Chap­man spell lifts Rochdale

Middleton Guardian - - LEISURE -

IT is a good team, so they say, that finds a way to win when not at its best.

And at Green­field on Satur­day, Rochdale could take heart from that con­cept when, de­spite be­ing sec­ond best for much of the game, they found suf­fi­cient strength and re­solve to win by 10 runs in what ended up an ex­cit­ing game at Green­field’s highly pic­turesque ground.

And they had Ben Chap­man to thank for in­spir­ing the win. A blis­ter­ing spell with the ball – he took 4 for 18- blew away Green­field’s tail just when the home team were on the cusp of vic­tory.

But on view were flawed per­for­mances – from both teams. Nor does the um­pir­ing es­cape crit­i­cism and Rochdale felt with some jus­ti­fi­ca­tion hard done to in this re­gard, with the no­tion of af­ford- ing the bats­men the ben­e­fit of the doubt be­ing ab­sent when they bat­ted, yet reap­pear­ing for Green­field’s in­nings.

How­ever, this was a hand­i­cap that to their credit, Dale over­came. And the sec­ond is­sue for their bats­men was an un­pre­dictable pitch which of­fered vari­able but mainly low bounce. These two prob­lems con­spired and soon Dale were 26 for 3, and star­ing into the abyss.

But the mid­dle or­der, now re­al­is­ing that pa­tient watch­ful­ness was the key method, be­gan to res­ur­rect the in­nings. First Henry Cooper and Michael Har­ling en­gaged in a 30 run part­ner­ship, un­fairly ended when Har­ling was given out lbw af­ter, as was unan­i­mously agreed, hav­ing hit the ball.

And al­though Cooper per­ished when a short one kept low, Oli Makin, a born win­ner if ever there was one, and Derek Faulkner el­e­vated the score to 142 for 5 at which point Faulkner edged the im­pres­sive slow left armer Brad Wool­ley to slip.

A col­lapse en­sued and Dale were 152 for 9 when 15 years old debu­tante Mo­hid Ul Haq joined Jimmy O’Neill at the wicket for a jolly last wicket stand of 41.

Most spec­ta­tors felt that Dale’s 192 would be more than enough on this pitch, but it played fewer tricks on Green­field.

And their open­ers Chris Gill and Alex Peters bat­ted very well.

They put on 85 be­fore Peters drove Dale Highton to mid off and Cooper took an ex­cel­lent low div­ing catch. Gill fell to the same bowler with the score on 100, and al­though Ar­mand Krugel fell soon af­ter, pro­fes­sional Ri­valdo Moon- samy, play­ing with en­er­getic at­tack­ing in­tent, was now block­ing Rochdale’s progress.

How­ever, and un­ac­count­ably, he reck­lessly charged Makin, missed and was stumped, and Dale had a glim­mer of hope. But Jake Cauld­well and Cal­lum Faulkner calmly re­turned Greefield to the driv­ing seat, though, and with 33 needed and overs not a prob­lem, vic­tory was theirs for the tak­ing.

But Makin struck again – twice in con­sec­u­tive balls. Now they were six down and mat­ters tight­ened.

And Chap­man en­tered the fray. He caught and bowled Wool­ley and then bowled An­drew Cadd.

Two runs later he trapped Adam Robin­son in front and for the first time in the game Dale were on top.

Joe Hep­worth, bat­ting at 11 on ac­count of dam­ag­ing a finger while field­ing, hit his first ball into the river.

He at­tempted a reprise next ball, missed and Rochdale ju­bi­lantly cel­e­brated an un­likely win.

Joel Good­man

Ben Chap­man

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