Run chase too far for 1sts in defeat to MK Air
Starts but no finish for home bats as visitor's target proves just too much
Willoughby gave a worthy account of themselves against the one of the Premier Division’s top three sides albeit failing in their pursuit of a run chase that proved just out of reach.
Having been sent to field first in baking hot conditions, skipper Ben Hollis continued to keep faith and provide the club’s up and coming youth talent with their chance and opened the bowling with two 15 year olds in the shape of Jake Quinney and Archie McMillan. Having seen a dropped catch go down in the slips off the third ball of the match, the pair continued to bowl well with pace and bounce that caused problems for the visitors with both deservedly picking up a wicket apiece in their opening spells. Whilst some of the hosts fielding may have been below par at times, the youngster’s efforts with the ball was backed by Richard Foxon who came on first change and was to bowl a typically useful nine over spell, his figures of 1 for 61 perhaps not doing full justice and getting the reward it deserved.
Having reached 61 for 3 at the first 15 over drinks break, MK Air looked to press on but it was only in the final third of their innings that the target to chase got away from the hosts with most of the visitor’s top to middle order getting into double figures. Prasanth with 45 initially gave the platform but it was Srindihi in at nine who made 61 not out that did the main damage as the visitor’s batting and stroke play was at times sketchy and not necessarily out of the coaching manual. Martin Nichols returned a short cameo with the ball taking 1 for 15 for Willoughby, before Quinney (3 for 42 off 11) and McMillan (2 for 60 off 10) followed their earlier efforts with equally useful second stints as MK Air closed on 260 for 8 off their allotted 45 overs.
With a quick outfield and useful batting surface, that target was certainly not out of reach and there was cause for optimism early on as Nichols and Hassan Nawaz gave Willoughby’s run chase a good start with 65 on the board inside the opening 10 overs. However that momentum was put in check as both then fell in quick succession to slower balls for 23 and 47 respectively. That started a similar pattern for the batsmen to follow as most got starts but were unable to convert into a big score that was needed. Despite looking in good touch Tom Stevenson departed once into double figures for a typically stylish 14 and it was a similar story for Keith Gibson and Matt Goss who both looked set but fell for identical knocks of 16.
With the required run rate well in reach at six an over at the halfway stage, Foxon and Hollis came together and played sensibly to keep the singles ticking over and putting away the bad ball to the boundary in the manner they know best. That was until the threatening partnership of 47 was broken when Foxon was run out from a fine throw in the deep for 31.
Hollis and Quinney then put on 29 before the skipper holed out in the deep having made 26, at which point the game was essentially up. Quinney was bowled shortly after for 11 four runs short of the 200 mark, but a late knock of 13 from McMillan took matters past that threshold.
But with the hosts unable to call upon injured Ryan Perry who was hospitalised with a hand injury, the youngster’s wicket was last to fall as Willoughby were bowled out for 203.