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More cup success for the U15s

More cup success for the U15s

Adam Wearing7 Jun - 07:22
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The U15s book their slot in the quarter finals of the Grove Hill trophy with convincing win

The soubriquet ‘Modernians’ might conjure images of the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright or the sculptures of Henry Moore in the mind’s eye. If this was the expectation of the North Leeds U15s as they crunched into the Mods car park last Tuesday evening alas, they were to be disappointed (although I have to admit I failed to explore every corner of the cavernous club house, there may well have been a clutch of Mondrians or a brace of late Picassos tucked in some nook amidst the framed rugby jerseys and sepia team groups). The ground does however boast views across the hills to Bramhope and Ilkley and only the most one-eyed Lancastrian could fail to marvel at Yorkshire’s pastoral majesty.

The sun was shining, the wind blowing, some men were walloping a goal post with a hammer, the scene was set. The Modernians had a bye in the first round, unlike our heroes whose sinews had been stiffened in the cold and wet at Calverley just a fortnight before. Harry once again graciously let the opposition win the toss and the Modernians decided they would like the first swing of the willow.

North Leeds took to the field in their usual all white strip, their opponents in the sartorially unusual white shirts and black trousers - the 1980s Luton Town of the AWJCL. Viv muscled in for the first over and, low and behold, the Mods number two gloved the last ball of the over to the safety of Max’s gloves. 3-1 after one over. The unfortunate batter stood aghast, too dumbstruck to walk, and waited for the umpire’s digit to erect.

Not to be outdone at the other end, Alfie rearranged the number three’s furniture before he’d troubled the scorers. 'That were wasted on thee' Alfie would have said, if he was Fred Trueman, and it was the 1970s. 8-2 from two and the Homestead heroes were on top.

There followed a few cagey overs with the remaining Mods opener relieving some pressure by cracking a few boundaries. The openers finished their spell with Mods pegged back at 21-2 from the first six. All 21 had been scored by the number 2 batter who was getting into his stride.

Young Harry spotted that danger and brought himself into the fray. It took him just three balls to send the Mods Colossus back to the hutch to the wild celebrations of his colleagues. A slider, a new variation for the promising youngster, did for his opponents middle stick. Mods were 22-3 and in some bother. Max joined him at the other end and the new Mods batters scampered for a few in the next couple of overs in an attempt to rebuild. The rebuilding went the way of HS2 in over 10 as Max forced his hapless opponent into playing on from a thick inside edge. At half way the disciples of Modernity were 35-4.

Harry and Max finished their spells but there was zero respite for the Cookridge outfit as Dan and Andrew swaggered into the fray to continue the battery. It took Dan until his second over to trap the Modsman in front - a big shout went up - it was missing leg, it was missing off, but it was hitting middle about half way up! Five down in the fifteenth.

Andrew and Dan took their, metaphorical, sweaters after two tight overs each with Arthur and Charlie champing at the bit to get stuck into the tail. Charlie bamboozled his hapless opponent by following a looping beamer with a short pitched seamer which the batter obligingly tapped into the safe hands of Harry at mid-on. 65-6 with barely 20 balls left. Arthur got in on the act in the next over reducing Mods to 74-7. The Mods number 5 had blessed them with a very handy 33, including a maximum towards the adjacent rugby pitch.

Seven wickets shared by seven different bowlers, only Andrew so far had not chipped in. He had one final opportunity to join the wickets club; six balls, three Modernian wickets remaining. First ball, a scrambled leg-bye. Second ball - BOWLED HIM. 77-8. Two dot balls followed before Andrew took a neat catch from his own bowling - 77-9 and the number 11 was obliged to come in and face the last ball. Running come what may, the final man was run out on the last ball. 77 all out, 78 the target, eight different wicket-takers showing the depth of the attack.

A note that, whilst the outfield was soggy and not particularly conducive to tracer-like boundaries along the ground, the North Leodesians fielded very well. The last boundary Mods hit was the second ball of the thirteenth over. We also saw what would have been a tremendous diving catch from Dan had it not have popped out at the very last second.

78 certainly seemed achievable but these NLCCers had been foiled before by a low total - the wounds of 44 all out the previous week were still raw. Plus the damp weather had left a pitch that was mostly keeping low but left the odd ball rearing up. This would be no walk in the park.

The Mods boys were a chatty lot with references to dalmatians, leaves, trees, Wales and duck dinners in abundance. No matter to Harry and Viv, our fearless openers, who saw off the first four overs with no alarms: 19-0 from four, it might all be over very quickly, much to the delight of the shivering umpires.

Then, disaster, Harry bowled out for a tidy 11 from 13 balls. Alfie jogged out to join Viv who biffed a boundary to reach 24-1 with a quarter of the innings complete. Then disaster number two; Alfie dismissed for just a single; 24-2 and memories of the Otley nadir flooding back. Max strode out in a long sleeved Wetherby Tavs top, more a product of laundry congestion than a deliberate fashion choice. He calmly cut his first ball for four and it seemed all would be right with the world.

The Mods leader had other ideas, he bustled in reminiscent of a young Darren Gough and bowled Max with a straight one that kept low. 29-3, the Mods boys jubilant. Dan to the rescue, swinging his bat as he walked to the crease around like a prime IT Botham. Viv and Dan steadied the ship, pulling a couple of boundaries in the next couple of overs to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Then, disaster number four; Dan given out LBW after a cautious five from ten. He didn’t look happy but he had to go; no DRS available on the night, they struggled even to power the scoreboard. 48-4, still 30 required, Mods couldn’t pull it off could they?

No, they couldn’t. With ten overs still to go Arthur and Viv decided to play it sensibly, there was oodles of time, if they could just stay in they could probably win it in byes. They ticked along until Arthur whumped a boundary on the last ball of the thirteenth. This, plus an incredibly chatty wicket-keeper, spurred Viv to push the game to its conclusion. He hit a four from the first ball of the fourteenth and then a gargantuan six over the top of the club house. Just six more to win, Mods knew the jig was up. In the next over Viv punched a four to finish on an unbeaten 32. Added to his 51 not out in the first round his average of infinity must make him joint top of the Cup batting leaderboard (although as I’m sure you arithmetic fans would tell me, Arthur’s six not out also makes him joint top).

For all their chatter, the Modernians were gracious losers and good hosts, we wish them well for the rest of the season.

The win takes North Leeds through to the quarter-finals where it appears, although the Byzantine cup website needs a cryptology degree to decipher, they will play the canalsiders Rodley CC.

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