1st XI vs Crossbank Methodists CC

East Ardsley made it six league wins from six and created a 23-point cushion between themselves and second place. Only two other first XI teams boast 100% league records across the four divisions and this means each opponent will up their game when crossing our path. In the first half on Saturday, we were up for this challenge and showed why we should be considered as genuine contenders to the Conference crown. Sadly, a poor performance in the second half also showed that complacency can’t set in and we need to take pride in our good start to the season.

Crossbank Methodists exercised their visitor’s rights and elected to bowl on a wicket that had been baked in glorious English sun all week. With tropical thunderstorms forecast, our Barbadian import, Kevon Beckles, seemed right at home. Opening up, Kevon was positive from the start and looked to dominate the Crossbank attack. Mo Bashir (52) joined up with Beckles (68) and the pair set a great 100-run foundation either side of a rain/storm/apocalypse break which changed the mindset of going about setting a winning total. In order to win the game outright, we had to declare our innings early meaning we had to score quickly. Luckily, in Haseen Bashir, we have a man in incredible form and the ability to mix sensible singles with humongous sixes! ‘Bash Bash the Run Machine’ hit a brilliant 59 not out (from 37 balls, including five fours and four maximums) and with the able support from Jake Alleston (partnership of 58) and Skipper Daniels we managed an unlikely 225 on the last ball before declaring, securing maximum batting points.

The second half got off to a great start too as we carried the momentum forward. Adam Pearson and Dave Battye claimed an opener each, both leg before and at 7-2, it was looking gloomy for the league’s bottom team. However, we seemed to take our foot off the gas at this point and allowed the visitors to settle into the game. A successful run chase never seemed likely but in order to gain maximum points we had to take nine wickets – an injured player giving us a helping hand. Some lacklustre bowling and switching off in the field allowed them to creep to 118-4 (Hurley and Ash Pearson with a wicket each) with their captain looking ready to lead the charge. With our own injuries adding to our woes, third-choice spinner, Dan McTernan was given the ball and this decision proved the turning point (pun intended). McTernan removed two batters in two balls, including the opposing captain, and soon took a third to end with 3-25. In McTernan’s sixth and final over, Ash Pearson ran out Crossbank’s number 9/part-time model and followed up the eighth wicket with his second – this time with the help of his younger brother’s safe hands to finish with 2-25. With all the necessary wickets taken, Ardsley had bagged maximum points with five overs to spare – a feat that had looked unlikely on at least three occasions.
Next week sees the visit of fourth-placed Heckmondwike and Carlinghow and with a couple of players away, there will be a big opportunity to see the depth of the first XI squad.