KMCC Tears turned to Golden Shower by Kiffers heroics
KMCC emerged at the pictoresque Pateley Bridge Cricket Ground looking for some light relief in what has been a troubled and rain interrupted season. For once the weather smiled on the teams as a glorious sunny day made the conditions look perfect for cricket and in particular batting first. This team lacked the experience of Iain Fraser, barbecuing at the duck race, Rodney Pickles, chief lieutenant of the duck race, Duncan Fraser, nursing a swollen groin following antics on his birthday the previous day and Dujon, who had retired from all cricket less than 24 hours earlier. This combined experience comprising in excess of 150 years appeared to be sorely missed from the word go. Stand in skipper for the day, Richard Hooks, looked amazed to have won the toss - his plan being lose it and then do what the opposition captain told him to do. After 5 minutes head scratching trying to recall plan B ('Winning the Toss') he broke Richies golden rule and inserted Birstwith on a pitch that was described by certain parties shortly afterwards as a shirt front.
The KMCC team were left ruing the decision for the next 40 overs which was classically defined by 28 wides from the first 20 overs, a simple dropped catch and some interesting fielding positions. When Rob 'Hollywood' Smith was brought into the attack his left arm finger spin immediately broke the opening partnership which had already taken the score racing past 100 in excess of 6 an over. This was to prove to be a false dawn as Nidderdale Motors suffered several broken windows from a number of deliveries that were either over or under pitched.
Suffering from a slightly painful little toe, Skipper Hooks, had decided to don the Wicket Keeping gauntlets and avoid bowling 8 tiring overs in the heat of the Indian summer. Drastic measures were required however with the score standing at 200-1 and as such Dorothy removed the gloves and handed them to his eager compadre, Cymbals. This did nothing to stem the flow of runs as John 'wee man' Atkinson plundered his way to what must surely be a matching winning 113. His eventual downfall merely brought another run hungry batsmen to the high table of the KMCC buffet as the scoring rate increased - only the wise head of Kiffer Snr with his guileful spinners avoided the total humiliation of a score in excess of 300 being posted and an exhausted and humbled KMCC stumbled into the pavilion for tea. In bucking up the team Hollywood commented 'Its good for the soul to chase leather somedays as it makes it all the more sweet when you dole it out to someone else'. These prophetic words cut little ice in a downcast dressing room.
The Pateley Bridge tea was of the kind that would have quickly brought round Lazarus without the need for divine intervention, or possibly have ended the Grail Knights quest for the elixir of eternal youth and even before the final scotch egg had been digested a glint of hope had returned to the previously glassy eyes of the KMCC batting line up.
It was in this mood that Nattress and C H-C shuffled out to face the Birstwith onslaught. The first two overs began tamely as a couple of singles were eaked but then the innings exploded into life as the openers began to put bat to ball. Birstwiths Aussie was stroked for several quick fours and giant Schuffe was pulled and cut off the back foot to set the innings off to a racing start. Very quickly the victory swagger of the Birstwith fielders was wiped away by a combination of boundaries and the vicious sun which had previously sucked the life from the KMCC fielders only a few short minutes previously.
Man of the moment Atkinson was quickly brought into the attack and briefly it appeared as if the flow of runs would be stemmed by Birstwiths Hercules. The Kirkby openers however were not to be denied and the hundred partnership was posted in under 15 overs. It was then that the Birstwith Kraken raised its head as H-Cs(53) leg stump was removed with the score on 111 and for a few short minutes the balance of power swung back to the fielding side. However, it did not take long for Kiffer to muster his first 50 and Hollywood to start nurdling and cajoling the ball into the gaps and not for one moment did the run rate fall.
A capacity crowd at the PBCG cheered on every run as Kiffer danced down the track to gorge himself on the Birstwith bowlers and reach his hundred in quick time. Hollywood departed on 38 to an amazing caught and bowled and 77 runs were required from the final 8 overs of the game. The huge total keeping the result still in the balance to the last. Kiffer now limping along as an old groin strain reared its head refused to be denied either by the pain or the Birstwith attack and when Skipper Hooks departed 36 runs were needed from 4 overs.
Erstwile skipper Brad 'Pateley High Street' Atkinson had been press ganged out of his shorts and forced to take the field as some lusty blows were still required and he didn't disappoint. Plundering a six and several fours victory was assured in the fading light with seven balls to spare. Kiffer had made a career defining 136no the second highest score of all time for a Kirkby batsman and the first to become a centurian in a cup final. As the Kirkby players basked in the glory of the largest ever successful run chase for a Kirkby team, Rod noted that 'he had always known we were going to do it after the first 5 overs of the Kirkby reply' unlike Iain who thought that 'we didn't have a cat in Hell's chance'.
Needless to say Kiffer picked up the man of the match trophy and is the toast of all Kirkby but spare a thought for the redoubtable Wee Man who'd surely done enough to win two cup finals in normal circumstances.
The last word however goes to the aged Mrs Heard who stated that 'in all her time of watching cricket at Pateley Bridge this was the greatest game ever to grace the ancient stadium'. It will almost certainly be remembered as such in the biography of Kirkby favourite Kiffer Nattress.