By Keiron Metcalfe
If last week’s loss at Scarborough was gut- wrenching, this week’s performance, at home against Kirk Ella, was… well… simply disappointing.
Having been asked to bat by the visitors and then going along very nicely at over five runs per over for the first nine overs, South Holderness went from 47 for one midway through the 10th over (when Jack Riley was dismissed for 17) to all out for 108 after the first ball of the 32nd over. Not even captain Luke Ingram could salvage anything from such an inept batting performance by his teammates. Of course, he tried to dig in and ensure the team batted as many overs as possible, in the hope of posting something between 150 and 180 – something for his bowlers to get their teeth into. However, once Jack Harrison’s wicket left South Holderness on 90 for eight, Ingram knew he had to try and force the issue, with him running out of partners; but, he forced one shot too many and ended up clipping a catch to mid-wicket, leaving the 10th wicket pairing of Mark Johnson and Ant Allinson to add just two more runs before the inevitable end of the innings.
After Ingram’s 44 (from 99 balls), the next best score came by way of Kirk Ella’s 30 extras. After that, only Jack Riley got into double figures, with the rest of the card comprising five single-figure scores and four ducks. For Kirk Ella, captain Ashley Wills was unlucky to not pick up a wicket in a seven-over spell which yielded just 12 runs. Meanwhile, Aidan Wickenden and Will Burnett picked up three wickets each, and opening bowler, George Dean, finished with 4 for 34 from his 8.1 overs.
Credit where credit’s due: the South Holderness bowlers did their very best to spare the batsmen’s blushes, starting with Luke Ingram taking two wickets in three balls at the end of the third over. At the other end, after starting quite tentatively (after his disappointing performance at Scarborough the previous week) and conceding five runs in his first over, Harry Metcalfe rediscovered both his rhythm and aggression, giving up just six more runs from his next five overs and, ultimately, being unlucky to not claim at least one wicket in his six-over spell.
At the far end, meanwhile, Ingram bowled with some real pace before, starting to tire, he ended his spell with a 10-ball over… which yielded a third Kirk Ella’s wicket from the ninth delivery! Then, the next over, 28 for three became 29 for four after 10 overs when, in his penultimate over, Harry Metcalfe calmly gathered Adam Ingram’s throw to affect the run out of George Hoy (a dismissal which sees Ingram creep just ahead of Metcalfe in the race for the 1st XI Fielding Cup).
And when, having come on for Metcalfe, Mark Johnson ended the 14th over with the wicket of Rob Wickenden, South Holderness’s tails were well and truly up. However, they knew that, to have any chance of pulling off an impossible victory, the obstacle they had to overcome was Ashley Wills, whether it by taking his wicket or merely keeping him off strike. What they didn’t factor in, though, was number seven, Haydn Hudson sticking around with Wills and helping put on 24 for the sixth wicket – a partnership which took a lot of steam out of South Holderness’s forward momentum.
When, the over after the mid-innings drinks break, Luke Riley brought Hudson’s 37-ball vigil to an end (for six runs), Kirk Ella were on 72 for six; and, with them still needing more than half the runs they’d already scored from their last four wickets, South Holderness still considered themselves in the game.
Riley’s second wicket, at the end of the 30th over, then made the score 83 for seven – still 26 runs required. However, with number nine, George Dean deciding to not hang around and wait for a ball with his name on it and, instead, kill all hopes of a South Holderness win with an unbeaten 22 off 13 balls, Ashley Wills hit the winning run off the final ball of the 33rd over, carrying his bat with 35 off 76 – a fine captain’s knock.
Even though Scarborough bowled out Hornsea for 89 and won by seven wickets, the two second innings bonus points South Holderness picked up ensured they remain in third place in the table by the barest of margins – they have one win more than Scarborough.
Londesborough remain top of the table after making hard work of chasing down the 120 scored by Middleton & North Dalton (now in seventh); and, on 146 points, they are now 18 points clear of Dunnington (with a game in hand) who turned in the surprise result of the day after they were bowled out for 168 at Yapham (now in sixth) and ended up losing by five wickets.
South Holderness’s next opponents, Pocklington are two points back in fifth after scraping a five-run win at Hull Zingari 2nd XI (ninth).
Realistically, it’ll be a tall order for South Holderness to overturn Dunnington in second place, even with a game in hand – not only would they probably need to win all four of their remaining games (starting with next week’s potential banana skin at Pocklington), but they’d also need Dunnington to lose at least one of their final three games.
One thing’s for certain, though: if the South Holderness players had been offered the (even outside) chance of finishing second with four games to go, they would’ve grabbed it with both hands. So, no one in the camp will be readying themselves for winter just yet.