So it was that on the first day of Roses, I would find myself in the prime location; to my left were two score-keepers, to my right were two reporters from University Radio York, offering a rich atmosphere for me to bask in, as I rolled and unrolled my sleeves in the ever changing weather.
Lancaster won the initial coin-toss against York, but played a tactical move by deciding to bowl first, a characteristically unusual move. However, it was a worthy tactic, as it initially proved difficult for York to work their way around the challenging fast-bowlers on display from the Lancaster team. Into the first few overs, Beeman proved himself invaluable, in taking the first two wickets of the match consecutively.
However, despite the unmistakable ‘cracks’ of smashed wickets, York fought back with a vengeance, racking up a few good four’s from well-timed strikes, but lightning struck once more when Beeman and Edwards of Lancaster took their third wicket, putting them on the backfoot. Despite an initially slow start, York batsman Patel began to flaunt his skill, finding the gaps in the Lancaster fielding. However, Randall’s fast-bowling soon took out Patel’s partner Nivanka, who held a solid 33 runs. It was in the 31st over of the match that the wickets all came in thick and fast, everyone palpably excited by the game. The later swap of Sutcliffe and ‘Lancaster’ to the bowling roster added some new styles to challenge the York batsman, but no dice against Patel.
As the fifth wicket fell, Patel held strong alongside Parekh as they pushed the score to above the triple digits. For a while, it seemed they were unstoppable, until Finch, Lancaster’s opening bowler, bowled out Parekh. Golden boy Beeman came in to try and whittle down the numbers, whilst Patel flung the ball to square leg, off-leg…all the legs! Another was caught out after Parekh, and another, and another… and Patel, after an impressive showing, concludes York’s contribution with a score of 77, leaving York at 190.
Lancaster hit it off, with what can only be described as a sublime performance, that made commentating and reporting an absolute joy! The runs started to flow like wine, with Craig and Wilkinson of Lancaster working up a fantastic hundred partnership. McAdle and Horsey did a sterling job of bowling towards the eleventh innings, but the two batters were immovable! A few opportunities to catch out were missed, cementing the phrase ‘catches win matches’. Although Berryman of York shook things up a bit, nothing could stop the brilliant boundary strikes, which had the Lancaster supporters already celebrating before the first century of the match!
By the 26th over of the second innings, Lancaster were on 122 with not a stop in sight. But alas, after a blinding performance which concluded with five-fours in a row, Wilkinson was caught out for 67, a commendable score. Yet Craig stood with the new batsman Bagness, and it was clear he was aiming for his hundred, as Bagness played defensively against York’s fast-bowling. A few innings in, after dropping an easy straight-up strike, Bagness left the crease with one run to his name, some nice defensive batting on show.
But when the scorer announced Craig’s hundredth run, what a rush! Even this reporter cheered, as the crowd exploded, the exuberant Lancaster team captain celebrating with the rest of the supporters in tow as they crush Craig on the crease! They’d not even won the match yet, but on such a marvellous score, everyone from the York team even applauded, a brilliant demonstration of showmanship.
And it was thus that in a few more innings, Lancaster would sail past York’s tally of 190 runs, by eight wickets, and with fourteen overs to spare. It’s safe to say that this was no second-rate game of cricket; both sides played a good game, although in the end, Lancaster simply had a star team.