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1st X1  v  Albrighton     16th May 2009     -      John Fawcett Reports

The forecast on Saturday was not conducive to a non stop game of cricket and this is exactly how it turned out. Skipper Jamie Lloyd lost the toss and Madeley were put into bat and got off to a poor start. Opening batsmen Dan McLean edged a delivery to gully off only the second ball of the match and was back in the changing room only 3 or 4 minutes after walking to the crease. With Steve Pugh playing with an injury and unable to run properly it was not an ideal start. The next two batsmen (Firmstone and Jones) went cheaply and with Pugh retiring injured while still in single figures Madeley were precariously positioned. Thankfully a 50 partnership from ‘spin king’ Chris Hodson and John Fawcett brought the score toward some respectability. With the ball seaming around Madeley hoped for a score of over 150 to give the bowlers something to work with. After Hodson and Fawcett departed for 34 and 21 respectively Madeley's answer to Andrew Flintoff strode to the crease. Andy Pugh may be known by many other names including Grumpy, Giraffe, Neck, Terry Owen, Smiler, Doctor Evil, Richard O’Brien (Crystal Maze), Lombardo, The Snake and The Pro Slayer but he did a fantastic job and with some assistance from the tail he took Madeley to a total of 161. His 43 off 60 balls was his best Madeley innings in recent times. As Andy points out to us quite regularly his brother maybe one of the most prolific batsmen in the league but he has yet to eclipse Andy’s highest 1st team league score of 128. A return to this kind of form would be good news for the Madeley lower middle order/tail.

Short rain breaks through both innings didn’t help the fluency of the match. Rain delays ensured that Albrighton only had 47overs in which to surpass Madeley's score. Madeley got off to a great start with the ball and had Albrighton 48-5. With Albrighton's innings on a knife edge Gareth Hughes batted aggressively and took the score to 80-5 when rained stopped play. It was a disappointing end to the match as both teams would have fancied their chances of winning. Credit must go to the Albrighton opener (Paul Read) for walking when nicking the ball down leg side to keeper Jon Lloyd.  Nick Archibald appeared to nick the ball to Jon Lloyd but with the whole Madeley side going up for the appeal he survived as the umpire said not out. It mattered little as he clipped a 'knee height' full toss to Andy Pugh aka Doctor Evil at square leg shortly after**.

 When the heavy rain finally stopped after around 45 minutes Madeley skipper Jamie Lloyd and both umpires agreed the outfield and run ups were too wet to continue in time to get a result. Both teams made for the changing rooms apart from the Albrighton skipper who strode out onto the field to take photos with his camera phone with which he intends to ‘appeal to the league’ over the result. Hmmmm!

 A hotly contested encounter was predicted before Saturday’s game and that is exactly what Madeley got. Albrighton is always a tough fixture and we look forward to the re-match later in the season when surely both teams will have climbed the table.

Madeley man of the match : Andy Pugh


 Next up for Madeley is the big local Derby across the river at Broseley. With Richard Firmstone and Jon Lloyd both playing their first match back at their previous club this should be an epic encounter, against a Broseley team that has already produced some creditable performances this season.

** exact height of delivery was highly debatable