Innings of: Spencer
Rain had the final say to disrupt and finally end what appeared to be a finely poised top of the table tussle between old Town League stalwarts St Michael's and Spencer.
With the rain gods having done their worst over the preceding week, the pitch at Stoke Bruerne was unsurprisingly damp, but surprisingly playable. With heavy intermittent showers forecast, wily St Michael's skipper Will Kingston chose to field first after winning the toss, reckoning that bowling points would be easier to attain than batting points should the rain intervene.
A typically tight opening spell by the St Michael's opening bowlers left the Spencer top order in tatters. Martin Baker stuck first, tempting Rathbone into a lofted drive, but only to Danny York at cover who took the catch, leaping like a salmon to pluck the ball out of the air. And the trick was repeated soon after as Rawsthorne mis-timed a drive off Baker, the balling looping to York who took a fine low catch.
Following a recovery of sorts, veteran Malc Swann removed the remaining opener Rathbone with a full toss LBW. Baker then removed the dangerous Muscutt, trapping the veteran on the back foot with another LBW.
At 31-4, Spencer were reeling. However Law and Clare attempted to restore order against the change bowlers of Tom Marlow and Ian Geddes, and were helped in their quest by some rather profligate (look it up if you don't know what it means) St Michael's fielding, with no fewer than 6 catches put down. The score had progressed to 68 when Law edged one off Geddes to the safe paws of keeper Brian Ahearn. Then Marlow the struck twice in 2 balls, first removing the dangerous Clare for 20, and then bowling the hapless Tootell for a golden duck.
The Spencer tail tried to rally, taking on a series of dangerous quick singles to boost the run rate, until Will Kingston ran out Morgan with a direct hit from mid on. The last two wickets came in quick succession as first Crabtree was bowled by an Ian Gedes grubber, and as the heavens started to open, Bishop was run out taking on a risky second to Dale Harrison in the deep. The throw was accurate, Ahearn took the ball and the Spencer batter was well out of his ground.
The players then ran from the pitch never to return as the heavens opened, leaving large areas of the square and outfield under water.
St Michael's will be the happier of the 2 sides, having picked up 5 bonus points to Spencer's none. The return match, and potential title decider, will be on 7 July at Kislingbury. In the mean time, St Michael's can look forward to the magic of the cup as they entertain Premier Division Horton House in the Sportsframe 20/20 Cup this Tuesday, also at Kislingbury.