The seconds took the short trip to Billing Road to take on ON’s fifths.
Three enforced changes meant the return to the seconds of a partially fit Ryan Knight. Also there was unwelcome news that last week Sid playing in his 400th game for the Cooks, had fractured his hand and is facing a number of games on the sidelines.
Skipper Mark again lost the toss and the hosts chose to bowl on a very green but flat track. The openers Adam & Russ found the bowling to their liking and after just 5 overs 30 runs were on the board. The partnership was then broken and though the scoreboard was kept ticking along, wickets also fell at regular intervals. Every run was now important to ensure the depleted attack had a target meaningful to defend. Though seven batsmen in all reached double figures no batsmen really made their mark apart from young Alex Bushell. Joining the party at 86 for 5, Alex played a sensible innings remaining unbeaten at the fall of the last wicket. He combined well with the lower order to reach the fourth bonus point and post a target of 153.
After tea in the vast ON’s clubhouse, opening bowlers father and son, Tony & Mark Bird gave both opening batsmen plenty to think about, with Tony especially, providing little cannon fodder for the batsmen. Just when the hosts had thought a solid base to their innings had been built, Mark suddenly found another gear which meant a wicket in every over from his sixth to his last. From an healthy 45 for no wicket to 59 for 5 the damage had been done. Mark’s 5 wickets, two bowled, two leg before and a remarkable slip catch by new boy Ryan (which avenged his earlier dismissal from a similar spectacular catch) at the second attempt, allowed new bowlers James Bushell and Adam Longley the opportunity to settle the issue in a further 12 overs giving the Cooks a somewhat comfortable victory against the ten man opposition.
This victory the fifth in successive matches showed the resilience of the seconds as a unit, given that they were in effect a bowler short. This resolve will be crucial in future matches given availability in the popular holiday months, together with the inevitable injuries which will surely ensure many more hard fought matches in the coming weeks.