Stand-in captain Phil Murphy’s stunning knock of 158* helped Leicester Teachers & Mossdale CC to a 5-wicket win over a youthful, yet competitive Narborough & Littlethorpe CC.
Narborough’s captain Jon Haynes won the toss and chose to bat first on what looked like a pitch with plenty of runs in it, so Shaun Young and Harry Swindells walked out to the middle to open the batting. They faced the opening bowling partnership of Charles Gill and Matt McDonald, one of the youngest opening bowling partnerships LTMCC will see for a long time.
Gill, back from university for the weekend, looked very rusty and bowled a very average spell with the odd ball doing a bit of the surface and beating the batsman. McDonald on the other hand bowled with pace and purpose and looked very menacing before Shaun Young hit him for 3 boundaries through the off side in one over. Young played the role of the attacker in the opening partnership, whilst 13-year old Swindells played the accumulator role with some lovely cricket shots.
The breakthrough came in the 12th over when Gav Smith came into the attack and bowled the aggressive Young for 42 after attempting a huge swipe over the legside. This brought to the crease Narborough’s Australian overseas Tim Kendrew who looked very comfortable against the LTMCC bowling attack.
Swindells raced to his 50 with easy and went on to score a hugely impressive 81 before being given LBW, albeit controversially, off the bowling of Dale Stean. Stean picked up Kendrew as well for 53 with another LBW decision, Stean finished his spell with figures of 9 overs, 2 for 51 although his last 4 overs probably only yielded 10 runs.
Short of bowling options, Murphy turned to Mike Huggett and he rewarded his captain when he had Chris Chipman superbly caught in the deep by Ollie Crompton. The captain then brought himself into the attack and his erratic bowling and searing pace proved too much for the Narborough middle order as he picked up 2 wickets. Dale Stean and Matt McDonald then produced a fine combination of fielding to run out Clive Chipman, Stean quickly collected the ball and hurled it to the bowler’s end where McDonald was there to whip the bails off in a flash leaving Chipman well short of his ground.
Narborough finished on 237-7 from their 40 overs, they would have been slightly disappointed not to score more after their top 3 set such a brilliant platform for the middle order. LTMCC would have been very pleased with their fight back, but disappointed with the amount of extras (19) and some poor bowling in places.
The LTMCC chase started with great momentum as Phil Murphy and Ollie Crompton struck plenty of boundaries off opening bowlers Ben Warrington and Tim Kendrew. Crompton, playing his first game in about 2 years after returning from skiing in Australia, batted well for his 17 but fell with the score on 62 when he snicked off and did the honourable thing of walking.
At the other end, Murphy was racing along and striking the ball so sweetly that the fielders looked to be slowly backing away. He was joined by Mick Phull who only had attacking on his mind and he lived and died by the sword after perishing to Adrian Bradley for a quick-fire 16. Jay Wijesundara was the next man in and he looked in good touch for his 10 but was ran out when he picked out possibly the best fielder on the pitch to run 2 to, and was well short of his ground.
Mike Huggett was the next man to go as his wild swipe was caught at slip and with LTMCC 133-4, nerves were settling in in the pavilion. Dale Stean joined Murphy in the middle and together they steadied the ship, Stean batted sensibly giving the strike to the in-form Murphy. Murphy went through to score his second ton of the season and he then stepped up a gear. He hit 2 of the nicest straight sixes you will see this season and he just kept on going. Stean stupidly gave his wicket away with the score on 233, LTMCC needing only 5 to win at this point, but Murphy guided his team home and fittingly hit the winning runs.
Murphy’s 158* not only won the game but it took him past 500 runs for the season. IT’S ONLY JUST TURNED MAY!!! A great game for the neutral, and a great 5 wicket win for LTMCC against a strong Narborough side.