 year being told he was in touching distance of a century. A short ball was served up and Slater pinged it off the middle of the middle of the bat, straight over the adjacent house and into the road for a gigantic six. He hooked the next ball down to square leg for four and was standing at 97, the team requiring eight runs for victory. Slater brought up his hundred and the house down with a trademark pull to square leg and understandably jumped up and down like a man possessed on achieving his first century at such a young age. The target had now reduced to four runs from seven balls and Slater was reminded of the need to complete the show. This proved totally unnecessary as another short ball was served up and Slater hauled it down to long leg for a truly remarkable victory for the Congs. His innings had been breathtaking in its maturity and dazzling in its strokeplay.
At the end of the game the two young pretenders were quite clearly more delighted that their efforts had earned Congs a first league victory than any personal plaudits that might come their way and they (along with their parents) can be immensely proud of their exploits and conduct.
Such great victories can often become turning points and keeping in mind that Hawksworth are at the same end of the table, this result could have a huge bearing, come the end of the season.
Pudsey Congs 217-8 (A.Slater 105 no ; A.Patrick 26 no)
Pudsey Congs won by 2 wickets
Pudsey Congs v Pudsey St Lawrence
PPM Cup Quarter Final
At Britannia Ground
Sunday June 20th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
It was sun cream weather at the Britannia Stadium for this switched quarter final fixture against our arch rivals from just up the road. Our thanks go out to Pudsey St Lawrence for agreeing to the change of venue which it was felt was in everybody’s best interests once such a stunning setting became available.
Keith Marsden flipped the coin in order to preserve the standard home team protocol and it came as no surprise to anyone when Dom Allen called incorrectly once again. On a perfect looking batting wicket prepared by the forever hard-working John Malpass (rolled to perfection by Nathan Dalton), Marsden made the only possible choice he could and elected to bat first. For Congs, Adam Patrick returned to the fold, still nursing a broken finger and nowhere near full fitness but the gamble was felt necessary by the cricket committee in view of the eight overs he could bowl in the game. But it was to be his opening partner Majid Ali that would rip the heart out of the St Lawrence batting and leave them in complete disarray after his wonderful spell of bowling gave him figures of 5-23. One of those wickets was the dangerous Matty Beckett who was brilliantly caught by Joe Goodchild in the covers. Patrick did remove St Lawrence’s top batsman Bhatti for just a single with an extremely quick delivery that hit the top of middle stump and Brian Wardle chipped in with two late wickets. St Lawrence had been overpowered for just 84, clearly a tremendous shock to them and they will have felt they did not do themselves justice. Congs totally hit their straps and their fielding and overall keenness was something to behold.
Pudsey St Lawrence 84 all out (M.Ali 5-23)
An opening blast from Hirst was too much for Alistair Goodchild when he was caught flush on the point of the elbow and left the field in great pain. This brought Brian Wardle to the middle to partner Gary Lewsley and the pair played compactly for several balls before Wardle decided that enough was enough. Latching onto anything either too full or too short, Wardle produced what can only be described as a batting masterclass. Some the shots he produced were of such a high calibre that players and spectators alike were baffled as to how this pocket battleship had played every single game this season in the 3rdteam. His timing was total perfection, guiding the ball down to fine leg, driving it through extra cover (his favourite and most aesthetically pleasing stroke) and pulling the ball over mid-wicket. Wardle’s strokeplay and the sound off the bat were so impressive that he would not have looked out of place on the same pitch 24 hours earlier and two teams higher.
And in what seemed like no time at all, the innings was over, at 4.10pm to be precise. Poor Gary Lewsley was left shaking his head in disbelief that having opened the innings, he had ended on 16 not out as Wardle cut loose, his 64 not out coming from just 35 balls! Still to get off the mark in the league, the Congs march into the semi finals of the cup to meet Mount at Staincliffe, thanks to an impressive team performance, led very much by two huge individual showings from Ali and Wardle.
Pudsey Congs 87-0 (B.Wardle 64 no)
Pudsey Congs won by 10 wickets
Crompark v Pudsey Congs
At High Royds Field
Saturday June 19th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Atrocious conditions in and around Menston caused chaos for all but those that travelled by train to the picturesque ground of founder members Crompark. It was so bad that two members of the Congs team arrived 15 minutes after the start time and others only moments before the toss. They would at least have known however, that it was practically a given Dom Allen would lose the toss and as a result Crompark decided to make first use of a decent looking pitch.
Released from second team duties, Pudsey welcomed Chris Doey and Imran Ahmed for their first outings of the season. Doey opened the bowling and produced a decent first spell, taking the wicket Halliday for just eight runs, Majid Ali also applying pressure from the opposite end. So much so, in fact, that Allen decided he should bowl his whole 12 over spell in one go. 2-27 was an excellent take from this impressive and popular member of the side in his debut season. Doey was replaced by Joe Goodchild, the bowling find, not only of this season but for several others as well because his ability to bamboozle batsmen has come out of nowhere. He bowled 12 overs of spin, picking up 2-31 and deserved more but catches hit the deck.
Gary Lewsley bowled tidily without hitting the dizzy heights everyone knows he is capable of but a terrible last seven overs for the Congs saw them lose what was total control of the match and concede 80 runs. Lewsley (perfectly correctly) interjected at tea that a better tactic would have been to spread the field and offer six runs per over.
Crompark 178-6 (M.Ali 2-27; J.Goodchild 2-31)
After tea Imran Ahmed and Ashley Slater opened the batting in the absence of Kettlewell and Goodchild (Sr) and a perfect start was acquired; 62 in 10 overs and it appeared that Crompark were on the verge of giving up. Sadly, when Slater was bowled by Dave Robinson, the house of cards began to crumble in an alarming fashion and 62-0 very quickly became 98-6. A combination of appalling luck (such as catches you would not expect to be held in a Test Match being plucked out of thin air) and inexcusable shot selection were responsible for the slide but the upshot was that Congs had been mugged and from controlling the game, their position had reduced to rank outsiders.
Majid Ali attempted to make amends with the bat following his bowling exploits but when Chris Doey was caught at long on and Ali was caught behind, there was a sense of finality about the result of the game. Goodchild (Jr) and Allen battled in vain but could not manage to acquire the penultimate batting point and Congs were bowled out for 145. Make no mistake this was a massive disappointment as, for the first time this season, Pudsey had turned out a side that was far better than their opponents on paper. That Crompark failed to recognise this demonstrates just how big a part confidence and mental strength plays in modern sport and how because they believed they were playing the weaker Congs side of April and May, this became the actualité. The opposite can and must be said for the Pudsey players who underperformed dramatically in this game.
Pudsey Congs 145 all out (I.Ahmed 46)
Crompark won by 33 runs
Shipley Providence v Pudsey Congs
PPM Cup Second Round
At Salts Cricket Ground
Sunday June 6th, Sunday June 13th & Tuesday June 15th 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
It would be an understatement to say that this fixture took some fulfilling. Three times in all, the Congs players made the arduous trip through Greengates and Shipley into Saltaire, in order to complete this 2nd round match. The first Sunday was a complete wash out and everyone agreed to come back the following week.
At the second time of asking, the weather was warm but cloudy and the Met Office had suggested rain would make an appearance around 4 o’clock . Due to a late finishing Under 15s match, Congs arrived after the scheduled start time and Dom Allen walked straight from the car to the middle to toss up with the Shipley skipper. His bacon was saved on this occasion however, because James Jeffery elected to field first, a somewhat unusual decision with the threat of rain and dishevelled arrival state of the Pudsey players.
Alistair Goodchild and Robin Kettlewell opened the batting and saw off the majority of the opening burst from Amjad and Taylor but more importantly, allowed the rest of the team time to settle into the match from the sidelines. When Kettlewell was out, Brian Wardle joined Goodchild and the pair put on 60 for the second wicket in difficult conditions, not least because the boundary was almost Test Match sized. Goodchild had looked in his best form of the season but attempted one too many big shots on 47 and was caught at long off. Ashley Slater joined Wardle and the pair took the total past 100 before Slater skied a catch off the bowling of Ahmed. Meanwhile Wardle looked very assured on a difficult pitch and played some deft strokes, finally nudging his score past fifty before persistent rain forced the umpires to take an early tea with three overs remaining. Despite every effort and a long drawn out interval, there was no prospect of a resumption. The captains agreed to dispense with protocol and come back on the Tuesday evening due to a poor forecast for the following day.
Close of Play – Pudsey Congs 152-4 (37 overs)
Chaos ensued at the resumption of this match on Tuesday evening when total gridlock in Greengates meant that half the Congs team were late once again. This combined with four members of the team being unavailable led to a sense that Pudsey were seriously up against it this time around. One of the absentees was Wardle, stranded on 52 (now retired) and another, opening bowler Nathan Dalton had conspired to break his own foot. Congs did though have the help of four club members that had agreed to field and they were indebted to Imran Ahmed, Danny Cockin, Chris Doey and Wasim Bashir. Majid Ali (resuming in place of Wardle) set the tone for the night with one massive six and several well run twos and threes (pushed all the way by Jamie Allen) to increase the score to 174-6 after 40 overs which appeared a competitive score.
Pudsey Congs 174-6 (B.Wardle 52 ret; A.Goodchild 47)
In response it was apparent there was some nervousness in the Shipley camp. 175 was clearly not going to be a cakewalk but it became an even more difficult task when Joe Goodchild bowled Belcher in his second over. Utilising Goodchild for the opening spell proved a masterstroke as batsmen more used to pace on the ball were reduced to seeing the young spinner out of the attack and he ended with figures of 2-19 from his eight overs. When Robin Kettlewell bowled at the railway end and had Amjad well caught by Abid Bashir at point, first ball, it appeared all the ingredients were there for a famous night.
Shipley were reduced to 57-4 at one point with Carl Ward and Jonny Thompson the only real danger men left to bat. Out of sheer necessity, the captain bowled his first overs of the year and managed to get through four before he could make way for Majid Ali to finish the innings. Thompson and Ward were still at the crease and looking to take their team home against the odds when Ali induced Ward into a shot that sent the ball straight into the air and Doey held on safely at cover point. As Thompson struggled to come to terms with the in/out field set by Allen, wickets continued to fall at the other end. Abid Bashir was a model of line and length whilst supporting Ali and deservedly picked up the final two wickets. It was immensely pleasurable to hear the jubilation of the players when Joe Goodchild held onto the final catch and Congs had secured their first win of the season, against all the odds.
Pudsey deservedly won this match and had to cope with an awful lot in securing the win. In the end, the spin, and specifically slower paced bowling of Kettlewell and Goodchild had proved too difficult to handle on this particular pitch. They now proceed to the quarter finals and a mouth-watering encounter against the old foes, Pudsey St Lawrence .
Shipley Providence 145 all out (M.Ali 3-25; R.Kettlewell 3-47; A.Bashir 2-3; J.Goodchild 2-19)
Pudsey Congs won by 29 runs
Pudsey Congs v Halifax Direct
Saturday May 22nd, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Few would have believed that after all the bitter cold of the previous weeks, we would be presented with the warmest cricketing weather since 2006 (and despite still being comfortably inside the month of May). And the freakishness was not confined to the conditions as an unprecedented number of Congs players were unavailable for various reasons, including horrific injuries. This afforded a number of youngsters in the ranks the opportunity to test their mettle against, it has to be admitted, one of the weaker teams in the Dales Council A Division. It goes without saying that they did not let anyone down.
Dom Allen won his first toss of the year and a biscuit brown pitch, together with the searing heat put paid to any lingering doubts he had about batting first. Despite promising a great deal at times, the innings never took off, with wickets often falling at the worst possible moment and some of them as freakish as the weather. James Galvin top scored with 24, Icky Zaman made 22 and Dale Spink chipped in with a very confident 11 not out to secure the second bonus point.
Pudsey Congs 106 all out (G.Mahmood 6-39)
Having not made the most of a decent wicket with the bat, the young Congs bowlers attempted to drag the game back from Halifax with the ball. Danny Appleyard secured the breakthrough having the dangerous Jimmy Zaidi well caught at backward point by Spink. Bal Lally then clean bowled Shah for a duck and Halifax were wobbling at 35-2. Naz Khan looked to be easing his side over the line when Alistair Goodchild snaffled a one-handed contender for catch of the season at mid off and Congs felt the game was still to be won.
However, this was really as close as things got because two of the three Khans in the Halifax line up took their team to within 12 runs of victory before the fourth wicket fell. There was still time for some late drama as Tom Huffinley and Spink picked up three late wickets to significantly boost Congs’ points haul. All of the young bowlers, Lally, Huffinley, Spink and Jamie Allen deserve a special mention as they bowled with great skill and may yet shape the Pudsey attack for years to come.
This was a great showing by a weakened team and many of the performers can look back on their efforts with pride. With several players expected to return to the fold this coming weekend, the overall prospects do not look as gloomy as they once might have done.
Halifax Direct 108-6 (A.Khan 51)
Halifax Direct won by 4 wickets
Rodley v Pudsey Congs
At Canal Bank
Saturday May 15th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Congs visited the home of the reigning champions for what they always knew would be a difficult afternoon. In fact it turned out to be a lot more difficult than they had anticipated. The captain lost the toss yet again and in doing so, condemned his side to a miserable afternoon in the field.
This is not the forum to debate or discuss any of the controversial incidents that took place but Adam Patrick showed sensational heart during his 12 overs, 1-50 representing scant reward for his superb efforts. He never stopped running in, bowled with considerable pace and showed wonderful determination in the field. A special mention of thanks must also go to Robin Kettlewell who threw his hand up to bowl in order to protect the regular bowlers and save their figures taking a hiding as the game had degenerated into a farce. Jamie Allen also took an excellent catch at long on off Kettlewell to dismiss Rodley’s best batsman Gary Walton.
Rodley 299-4 (M.Hobson 70 ; G.Sager 54)
Pudsey were able to use their innings to provide some serious time in the middle for some of the less experienced batsmen and impressively, Patrick, Ashley Slater and Joe Goodchild all put up their hands to bat in the top four. Slater was unfortunate to depart just when he looked like getting going and both Patrick and Goodchild did not die wondering. These wickets brought Brian Wardle to the crease and he was a model of composure during his almost faultless effort of 59. One particular off drive would not have looked out of place on the county circuit. His lengthy partnership with ‘Mushy’ Zaman breathed new life into the Pudsey team and helped them gain vital points from a lost cause. Zaman hit several towering shots, clearing the boundary by a considerable distance on one occasion.
Due to two finger injuries sustained in the field, Congs were down to nine batsmen at one point but when Kettlewell, batting at nine, was left high and dry with the score on 167, Nathan Dalton bravely went out to bat and saw his team home with two great shots to secure the final batting point. The final score represented an impressive showing from Congs and helped them take something from a truly miserable day and one they will want forget in a hurry.
Pudsey Congs 185 all out (B.Wardle 59)
Rodley won by 114 runs
New Wortley v Pudsey Congs
At Roundhay Oval
Saturday May 8th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
After the disappointment of Farnley Hill, Congs went into the match with New Wortley with a strengthened line up and a firm resolve to show themselves, the club and the league that they were better than their showing up to press. Despite winning the toss they were unfortunate to lose four wickets in next to no time and a score of 40-4 suggested normal service was being resumed. ‘Mushy’ Zaman and Majid Ali steadied matters whilst adding 30 valuable runs but a further collapse saw Congs plunge to 100-9 and seemingly out of the game.
It was at this stage that Adam Patrick joined Joe Goodchild for what most onlookers were regarding as the last rites of the Congs innings, if they were entirely honest. What followed will not only be remembered for many years to come but will appear in writing in countless future Congs handbooks, as the pair eclipsed a 25 year record for the tenth wicket and added 69 vital runs. As their confidence increased, so did the impressive nature of their strokeplay and by the end of the 45 overs, many of the upper order batsmen were left scratching their heads as to how easy the two of them were making things appear. Goodchild played some beautifully deft strokes, off his legs and through point and Patrick matched these with a wonderful eye for the ball; a huge six over mid-wicket being the highlight. Both transformed the character of the game and sent a team that had been sliding toward certain defeat into the ascendency during the tea break.
Pudsey Congs 169-9 (A. Patrick 38 no; J.Goodchild 27 no)
Unfortunately, despite no lack of effort, New Wortley were not going to be held back and impressively dragged themselves back from what must have been a gut-wrenching last wicket partnership. Setting out their stall to hit anything that was slightly off target (and in some cases not even that) they feasted on the one or two poor balls per over that were on offer and ran out worthy winners in the end. Adam Patrick, James Galvin and Brian Wardle all bowled extremely well but with the team serving up far too many boundary balls, the target proved to be easier to reach than one might have expected at half time.
Taking the positives out of the game, the 10th wicket partnership will never be forgotten by those that witnessed it and it was a return to competitive cricket for the third team. We will, however, need to improve the bowling out of sight if we are to arrest this somewhat alarming start to the season.
New Wortley 174-6
New Wortley win by 6 wickets
Pudsey Congs v Farnley Hill
at Fulneck School
Saturday May 1st, 2010
Match report by Robin Kettlewell
On an overcast day with heavy rain forecast, Congs won the toss and elected to bat. After an opening partnership of 20 between Kettlewell and Wardle, wickets began to tumble and Congs struggled to cope with the spin bowling of Rathore who ended up with 5 for 12. The final score of 54 all out was never going to be enough against an in form batting attack from Farnley Hill.
Pudsey Congs 54 all out (P.Rathore 5-12)
Even the Met Office was against the Congs as a few rays of sunshine descended over Fulneck as Farnley Hill came out to bat. Adam Patrick gave the Congs early hope, trapping Watson LBW for 4, however this was to be the only success as the hard hitting Beaumont struck a rapid 41 not out to send Congs plummeting to another defeat. Congs will have to improve on this performance if they are to climb the ‘A’ division table.
Farnley Hill 60-1 (G.Beaumont 41 no)
Farnley Hill won by 9 wickets
Mount v Pudsey Congs
At Staincliffe CC
Saturday April 24th, 2010
Match report by Dom Allen
Congs visited the new home of promoted Mount on what was a scorching day for April. After being caught out by some very unseasonal sun the previous week, hats and sun block were worn this time around to prevent a repetition of the Ribena heads on display after Leeds Sikh.
Mount won the toss but their captain actually retired to the dressing room to discuss the matter with his team before electing to bat. At 111-2 it seemed that the correct decision had been made as Patel made 62 despite two early wickets from Adam Patrick. From that score however, Mount slid to 144-8 and Congs will have felt the match was under their control. The spin combination of Brian Wardle and Steve Gunner had totally transformed the state of the Mount innings, picking up five wickets between them. The highlight of these was a truly magnificent catch by Joe Goodchild off Wardle, the ball coming high and over his shoulder but amazingly, he never looked like dropping it. But the 9th wicket partnership for Mount put them back in control at tea and 195-9 represented a formidable total at the half way point.
Mount 195-9 ( I. Patel 62; A.Patrick 3-27; B.Wardle 3-34)
Whilst Congs did not enjoy much luck in reply, they never really looked like they were in the hunt either. The pitch did some highly unusual things during the Pudsey innings but some slightly injudicious shots added to the feeling that they were not going to get there. ‘Mushy’ Zaman made 43 not out on his return to the club but three other batsmen got out in the teens and this was where the game was lost. Despite Zaman’s valiant efforts including several enormous blows, Congs were bowled out for 144.
Two weeks running the team have certainly not disgraced themselves but neither have they looked like they would win either game. Confidence and a strengthening of the bowling would be somewhere near the top of any shopping list.
Pudsey Congs 144 all out (I.Zaman 43 no)
Mount won by 51 runs