Cricket Willow UK Scholarship winner Jonty Wall has provided his first update with Houghton Main CC.
Everything is going well over here so far. I have been very lucky with the weather with not having it rain once so far, but am still looking forward to it getting a bit warmer in the next few weeks. On the cricket front we have played 3 league games and unfortunately lost them all which has been disappointing. The three sides that have beaten Houghton Main are expected to all be pushing for promotion. In the last 2 games we have lost we have been in a winning position until we have had a middle order collapse so hopefully we can get the batting right and get a few wins on the board. The day after I arrived in England we played a practise game against Castleford CC which is Yorkshire and England international player Tim Bresnan’s home club. That was another loss but we had a lot of young and second team players in that day. Our first league game of the season was an away game against Wath CC. It was a cold day with a top of 8 degrees but we got in a full match to begin the season. We were sent into bat and battled our way to 122 all out off 43 overs. In reply Wath chased down our mediocre total 1 down and in 23 overs. On a personal note I was given the new ball and beat the bat a few times but ended up with disappointing figures of 0/35 from my 6 overs. I found it very difficult to find the right length and was consistently bowling way to full making it very easy for batsman. Another away game this time against local rivals Darfield CC once again we lost the toss and this time were asked to bowl first. Once again finding early wickets was hard even though we were beating the bat regularly. It took until our spinner came onto bowl for the pitch to start playing tricks and we got 2 cheap wickets there. Josh Abson from Darfield continued to bat and eventually made a chanceless and unbeaten 106. I ended up with 0/60 off 14 overs. We may not have taken many wickets but kept them to 213 so we all thought we are in for a good chance of chasing it down. Our turn to bat came and we were 50 without loss and then they introduced spin and we went onto be bowled out for 151 in 45 overs. Darfield’s two spinners combined to take 7 wickets. Finally our first home game was last weekend against Elsecar CC and we lost the toss and were bowling first. Once again it was hard work finding early wickets for us even though we were beating the bat. It took until after the drinks break for us to get out first wicket and from then on there was constant wickets even though all the opposition players got starts. With the ball I ended the day with 1/41 off 10 overs, by far my best performance to date. It has taken a couple of games but feel as if I have found the right length and way to bowl and go about my cricket over here. Elsecar ended up with a good score of 243. With the bat we were cruising at 3/115 but once again out top 4 batsman got starts but couldn’t go on. We ended up 9/193 with me (6 not out) and Michael Bates (8 not out) surviving the final few overs so we at least took away 1 point from the game. Lesroy Weeks a former West Indian international player was the main destroyer ending with 4/42 The people at the cricket club and local community have been very welcoming and friendly which has made it a very easy to feel at home here. I am living with Phil Connor which has been real good, he spends a lot of time away from home so I’m pretty much living on my own. I have been to Leeds and Sheffield which are about half an hour away. On Friday I was taken up north to Scarborough which is the closest beach to here and it was beautiful but way too cold to go swimming. Jonty Wall