STAFFS v NORTHUMBERLAND
Report form Allan Smith - 260519
Following their one win and one defeat in their opening matches in this year’s Unicorns Twenty20 competition against Cheshire the previous week, Staffs knew that two wins against a Northumberland team that had lost all four of their matches in the competition would be a must if they were to remain in contention to reach the last four, However the worst case scenario was about the unfold as Staffs, in both of their matches, failed to capitalise on a position of strength and came away from the day with zero points and virtual exit from the competition with games against Lincolnshire and Cumberland still to play.
In the first encounter Northumberland, after having been put into bat, got away to a flier as opener Alsadair Appleby and Adam Hickey took full advantage of some wayward bowling from Staffs and raced past the 50 mark from just six overs. The partnership reached 87 before Appleby was caught & bowled by Matthew Morris for 34.
The Staffs attack slowly began to peg back the visitors run rate, although Hickey went on to reach an excellent 78 before falling to Brinder Phagura. A late flurry from Thomas Cant (28) saw the visitors close on 171-6, a target that looked eminently gettable on the fast scoring Rolleston ground. Phagura claimed 2-25 from his 4 overs and Morris 2-36.
In reply Staffs lost Peter Wilshaw for 10, but a fine partnership between skipper Kadeer Ali and Michael Hill saw Staffs reach three figures in the eleventh over and well set to reach their target. However the loss of Kadeer All for 48 and then quickly followed by Hill for 51, which came from just 39 balls and included three sixes and five fours, brought about an abject collapse from the remaining Staffs batsmen resulting in Staffs being dismissed from the penultimate ball for 162 having lost their last six wickets for 20 runs.
Second time round Staffs elected to bat first and lost Kadeer Ali and Michael Hill early before Peter Wilshaw started to despatch the visitors attack to all parts of the ground rocketing along towards what looked a certain century before he skied a ball from Appleby to enable Ollie McGee to make ground and complete a fine diving catch to see Wilshaw depart for 88 which included eight sixes. Following Wilshaw’s departure with the score on 126, the Staffs innings succumbed in similar fashion to the first game as they stuttered to a below par 160-7 from their 20 overs.
Despite the loss of Appleby early Northumberland once more got off to a fast start and reached 91 before losing Hickey for 38. Chris Peareth made 51 from 39 balls as the visitors remained ahead of the required run rate and they passed their victory target with 10 balls to spare for the loss of just three wickets to complete a well-earned double of a very disappointing Staffs side.
Staffs are next in action this Sunday when they travel to Eastnor to play Herefordshire in the second round of the 50 over One Day competition.