Brittle batting led to late loss for Chorley

First published in Chorley CC

At 6.30pm on a sunny evening in Shropshire, Chorley’s big travelling support were in party mood.

Their side had bowled and fielded well to restrict the home side to 168 on a flat pitch, and the top order had constructed the perfect platform for victory.

Chorley needed just 24 runs from just under eight overs, and with nine wickets in the bank, securing a lucrative Kingfisher Cup national knockout home quarter-final against the West Indian Cavaliers looked a certainty.

But just half an hour later, the visitors trudged from the field, after somehow blowing their victory chance, and their supporters stood in stunned silence.

Chorley’s batting has been notoriously brittle in recent years, but the events of those last few overs took things to another level as they crumbled to defeat.

After Andy Griffiths’ superb controlled aggression had set them on the way, David Fisher and Ian Dickinson continued the good work, though in a slower, more painstaking fashion.

However, with overs and wickets in the bank, the tactics appeared spot on as the pair edged the Lancashire side onwards.

When Dickinson was trapped by Shrewsbury’s naggingly accurate spinner Henry Blofield, the home side’s low key celebration told them they felt it was mere consolation.

But the dismissal sparked a spectacular collapse as rash shots, suicidal running, and some deadly accurate bowling and brilliant fielding by the homeside, contributed to an agonising meltdown.

The run chase stalled so completely that by the time the last over began, 11 were still needed and the victory hopes had already been pretty much crushed.

Skipper Andy Holdsworth needed two boundaries from the last two balls, but could only manage three runs, and that was that.

There was a look of utter devastation on Chorley’s faces at that point, and what made the defeat all the harder to take was the fact that they had been on top for most of a steamy hot afternoon.

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