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1st X1  v  Allscott   4th July 2009     -      John Fawcett Reports

Saturdays game brought together two teams who had struggled in recent weeks to find form. As documented Madeley have had problems in all departments over the last few weeks, where Allscotts recent scorecards show they have been ok with the bat but have struggled with the ball. 

Skipper Jamie Lloyd won the toss and inserted Allscott. Lloyds decision looked to be vindicated when he himself bowled opener Chris Starling with the first ball of the game. From that point on it appeared the only way was downward – this is one of the biggest understatements of all time. Having peaked with the first ball of the game our bowlers struggled once again for a regular line and length. Batsmen Carl Starling and Andy Withington just needed to wait for a minimum 2 bad balls an over to register boundaries. The poor bowling was not helped by the weak fielding. Withington went on to make 123 but was dropped twice, although the first of these chances was when he was on 70. Madeley thought they had Withington stumped in the 20’s with some sharp work from keeper Jonty Lloyd but their ‘5 star’ appeal proved unsuccessful. 

It maybe harsh of me to criticise all the bowlers. Andy Pugh in previous seasons has been used as a 2nd change ‘bits and pieces’ bowler but this season has been thrust into the action at far more difficult situations. Many spectators thought that Kieron Richards was very unlucky not to get more overs as he beat the bat on more than one occasion. The ‘miserly’ Chris Hodson bowled well as usual and in recent weeks has been the only consistent performer in the side.  

Ben Waters came in later down the order and hit the Madeley attack to all parts of the ground. He and Withington looked head and shoulders the best two Allscott batsmen. 

Madeley tried to remain positive at the break and reckoned that they could get close to the target. What they hadn’t envisaged was Allscott bowling only a quarter of the bad balls that Madeley sent down. Having two spinners that got turn and very indifferent bounce gave the batsmen a bit of trouble nearer the end of the innings. Many of the batsmen got starts but only one turned his attempts into a half decent score this being Andy Lloyd who made a dogged 45. The rest of the top 5 all made starts but could not capitalise on them. Madeley's innings took a disastrous turn when top allrounder Chris Hodson severely injured his back and had to retire hurt. Looking at the last few weeks Chris has took wickets and bowled economically, he will be big loss to the side and leave a gaping hole in the Madeley attack. 

Once again Madeley were left stranded short of the losing draw total. This week the batting was not a nightmare but the total the batsmen were chasing was far in excess of what it should have been. Madeley's main problems need addressing. 

1)       Lack of a strike bowler – In years gone by Madeley have had resonable pace at this level in the form of De Silva, Faux and Carvelho.

2)       Carrying people in the field – The first team have been carrying players that are not mobile enough or have technical issues with their fielding

3)       Batsmen getting starts and getting out – Batsmen need to turn 20’s and 30’s into 80’s and 90’s.

4)       Dropping Catches – Regularly put down 3 or 4 in an innings

5)       Playing spin bowling – Madeley batsmen struggle against spin  

It doesn’t get any easier for Madeley as they go to top of the league Oswestry (who have top performing spinners in Robinson, Pasha and Huxley) next week then make the trip to second placed Quatt the week after.

Editor  -  Constructive opinion from the boundary.

1)    We do lack a penetrating bowler.

2)    Generally speaking fielding is below par. Catches win matches and therefore dropped ones can lose            matches or at least be very costly. It needs to be improved.

3)    If we cannot bowl teams out we must restrict the runs they score. Far too many easy boundaries are conceded from the start. Sure there are bad balls bowled but with fielders in deeper positions maybe a lot of these can be prevented. Many balls are hit in the air over the infield. Watch 20/20  or 50 over games on tv and the maximum amount of fielders are on the boundary as soon as allowed. Additionally a lot of the time the four in the circle stay on the edge of the circle.  Also take note where the fielders are placed. It is better to prevent boundaries than singles.

4)    Bowlers who are confident bowl better. Boundaries do nothing to improve this confidence. Cut them out and their figures look a lot better, this may lead to them bowling better. It is important for younger bowlers to remain confident. Kieron bowled balls that beat the bat but any bad balls crossed the boundary. 0 - 22 off 4 overs possibly could have been 0 -14. It is likely that if you beat the bat regular then wickets will follow.