MIDDLETON were described as excellent hosts as they staged an over-60s Ashes match between England and Australia.
Australia slipped to 41 for three after ten overs before Phil Drescher hit 67 in 43 balls including seven fours and four sixes until he was well caught on the square-leg boundary by Keith Daniels off Ray Clarke.
Jim Smallbone bore the brunt of this onslaught, going for 41 runs off his first four overs. This was the ground where Smallbone suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago to the day and was brought back to life with CPR by Sussex wicketkeeper Micky Tindall.
After dismissing Drescher the England bowlers took charge and the next three wickets fell for 12 with Smallbone taking a superb diving catch low to his left to dismiss Greg Quinn off Brian Brogden.
An eighth-wicket partnership of 61 between Rex Bennett and James Martin took the score to 199 and the last three overs saw it move on to 217 all out. Clarke took two for 20 and Keith Martin two for 23.
England’s batsmen were soon under pressure with John Edward caught by Kevin Meikle at long off, Duncan Elder yorked first ball and Amarjit Lall out lbw for 11.
At 31 for three, Chris Swadkin and Andy Barnes set off to recover the situation and they put on 84 until Barnes was given out lbw for 18 attempting to sweep Quinn. Swadkin was out to a fine catch by Ian Petherwick at short mid-wicket for 71 including 13 fours.
It was the turn of skipper Ray Swann and Keith Daniels to seek to rebuild and all was going well until multiple mis-calling by both players, ending with a mid-pitch conference on whether there was a single or not... there wasn’t and Swann was run out for 21.
Daniels tried to recover the position and his skipper’s favours and when caught for 30 with the score on 174 and only 15 balls left the target was virtually beyond reach. England finally totalled 190 for nine – 27 runs short.
Swann named Paul Drescher the man of the match for the Australians and Colin Cooke voted Chris Swadkin as England man of the match.
Both captains thanked Middleton CC for being excellent hosts with special thanks to Peter Clark, volunteer groundsman, and his wife Sally Clark, who masterminded off-field activities and catering.
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