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OGCC 3rd XI V Hazel Grove (Away, Sunday 2nd May 2021) by Paul Howbrook

Hazel Grove were the welcoming hosts on a cold and cloudy Sunday (is it really May?!!) for the opening game of the 2021 season and the chance for the newly formed OGCC 3rd XI to play their first competitive game together. Both teams were made up of a good mix of junior and senior squad members and provided an entertaining game to keep the shivering spectators interested right up to the final over.

Leon won the toss and decided to have a bowl, a decision that was immediately vindicated as Tom Lane began to rip through Hazel Grove’s top order, ably supported by his opening bowling partner Ethan Lumb. Tom bowled superbly well in his opening 4 over spell taking 5 wickets for just 4 runs including 3 wickets in 4 balls in his 4th over. Even an enforced change of footwear didn’t slow him down, the sole of his right boot flapping all over the place meaning he had to continue in his trainers!! Ethan bowled well in support and was rewarded with a wicket maiden in his 3rd over.

At one point Hazel Grove were 6 wickets down for just 10 runs on the board leaving the Man United fans on the team thinking that the game would soon be over and they could be home in time for the Liverpool match, something that neither ended up happening!!

Next into the bowling attack was Tom Rigby who kept things tight and Seth Hall who took a wicket with his first delivery to the delight of his watching dad. Conor Keem bowled a good spell taking out the dangerous Wilson who had added 38 to their total before Mike Wilde rolled back the years and took 2 wickets including having their top scorer (Hodson 51) caught behind by Connor Johnson.

Although there were a few dropped catches (cold hands and the constant application of slippery hand gel can take the blame for that!!), the fielding was decent, there was plenty of encouragement for the bowlers and the troops were well marshalled by Leon. Hazel Grove rallied somewhat after their poor start to post a score of 152 all out.

After the interval and the much appreciated supply of cupcakes from the hosts, OG began their reply with openers Keem and George White making a good start before Conor departed for 17. George batted superbly well, really holding the innings together. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much support aside from Tom Rigby who did a good job coming in at number 9, scoring a valuable 17 runs to take things down to the wire. Seth came in at number 11 and held his end up well to take the game into the final over with OG needing 5 to win.

With Seth facing and George desperate to get on strike, he went for a run that he realised straight away wasn’t on and was unfortunately run out by their keeper. It was a real shame to end that way because he had batted brilliantly for his 71 runs and it was credit to him that we got so close to winning.OG ended up on 148 all out, falling just short.

It was a good game played in the right spirit by both teams and we wish Hazel Grove well for the rest of the season. Big thanks to Ellis and Conor for stepping in to make the numbers up, the travelling support and to Steve for scoring.

Although there are things that we know we need to work on, the batting in particular, there were plenty of positives to take out of the game and we can look forward to Birch Vale away next week with plenty of optimism.

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