Audlem 2nd XI's second match in the Stone and District League, at home to Eccleshall, confirmed last week's initial impression, namely that the demands on the team are going to be considerably higher than in previous seasons.
Additionally it was that oldest of rhyming clichés about catches that once again showed why it is heard again and again. Eccleshall had no hesitation in batting on the customary excellent surface and their batsmen revelled in the lightning fast outfield that gave them full value for some lovely shots. Ronnie Farnell and Dion Bengry bowled accurately to contain the accomplished batsmen and were well supported by Atiq and Jamie Roberts who continued the good work to such an extent that the visitors were restricted to 93-6 after 28 overs.
Wickets fell thanks to one outstanding direct hit run out from Danny Thorburn, one brilliant slip catch from father Paul, a hattrick of catches from Atiq and an easy catch for wicket keeper North. At this point the cliché took over and Jamie Broomhall made full use of his let off to help himself to 73 runs which helped his team to a total of 187-7 that ten overs earlier had seemed out of the question.
No-one in the Audlem batting line-up was able to stick around long enough to provide the solid anchor the innings required. Even the adhesive Zar Ahmed, immediately after playing his best shot of the season, fell LBW for 14 and it was left to stand-in skipper Danny Thorburn, batting at number ten, to top-score with 20.
Eccleshall have in their ranks a goalscoring starlet from the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Academy and this talented sporting all-rounder also stars on a regular basis for Staffordshire Ladies Under 15 Cricket XI and it was with great pride that 13-year-old Jennifer Higgs took her first senior wicket.
Perhaps in years to come Paul Thorburn will be able to narrate how he was dismissed by a test cricketer. Audlem were all out for 108, gaining 6 points.
There is no fixture this week but the seconds welcome Moddershall and Oulton to the Gorse Croft on Sunday May 14th. Let's hope they only bring one team!
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