2's lose to determined Marple
By Joe Stanley
2XI's defence of the title gets off to a spluttering start
A mini heat wave greeted the 2nd XI as they started their defence of the Premier Division Title at Booths Park but nothing would have been hotter than the watching skipper Paul Ashley's head after witnessing his side collapse to 119 all out from the sideline. Having just got back from a holiday abroad he decided to extend his leave into the first fixture of the season allowing stand in skipper Andy Bones to take the reigns.
In the 2 fixtures between Toft and Marple last year Toft dismissed Marple for low totals and knocked it off with ease. What happened this time wasn't part of the script. Things immediately started on the wrong foot for the past 1st XI captain as he lost the toss and was asked to have a bat on a pitch that Toft has never seen before... one with grass on it. Openers Joe Gates and Scott Craig got off to a flyer with 35 runs coming from the first 4 overs. Gates was then given the finger of death from umpire John Lowe, IPL umpires may have wanted to have another look at that one and potentially rock and roll but he was sent on his way. Stanley and Craig again progressed nicely before Craig was dismissed by a great leg-side stumping. Incomes stand-in captain Andy Bones who most people would say is a 'banker' for runs. He shouldered arms second ball to the straightest ball of the century and was sent packing by Lowe. Toft then lost 2 more quick wickets to be left 69-5 having been 61-1. A rebuild was needed and Chris Drummond provided the resistance to an extent scoring 24 from 78 balls but regular wickets fell around him and when Chris hit a leg-side full toss straight into the hands of square leg Toft were left red faced having been skittled for 119 in 38 overs.
With 62 overs to chase 119 Marple had plenty of time to get the runs and used most of it. Toft showed character with Dunkerley and Gibbon bowling good opening spells (both going at only 2 runs an over), they were backed up by the flight and ferocity of Richard Scott. Max Nightingale, who was making his 2nd XI debut, also beat the bat on numerous occasions but no breakthrough came. The final throw of the dice was to give Joe Stanley a bowl, the one arm wonder bowled admirably taking the 3 wickets that fell and only conceding 17 runs in 12 tight overs. Gates was given a sympathy bowl at the death to speed the game up and put Toft out of their misery. The stags will be looking to put things right next weekend when Paul Ashley returns in the hot seat along with some other regulars.