Posted by Tony Hutton
Today was the Yorkshire Academy's first home game of the season at windswept Weetwood. A few weeks ago we were sitting in pleasant sunshine watching Leeds/Bradford University playing Worcestershire. Here is a picture to recall what cricket in the sun really looks like.
Today was another story, thick cloud for most of the day, but a persistent south westerly wind blowing right into the only shelter on the ground, under the pavilion, meant a difficult time for players and spectators alike. A return to John Winn's Siberian conditions he described only the other day. I must say say I am greatly relieved not to have to look after a garden any more in view of his battle with the dreaded Himalayan Balsam.
The Academy initially made slow progress against the strong York side reinforced by their county player Jack Leaning. Bilal Anjam, from Sheffield, was soon out but Ainsley and Warner put on the best partnership of the game, 94 in fact before both were dismissed by Leaning's off spin. Warner used to be thought of mainly as a quick bowler but his batting has matured and he played a very workmanlike innings today. Ainsley too has done well this season and although never spectacular he has a good technique. Warner made 60 and Ainsley 46, by far the highest scores of the day.
When they were both out skipper Jordan Thompson and youngster Nathan Snookes, after his fine innings last week, put on 55 and gradually improved the scoring rate. They were particularly good against the York spin twins Dan Woods and Tom Pringle who are usually well among the wickets. That man Leaning again dismissed them both and finished with the best figures of 4-57. The last stages of the innings were enlivened by York's Australian fast bowler Kyle Brockley somewhat loosing the plot and his temper. He could not believe young Ben Birkhead, the wicket keeper, coming down the pitch to him, then flipping him over his shoulder for four. Brockley also bowled a series of wides and the Academy players revelled in Birkhead's lively 15 from just eight balls.
The Academy's total was perhaps around a par score but with York's powerful batting line up nothing could be taken for granted. For the handful of home spectators who continued to brave the elements the best was yet to come. The prolific Duncan Snell went first caught behind, Jack Leaning followed lbw to the fast improving Matthew Taylor and then Adam McAuley from York University was caught by Thompson off Warner. The Academy captain then put himself on to bowl just for a short spell of four overs during which he dismissed Friend, McDermott and Ashdown, the last two for ducks. With figures of 3-4 he took himself off. What a turnaround with York really on the ropes at 59-7!
Brief resistance came from Charlie Elliot and Tom Pringle but then two wickets for young spinner Alec Drury and finally two from Matthew Taylor finished York off for just 100 runs. The Academy were victorious by a margin of 129 runs and back in the warmth of the pavilion after only 33 overs. Full marks to them for a great team performance against the former league top dogs for so many years. Harrogate remain top of the table after their easy victory over Woodhouse Grange but the Academy are back into contention.
Just a note about events elsewhere. A few weeks ago Kelly Smuts, a South African playing for Todmorden in the Lancashire League made the highest score ever recorded in that League of 211. Today Alex Lees, the Yorkshire player, made the highest score ever recorded in the equally ancient Bradford League with 227 not out for Lightcliffe against Bradford and Bingley. A good one for the opposition's scorer Geraldo to record!