England PD v Army XI
- Bourneville Cricket Club, Birmingham -
Sunday 13th July 2014
In the forth of these annual encounters at Bourneville, the England PD captain won the toss and chose to bat on what was a bit of a green top wicket on an overcast day. Openers Gorgon Laidlaw (Yorkshire) and Alex Hammond (Hampshire) made a cautious start and in the fifth over Laidlaw got a ball that seemed to stop in the wicket and he spooned up a simple catch to the on coming fielder - 11 for 1.
Hammond was joined by Iain Nairn (Northumberland) and the pair took the total up to 40 before Hammond was caught in front and adjudged to be LBW.
Nairn was looking in good form and following a well made 48 the previous weekend at the high performance training camp at Malvern, he and new partner Callum Flynn (Lancashire) increased the run rate as the pair put on a half century partnership when in the 24th over, Flynn went for a well constructed 36.
Nairn was next to go as he was bowled for a well deserved and confidence boosting 50 with the score at 119 for 4. Following his departure, the wickets fell quite regularly from then on with only captain Jimmy Williams (Cheshire) making 25 in a partnership with Matt Blamire (Somerset) worth 31. Williams' departure signalled a bit of a collapse as the last four wickets went without another run being scored, albeit, this happened in the last two overs when there was an effort to force the pace.
Finishing on 171 all out with three balls to spare, did give the PD lads a competitive total, although being honest with themselves, I would suspect they would have been much happier with a total around 190/195.
The perfect start was made by the bowlers after the break, if there is such a thing without taking any wickets. The first five overs bowled were all maidens as Jimmy Williams with pace from one end was complimented with leg spin from the other in the shape of Danny Hamm (Cheshire).
The two opening bowlers kept the pressure up and made a break through in the 16th over when Hamm had Dearden stumped by Nairn following a spell of frustration. The score at 16 overs was just 37.
Without the two front line bowlers, Fred Bridges and Jordan Williams, the bowling changes were going to be crucial and once Hamm had completed his 8 overs for 20 runs. Hammond and Dan Reynaldo (Hampshire) were at the mercy of some frustrated batsmen as they opened up. The run rate increased and even by regularly making bowling changes as Flynn, Blamire and Brothwood all had a go, they were unable to contain the Army side as they overcame the target with 9 overs to spare.