Ifield 132 all out
St James 124 all out
Ifield came out on top by just eight runs in a thrilling encounter away to St James’ with Dinesh Salunkhe the hero with six wickets.
Skipper Jack Groves lost the toss and Ifield were asked to bat first on a pitch that was damp after a week of rain and it was clear from the start that batting was going to be anything but straight forward.
Tom Wragg was dismissed with just seven on the board but fellow opener Joe Cooke and Ed Sykes weathered the opening seam attack and took the score to 37 before Cooke went LBW for a solid 21.
Scoring definitely wasn’t easy in the conditions and when the important wickets of Mike Norris and Jack Groves fell either side of Sykes’ dismissal Ifield found themselves in real bother at 59-5.
Sam Dorrington has found some good form this season batting at six and he was again batting well until taking a rather unnecessary risk with a quick single and an excellent direct hit from St James’s De Lacy sent him back to the pavilion for 32.
At 97-8 Ifield were in trouble of not even making three figures but Daniel Groves came to the rescue with what proved in the overall context of the match to be a crucial knock of 25 including one huge six straight out of the ground that took the final innings score to 132 and at least gave Ifield something to bowl at.
Ifield opened their bowling with spin from one end and seam the other knowing that they needed to get among the wickets early on if they were to have a chance of winning the game and the gamble paid off as early as the third over when two Ifield fielders and the foot of keeper Groves combined to run out opener De Lacy.
Further wickets quickly fell with two for Salunkhe and one for Daniel Groves and at 23-4 the home side were up against it.
Some aggressive hitting from Hector Loughton swung the game back to St James’ but when he was smartly stumped by Groves for 31 off Salunkhe, Ifield were back in it with the score on 56-5.
The dangerous Adam Davies was going to be a key wicket and he along with Jack Foreman put together what proved to be the highest partnership of the match of 43 taking the score to 99 before Salunkhe induced a false shot from Davies and he skied one which was expertly taken in the deep by Jigar Parekh.
The wicket of Foreman quickly followed when Parekh took another good catch this time off Sykes but St James’s skipper Michael Murray was now at the wicket and being well known for his patient approach it was probably going to be a case of taking the remaining wickets at the other end.
And so it proved with the spin of Salunkhe and Parekh cleaning up the tail in a tense finish.
Sualunkhe finished with terrific figures of 6-36 and St James’ finished eight runs short in a great game of cricket sparking celebrations amongst the Ifield players and they will now look forward with renewed confidence to hosting Ansty next week at Ifield Green.
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