Salford edge past Sedgley
On an overcast, blustery day, Salford met Sedgley Park at Woodbank Park in Stockport for their second match of the season. After winning the toss, Salford elected to bowl on the newly laid strip that was holding a lot of moisture. Salford captain Daniel Paul opened the bowling with some accurate deliveries and, with Alex Woolfstein partnering him they set about bowling a tight line to restrict Sedgley openers Davidi Neumann and Michael Pfeffer.
Pfeffer departed first, being caught by Alex Dover, off the bowling of Daniel Paul, for six. Gidi Matlin then joined Neumann, but he departed quickly for zero, leg before wicket, again off Paul.
After the loss of two quick wickets, the experienced Elliot Koffman strode to the crease. His batting ability was never in doubt, having frequently been picked for the league's representative side, and he set about trying to restore the momentum in Sedgley's favour. Daniel Paul then removed Jeremy Korn for a duck with a fantastic return catch, and Sedgley looked in trouble with three wickets down and less than 30 runs on the board. Jonny Hart joined Koffman at the crease, but he too was removed first ball by Mo Watson for nought. After an excellently composed 16, Neumann was caught at slip by Wineberg off Watson’s bowling, leaving him with the excellent figures of two wickets for five runs from 4 overs.
With the situation seemingly hopeless, Koffman began to open his shoulders and up the tempo of Sedgley's innings. Robert Marks's first over cost 14 runs. His second contained two no-balls - both capitalized upon by Koffman, dispatching them for a six and a four. Koffman was, however, living dangerously skying several deliveries off the slow pitch and being dropped early on. Trying to attack Marks, he was stumped for 18 by keeper, Gideon Sacofsky off a full leg break delivery.
David Rosenberg came to the crease and continued Koffman's work, playing some elegant strokes on both sides of the wicket. Benjamin Pfeffer was then bowled behind his legs by Marks for a duck. Rosenberg, attempting to hit over the infield, holed out to Josh Henry off the bowling of Marks for 12, leaving Michael Pine not out on 0.
The majority of the damage was done by Paul - three wickets for 12 runs from five overs - and Marks - 3 wickets from 3 overs - although giving up 28 runs in the process, with Mo Watson chpping in with two invaluable wickets. Koffman, Neumann and Rosenberg made the runs for Sedgley. The total of 81, however, seemed well below a defendable score.
Jonny Wineberg opened the Salford innings with Daniel Paul and they faced up to the new ball from Davidi Neumann - on his day one of the most feared bowlers in the league. However, Neumann's bowling was erratic and his first over consisted of nine balls and cost nine runs – seven of them wides and byes. Salford slowly began to chip away at the runs, before Paul was caught behind off Michael Pine - Neumann's new-ball partner - for zero. Pine then accounted for Alex Dover with a ball that spat up off the pitch, caught in the covers, first ball, for a golden duck. Mo Watson joined Wineberg in the middle and the two put on a partnership that took the Salford total to 36. Sedgley were conceding extras in every over and coupled with the byes leaking through, they were taking the game out of their reach.
Watson was out lbw to Jeremy Korn, playing back to a ball that kept low, and Gideon Sacofsky came to the crease. Wineberg was out for 16 shortly after, bowled by Neumann, and Robert Marks joined Sacofsky in the middle. The two departed in quick succession - Sacofsky for 7, caught behind by David Rosenberg off the bowling of Korn, and Marks for one, bowled by a stunning delivery from Neumann that pitched on leg stump and clipped the top of off. Salford were in trouble and Neumann was showing signs of his old devastating form, finishing with the very respectable figures of three wickets for 19 from his seven overs.
Jonathan Dover came to the crease with the score on 57 but proceeded to run himself out for zero after a mix-up with partner Nathan Feddy. With seven wickets down, Rafi Dover entered the fray - the third member of the family in the Salford line-up - and with him went Salford's hopes of a victory. Having played a wonderful rear-guard last week, Dover had the team's expectations upon his shoulders.
Despite some excellent bowling, especially from the dangerous Neumann and the skiddy Pine - who finished with the exceptional figures of two wickets for 12 runs from seven overs - Dover and Feddy stayed together long enough to reduce the required target to under 15 runs with 15 overs remaining. A spate of no balls from Korn left only 3 runs needed and a final wide, bowled by Matlin, meant that Salford reached their target with over 13 overs remaining. Sedgley had bowled well to give themselves a sniff of victory, but some calamitous batting by Salford - coupled with a slow, difficult pitch - had not helped the victor's cause. Ultimately, it was the superior bowling and fielding from the young Salford side that saw them victorious.
Salford ran out winners by 3 wickets, but it could easily have gone the other way.