Everything to play for……….if we have the players!

Around March of every year for as long as I can remember I have had the same conversation with my old friend and Cogenhoe legend Phil Whiteman. It basically goes like this, me ” we`ve got loads of players” Phil “yes Roy but its March wait until the season starts” Over the years we have by hook or by crook got by, but last week was the worst I have ever known. Luckily skippers Dan McLaughlin, Ryan Knight and myself have phone packages that contain unlimited text bundles, as we had wives and girlfriends questioning ever night who is texting you at this time. It was probably another text saying so and so cant play, so and so has to work or so and so is away. Everyday another avenue was closed as we raced towards Saturday, on Thursday we had fingers crossed that we had 22, only to have a no giving the first team 10  and the seconds 11 with the seconds 11 including a 13 year old and two lads who have not played all season. Finally some good news on Friday as Liam Knight was passed fit by the doctor to resume running and so we had 22 although with the best will in the world we had more strength in the bowling department rather than the batting.

Saturday arrived and nobody dropped out and so we had two full sides. The seconds were away at Earls Barton playing second placed Wollaston III`s whilst the first team were playing hosts to Gretton at Compton Park.Now there is a league rule on strengthening your team in the latter part on the season however the first team could hardly be accused of that as they brought in myself as a “specialist fielder” and number 11 much to Nick Lesters` delight as he was promoted to the number 10 spot.

Having “won” the toss Dan elected to field on a gloriously hot and humid day but with a welcoming wind. The sensational Alex Harvey-Jones (one for the middle aged music fans..Mr Arthur) opened with the wind behind him and generating some very decent pace which was to much for the Gretton openers and soon the visitors were one down with Teffers snapping up a regulation catch behind the timbers. Jason Kruger was also in good nick and he  gave Teffers his second victim as well as bowling the Gretton number 3. Alex then suffered a recurrence of an injury picked up the previous week and unfortunately had to come off having bowled 5 for just 12 runs. Tom Smyth was a more than able replacement. Whilst James Ashby took over from Zulu at the village end. The hosts then took control as James bowled with pace, accuracy and guile. James had figures of 10-3-17-5 and was on a hat-trick as Gretton eventually fell for 99 with Zulu ending their innings and finishing himself with figures of 3-14.

The Cooks reply was beautifully paced and made with a great deal of maturity. Dan 45 and Fletcher Callaghan 19 put on 79 for the first wickets before Dans` fag and alcohol diet saw him fall yards short of an easy two to run himself out. James cameo of 12  made sure his  earlier excellent bowling got the reward it deserved as Cogenhoe got home by 9 wickets. Like ourselves Gretton were suffering from player unavailability and we wish them well for the remainder of the season and credit to them for providing both and umpire and scorer a rarity these days. The first team find themselves in second place behind Oundle II`s a familiar position to us at Cogenhoe. Promotion is in our hands now and that would be a massive achievement for a club of our size. Division 5 cricket could be ours next season if we continue to play with the high standards we have set over the past 3 weeks.

Over at Earls Barton the seconds were making a great fist of their game with Wollaston. The hosts had Rex Boddington with 84 to thank as they reached 154-5 from their 45 overs. Anil Joshi with figures of 13-4-10-1 was the star for the Cooks with the ball along with Syd Mason who took 3-34.Skipper Ryan got the reply off to a cracking start with a quickfire 24, a mantle that was taken on by brother Liam who stroked a lovely 53. But as the finishing target was in sight, wickets began to fall as Mukesh Patel 14 and William Linnell  12 both received LBW decisions. In the end Jack Quennell playing his first game for 3 years held firm with 10 not out and he was joined at the crease by 13 year old Tom Robinson. As the field surrounded young Tom he put the ball over the top of them , Jack yelled run and a joyous Tom waved his bat in the air as they scampered the winning run much to the delight of the rest of their team mates. That win means that the seconds are guaranteed fourth spot with promotion still in the hands of the 3 teams above them but the seconds can take heart from the fact that they have again competed at the highest level in this division and if promotion does not come their way it will not be for the want of trying.

So as we enter the final couple of weeks of the season there is everything to play for and hopefully this week a few more players available.


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