York CC Vs Woodhouse Grange CC – Match Report

Tom Forsdike was the hero of York’s latest nerve-shredding victory, the spinner picking up three wickets in the final over including two in two balls to close out the match and secure a five-run win against Woodhouse Grange.

 Duncan Snell’s side held the envious record of having never lost away in the league to ‘Grange, but this match offered a slightly different challenge to usual with outfield replacement work at Sandhill Lane ongoing the game took place at Osbaldwick Cricket Club. Christopher Bilton has taken over the captaincy from the absent James Finch this season and his first decision of the day was to ask the visitors to bat. Fresh from their 53-run stand against Stamford Bridge the week before openers Duncan Snell and Finlay Bean made a positive start and had put on 87 before Snell was bowled by Josh Jackson having again made a start reaching 38. Bean whose previous best for the side was 48 against Sessay in 2018 reached his maiden half-century off 64 balls and included a six among seven boundaries, unfortunately he was unable to capitalise on the hard work already done when trapped lbw by Stephen Burdett with 15 overs of the innings remaining. The score at that stage was 132 and after Harry Adair departed caught off Jackson for a run-a-ball 37 Nick James and Alex Liley shared perhaps the most telling partnership of the innings. The pair added 70 in ten overs and although he lost James with a couple of overs to go Liley continued to prosper going on to complete his second half-century of the season this one coming off 44 balls. Crucial to the final reckoning however were the 21 runs he and Guy Darwin were able to accumulate from the final two overs of the innings as York closed on 239-4 from their 40 overs.

 The task for the fielding side was hampered when Jonathan Moxon had to withdraw from the attack having bowled four overs for just ten runs, and the move almost certainly took some of the early pressure off the Woodhouse’ openers. The departure of Andrew Bilton to neighbours Dunnington has been offset somewhat by the recruitment of Harry Gamble, Beverley Town’s leading premier league run scorer in 2019, and the new arrival made 25 before sending a catch to Duncan Snell at mid-off with the total on 72 at the start of the 14th over, fellow opener Tom Young having earlier departed caught at point by Harry Adair off Guy Darwin. Christopher Bilton is among the all-time leading run scorers in Yorkshire League North and was able to take advantage of a wicket pitched off centre demonstrating the full array of stroke play that has brought him nearly 3000 runs at this level. He brought up his fifty off 44 balls and when Henry Wilson matched the efforts of his captain albeit at a slightly slower rate of scoring the pair were in the mist of a partnership which looked to be taking control of the game. It needed a good ball from Clarke Doughney to alter the course of proceedings and he found it to bowl Wilson, and four overs later the youngster picked up the crucial wicket of Bilton, this time courtesy of an excellent catch to a diving Nick James at extra cover.  That wicket came in the final over of the spinners spell and at a critical point in proceedings with a further 44 runs required from 36 balls. In the very next over Guy Darwin had Christopher Suddaby caught at wide mid-off by Alex Liley and in the space of a dozen balls ‘Grange lost three wickets when Stephen Burdett picked out Darwin fielding at long on to give Tom Forsdike his first wicket of the afternoon. Tight overs from Forsdike and Darwin increased the pressure on the batting side and tilted the equation in the visitors’ favour leaving 23 required from the final two overs. A six from Declan Eastwood off Snell in the penultimate over breathed new life into the contest and gave the home side renewed hope only for it to be tempered when Tom Neal was caught by Adair with five balls of the match remaining. A slip in the field gave Eastwood a much-needed boundary but then attempting to find what would have been a match winning maximum he was caught by Guy Darwin at long-on. It brought an end to an enterprising innings of 26 off just 17 balls but left Alfie Oliver to face the last ball knowing only a six would do. Thankfully for York his swing failed to connect and having strayed from his crease presented Tom Brooks with a stumping opportunity which the ‘keeper gleefully accepted. The chaos of the final over left Forsdike with back-to- back four wicket hauls, the fourth spinner to do so for the club in the Premier League North era.