Lichfield Nomads made it three wins from four outings this season as they ran out victorious in their annual friendly fixture at Woore.
Previous encounters between the two have tended to be one-sided affairs, but this year they were more evenly matched with only Lichfield’s acceleration in the second half of the innings proving to be the difference.
Gardner and Stanley opened up for the Nomads, the latter being particularly tentative until he had got off the mark, after which he began to apply more force to his shots.
But with the score on 18 in the seventh over, Stanley drove one straight to a fielder who took a good catch low down.
McCumisky at three looked as if knew what he was doing but offered an opportunity before he had the chance to get going. Weir soon followed to send Bourne to the crease on the back of two golden ducks already this season. He almost gathered an unwanted hat-trick after an outside edge that fell just short of slip before bouncing away for the Lichfield man to sprint in his first run of the year.
A good sweep for two added to Bourne’s tally but he succumbed to an unplayable first ball from Ujid which cut back off the pitch to take the top of off stump as the Nomads man dangled his bat where a straighter ball might have been.
At 37-4 the visitors needed to apply some control. This came in the form of Brannigan who was prepared to dot out his first ten balls and had only reached three after 20 deliveries. However, both he and Gardner began to apply themselves to the task as 55 came up after the first 20 overs.
The pair at the crease both had lucky escapes, before Brannigan finally fell for a well-paced 25 courtesy of a fine catch by Ujid.
The arrival of Pickering prompted a change in the field who were clearly keen to keep up the pressure. With almost the entire home side around the bat, the Lichfield man’s soft hands thwarted them and a deft flick for two followed by a swept four.
But a controversial LBW ended Pickering’s attempts to build a total.
Heslington had hardly reached the crease before a big shout for a second lbw was ringing around the ground. Having survived the appeal, Heslington helped push the total on, only disappearing shortly after Gardner was dismissed for a fine 64.
Hoddy hardly bothered the scorers, bringing Forster to join Hughes for the last eight balls. Faced with the previously frugal Quinton, Forster managed to strike the only six of the match to the short boundary as the final duo added 16 before Hughes heaved at, but missed, the final ball of the innings.
After tea Nomads took to the field, with wicketkeeper McCumisky taking some excellent leg side balls and standing up to Brannigan, leaving Gardner to prowl in the covers as the visiting side attempted to defend their total of 165.
Brannigan enticed Parkes to loop one to Hoddy that somehow slipped through the captain’s hands.
Neither of the openers looked particularly comfortable at times, but accumulated runs slowly. Forster finally got a straight one through Parkes, as Beard joined Zar, but it wasn’t until just before the drinks break that a second Woore wicket was taken, with Hoddy finally trapping Zar in front of the wicket.
At this stage the hosts were slightly ahead, having scored four more runs than Nomads for the loss of two fewer wickets. But Hughes was bowling well and although Hoddy was going for a few too many, he began to pick up wickets.
Unlike Lichfield, the Woore batsmen failed to accelerate soon enough and although Irvine’s departure gave some urgency, the dismissals of MacIntyre and Mellard came as they attempted to push the pace.
Hughes returned for his last two overs and caused some concerns amongst the Nomads side as he bowled consecutive wide, wide, no ball. But Heslington was providing the consistency Lichfield needed and finally got his reward when he pinned Millard before taking a catch from his own bowling to claim the wicket of Charlton.
It was left to Brannigan to clean up with renewed pace as he finally removed Beard to a good return catch – for a well fought half century – and bowled Quinton as Woore could only muster 137 runs.
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