Penultimate

The Second XI made the trip to Higham Ferrers II for their second to last game of the season. Confidence was high after securing promotion the previous weekend however confidence in the weather was more dubious! Forecasts from a range of weather sources, including scouts in Wellingborough and Kettering, put the game in real jeopardy. Higham Ferrer’s II were also not short of concerns having managed to field 11 players for the first time in three weeks due to tricky scheduling from the NCL Fixture Robot.

The Captains met and the toss went to Higham who, after brief deliberations, opted to field first creating an opportunity for the batting unit to set a target. Longley and Coleman strode out purposefully and quickly amassed 34, including 12 off the first over, before Longely was caught driving down the ground for a rapid 21. Junior Alex Bushell, having shown excellent patience and shot selection last week, maintained his place at #3 with the knowledge that 17 runs would see him hit 100 for his first senior season at the age of just 14. Coleman was the next to depart caught behind after a length delivery bounced more than expected for 8. This brought Quennell to the crease fresh from his 43* vs. Horton House last week. Bushell and Quennell then combined for a partnership of 72 taking the Cooks to 113-3 when Alex B was caught for 12, just the 5 runs shy of his personal milestone. The remaining seven batsmen added a woeful 21 (including the Captain clean bowled by easily the best bowl of the game, perhaps even season…) but managed to collectively occupy the crease while Quennell made hay bagging his first career 100 including 9x 4’s and 4x 6’s. Tony Bird and Mason finished the innings not out leaving Higham Ferrers 191 to chase. A notable mention for Alex Roberts, drafted in last minute and making his club and senior debut scored his first club run.

Unfortunately the chase was complicated by the weather. The first innings was disrupted by rain and 6 overs were lost, and then more rain came midway through ‘tea’ costing a further 4 overs limiting the second innings to 30 overs, and once the innings commenced to 24 hours. It is worth noting that, as the away team, the Seconds showed admirable determination to get a full game in racing to both put on, and take off the large covers.

James Bushell and Tony Bird opened the bowling and with a combination of tight lines and solid catching the first wicket came to T. Bird after his 9th ball. A further 3 wickets were added by this pair (2 for T. Bird, 1 for J. Bushell) before Mark Bird brought himself on. A partnership, including Higham’s Captain, formed mixing straight ball defense with punishment for anything loose. After an incredible LBW was denied by stoic umpire Packer M. Bird clean bowled Higham’s Captain ending the burgeoning partnership and opening an end. M. Bird added 2 more wickets, both bowled, while Mason joined the fray to pick up a further 3 wickets. The game was brought to a close after 18 overs and conceding only 67 runs just in time with the skies threatening further. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that was only 9 wickets not the usually required 10. One of the Higham Ferrers players opted to leave after tea as the pub was calling…

Another solid performance highlighting the determination that has shone through in the season. The fact a game was even completed was down to the players. Next up Kislingbury.

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