Catches win matches as Hayes gain 20 point win against Locksbottom
By Malcolm Couldrey
The mighty, mighty 4's march on and remain on top with 2 games to play
Hayes v Locksbottom – 21st August 2010
With every game now being a ‘must win’, Hayes approached this one following a week of inspirational and motivational emails and were in the right frame of mind to deliver. It wasn’t until a pre-match fall-out over who would open the batting that it was clear that a ‘frame of mind’ is only valid for a snapshot period and can soon change thereafter. After much debate around whether people had enough ‘balls’ to take on the opening slot, Naughty Tom (trained and experienced opener) and The Shoe (trained and experienced groundsman) stepped up to the mark and demonstrated their commitment to the cause. With Tom’s trademark dogged ‘hard to get out’ pedigree and The Shoe’s most recent gargantuan innings of 93 minutes, the hope was that a solid, although maybe not flamboyant, foundation would be built for the in-form middle order to build on.
Best laid plans went to pot and saw Hayes slip to 17 for 4 in the 7th over. As the 2010 edition ‘Rob O’Rourke’ took to the field to join the skipper, a huge partnership was needed. And for once, one of the inspiration quotes came true (cometh the hour, cometh the man), or in this case, the men. Twenty overs later the score had improved to 132 and a partnership of 115 was finally broken with the departure of the Aussie for 80 off 76 balls, a superb knock in his first game this year. Boom Boom gave the enlightening reason that Rob’s big hitting was down to the fact that he was seeing the ball like a ……cricket ball (!!!).
As in previous matches, the trend of wickets falling in bunches continued and Waitey quickly went for what was a solid 35, followed by another 3 quick dismissals and suddenly the roller coaster innings was on a downward section. With incoming batsman having to pad up quicker that Naughty Tom disappearing when there’s an audition due for a West End musical, the innings was heading for a quick end, with the prospect of Hayes falling for under 140 and handing 7 overs back to Locksbottom. But cometh the hour, cometh the men (again) and Joe (Tattoo Magoo) Kallas and Malcolm (first ball) Couldrey were set the task of batting out. They duly obliged with Couldrey knocking what is probably his career high score of 14. So Hayes finished on 162 all out, with the Oppo skipper conceding at tea that the final partnership might well be the match winning one. Kallas and Couldrey nourished satisfyingly.
And so it turned out to be. With tight bowling and excellent fielding, the Locksbottom batsmen fell at regular intervals and without any major partnerships developing, only Mr Baldwin could put an innings together (38 not out). The other batsmen couldn’t keep the ball out of the air and Locksbottom lost 8 wickets to catches, the two highlights both being contenders for catch of the year; Scotty at first slip taking one flying at speed high to his right and collecting on the second attempt and Waitey again making a tremendous amount of ground to take one at extra cover having run round from mid off. Fantastic stuff. Taking eight catches and without a single mis-field was in stark contrast to the first fixture against Locksbottom, when Hayes fielded poorly and dropped six or seven chances – and that’s a sign of how much improvement there has been this year. Honours shared amongst the bowlers with Connor Byrne taking 3/23, Burnsie 2/24, Couldrey 3/31 and Scotty polishing off the innings with 2/3. Tom Davies opened the bowling going for only 3 an over, and applying pressure, but without any luck.
So a 20 point win keeps Hayes top of the league with most teams having only two games to go, although Hayes only have one left, next week at Old Brocks. Another 20 points is essential if they are to stay in contention, as there are only 8 points seperating the top 4 clubs. And with availability poor next week with a few key players missing, it’s going to be a tough game, with Old Brocks looking for revenge for their defeat earlier in the season, when they accused Hayes of stacking the side.
We talk a lot about the excellent team spirit and enthusiasm from the 4’s and to finish the report, we highlight no better example of this than that of Couldrey senior (fielding like Paul Collingwood) suffering a season ending broken wrist during the game but playing on until the end. I guess you could flip over the old adage and say; “Like Son, like Father”.