1st XI Go Down Fighting

Manchester University 2nd XI – 236/7

Sheffield University 1st XI 196 all out.

Sheffield University 1st XI crashed out of the cup yesterday with a 40 run defeat to Manchester 2nd XI at Cheadle Hulme.  A Sheffield side decimated by exam commitments were forced to take on a strong Manchester side that was loaded with 1st team players after their cup fixture with Warwick was called off.

Despite finishing second in Division 1 this season, BUCS rulings decided that owing to the amount of rain this year there would be no promotion or relegation and the cup structure would be the same as last years.  So Sheffield were forced to travel back along the A57 to Cheadle Hulme for the third time this season.

Everything seemed to be going against the Sheffield side as a big crash on the A57 meant they were an hour late to the game and therefore forfeited the toss.  Energised by a free supply of Red Bull courtesy of club member Josh Rodgers they were forced into the field on a blistering hot day and Manchester quickly raced to 60 without loss inside the first ten overs.

Sheffield stalwart Phil Singleton finally made the break through and they were able to put the brakes on the run rate.  Singleton, in what turned out to be his last ever game for the University after four years service, finished with 3/50 from his nine overs.  In a fitting finish to a glittering career he took a wicket with his final ball, caught by Pratik Desai at midwicket, to dismiss Manchester skipper Bertie Graham.

David Gibson was his usual miserly self with figures of 0/36 from his nine overs and captain Chris Murrall returned remarkable figures of 1/25 from his allotted overs.

Manchester kicked on though in the later overs despite the best efforts of Mark Williams and Charl Jones to finish 236/7 from their 45 overs.

In reply Jones was sent up the order to open as a pinch hitter and preceded to smash his first ball for four through the covers.  The experiment didn’t last long, however, as he fell caught behind for eight.  Things got worse as Murrall was caught in the gully first ball and Sheffield were in trouble at 22/2.

Williams came to the crease and began to rebuild with Will Aitkenhead.  Runs came freely with the new ball and they were able to take the score to 80/2 at the first drinks break after 15 overs.

The drinks break changed the game, however, as first Williams was caught and bowled for 22 and then two overs later Aitkenhead fell to a dubious LBW decision for 42.

Despite being 86/4, Alex Griffiths and Mike Goodfellow were not about lie down and let the game drift away.  They had added a run a ball 38 before Goodfellow played one shot to many and was caught at mid off for 24.

When Griffiths went for 30, Manchester closed the game out and despite the best efforts of wicketkeeper Peter Mounstephen and some very lusty blows from Desai at the end, Sheffield were all out for 196.

It was a disappointing end to what has been an excellent season for the Sheffield side both outdoors and indoors which saw an appearance in the national finals at Lord’s and a runners up place in the Northern Division 1.  They will look ahead positively to the new season in September even without the formidable presence and express pace of Singleton.


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