Woodhouse Grange CC Vs York CC – Match Report
At Sandhill Lane, July 6.
York won by 71 runs. Woodhouse Grange 0pts, York 10pts.
This clash between the championship holders and the pretenders to their crown, had it gone to form, would have seen Woodhouse Grange open up a seemingly unassailable 35 point advantage and all but ended York’s hopes of retaining their title, but an extraordinary contest has opened up the race not only to these two but the three sides separating them all five now covered by just 15 points. There was little evidence of what was to come as James Billington struck three fours and a six off James Finch to advance the score on to 91-1 in the 15th over. The only wicket to fall that of Jack Leaning, one of six changes to the side which suffered a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture back in early May, he somewhat fortuitously for the hosts hit a full toss from Josh Jackson straight into the hands of Chris Wood at deep square leg. The visitors appeared to be on top of the bowling both Billington and Duncan Snell finding the boundary on a regular basis but everything changed when the York captain having reached 43 failed to clear Steve Burdett at long-on off his opposite number Finch. That dismissal set in motion a collapse which would see six wickets fall for 42 runs in just over an hour. Billington was next to depart the Australian, having come within four runs of a half-century for the second Saturday in a row, top edged a sweep on to his pads, a simple catch ballooning up to the wicket-keeper. Of the next six batsmen only Oliver Batchelor reached double figures before falling to an excellent diving catch by Chirs Suddaby at mid-on, his dismissal came as part of a devastating spell from Chris Wood, the spinner picking up wickets in four of his first five overs at a cost of just eight runs. Daniel Woods and Guy Darwin managed to stem the tide, and put in the context of what was to come, certainly broke the momentum of the match that was all going the way of the home side. The pair saw out 11 overs adding 13 more to the score, and a further 18 came from a last wicket partnership between Clarke Doughney and Darwin, the latter last out for 20 in the final over with the total on 167. Just as the visitors had the hosts began well against the new ball losing only the one wicket in the opening dozen overs, but perhaps crucially it was that of their leading run scorer Andrew Bilton caught low down at point in Jack Leaning’s first over. On an afternoon that will most likely be remembered for the exploits of the spinners Charlie Elliot’s seven over spell of seam played a crucial role as events unfolded before a disbelieving crowd following both sides. Leaning, having picked up the first had a hand in the next three wickets too, twice taking catches at slip off Elliot in between which picking up the valuable wicket of Simon Tennant. The opener had got to 18 before clipping a ball off his pads at pace straight into the hands of Billington at short leg. By the 20th over the fielding side were firmly in charge and clearly relishing their work the scoreboard read 76 for 6 and both Leaning and Elliot had three wickets. The latter gave way to Daniel Woods and the talismanic spinner, still undergoing his cancer treatment, was soon in on the action picking up the wicket of Tom Neal, the former Acomb player one of only three ‘Grange batsmen to reach double figures. Leaning picked up his fourth wicket and Woods the final two as the home side narrowly avoided their lowest ever total in the competition that was 92 against Harrogate in 2016, this time they reached 96.