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1st X1  v  Much Wenlock    27th June 2009     -      John Fawcett Reports

Madeley first team minus skipper Jamie Lloyd arrived at Much Wenlock hoping to end a winless streak that stretched back for 5 weeks. In Jamie’s absence vice skipper Steve Jones stepped up to captain the side. His first involvement was positive as he won the toss and decided to bowl. 

The Madeley openers of Richards and Firmstone bowled the odd good ball but struggled to find any consistency on an undulating track that Madeley hoped would assist the side bowling first. Richards was the first to strike as he dismissed two of Much Wenlocks top 3. These were the unfortunate Middleton who watched the ball roll back onto off stump to end his innings and then May who nicked to the keeper and embarrassingly stood at the crease before being sent on his way by the umpire. This brought the much heralded Kuldeep Diwan to the crease. He and opener Bradley put on a big partnership that took the game away from Madeley. Bradley making 71 and Diwan 52. Once again the Madeley catching contrived to assist the home teams batting as Diwan was put down on 18. 

With some late hitting Much Wenlock set Madeley a target of 231. This was thought to be a good total on a track that was offering the occasional low bounce.  Shaun Rigby did well taking 3 wickets on his return to first team action including the big wicket of Diwan. Madeley did give away 30 extras which is disappointing although it must be said that the catching and ground fielding was a lot better than last week with only the one chance going down. 

Madeley had heard and read a lot about Diwan's bowling so were prepared to dig in and tough it out against the left arm round spinner. Steve Pugh and Steve Jones opened the batting for Madeley and made a good start. Jones was the first to go given out LBW while trying to sweep Diwan. This brought Fawcett to the crease. Once again Pugh and Fawcett worked runs from Diwan's bowling but were sometimes flummoxed by the big turn in both directions. Fawcett was next to go edging a Diwan quicker ball to Lewis at first slip. Having seen the professional off, Pugh continued to build his innings until he too was dismissed for 47, stumped off the bowling of May. 

As in weeks gone by Madeley were once again left in no mans land with only a couple of wickets in hand and needing a hatful of runs to reach the losing draw total. Two of the last 3 wickets were run out by good fielding and on the latter occasion poor running.

Once again the Madeley batting line up failed to produce the goods not just against the overseas professional but against the Wenlock regulars also. Another major problem in recent weeks has been the inability to take ten wickets. However, plans maybe a foot to address the bowling issue before for the visit of Allscott next week. One of the options could be the return of a former Madeley fast bowling professional of a few years back. Watch this space!

Editor  -  Opinion from the boundary.

In recent weeks it has been difficult to come away from the games with any positives. This week however it was pleasing to see Madeley batsmen looking determined when facing the spin of the Wenlock pro. Yes he was difficult to get away but his figures of 3 - 31 (the last one gained due to our search for another batting point) although good were not anywhere near as good as most of his other games where 6 for 8 and 4 for 1 were typical. Personally I didn't see that many balls beating the bat when shots were played and I think all the batsmen should be pleased in the way that they played him. I doubt that the Wenlock skipper will have to ask him to take a breather too often !!