Nick Sumpton’s From the Boundary: Weather’s a constant hindrance

England's Ian Bell hits out
England's Ian Bell hits out

It seems to be a recurring theme to the start of my column, but the rain once again played havoc with the fixture list, with only two of the five scheduled games taking place for Scarborough teams.

I seem to have opened with a phrase along these lines more times than the umbrella has been up and down.

That said, Andrew Simpson’s side got back to winning ways after beating Appleby Frodingham at North Marine Road on Saturday. It was a low-scoring affair in tricky batting conditions, but Simpson (40) combined with Darren Harland (38) to push the hosts to 144.

It proved to be 66 runs too many as Appleby Frodingham collapsed to 78 all out, thanks to some superb bowling from Ashley Lyth. His economical spell of 16 overs for just 16 runs included five wickets as Lyth showed his worth with the ball this weekend.

He was backed up by Simpson, who added to his 40 with three wickets, to cap a great bowling performance and wrap up the full eight points. It will be a welcome relief for Simpson and his players who have been on the back of a few defeats recently. Hopefully this will kick start the season for the 1st XI and they will be able to put together a positive sequence of results.

Although the 3rd XI didn’t play on Saturday, they did get some action on Sunday down at North Marine Road. Martin North’s side have also been victim to the weather, as has everyone, but they got their second win under their belts against Seamer.

Chris Hunter put in a solid performance as always taking six wickets as Scarborough bowled first. Youngsters Jason Leppington and Matthew Southwell also chipped in with two wickets apiece.

Sam Hills finished 40 not out, and Alex Renwick, playing his first game of the season, made an unbeaten 70 which meant North’s side cruised home by eight wickets.

It was very pleasing to see Sam Hills in the runs for the 3rd XI. He has been playing 2nd team cricket but had been struggling at the top of the order, so was asked to join up with the 3rd XI and get some runs under his belt. With people returning from university and a big squad for the 2nds to pick from, it’s vital that the batsmen have runs under their belt. It will be the ones with the runs to their name who have the best case to push for a place in the 2nds. Likewise for the 2nd XI lads trying to get into the 1st XI.

Another man in the runs this week was Ian Bell, he was the replacement for Kevin Pietersen at the top of the England order and he filled the gap with aplomb. His 126 was a pleasure to watch, it combined proper strokeplay with the invention and power required for a one-day innings and took on the opening slot like he’s done it all his career.

It comes as no coincidence that England’s good form in the ODI arena has been down to someone, be it Pietersen, Cook or Bell making a hundred at the top of the order. Whether you are chasing or setting a total, you need someone at the top of the order to get a big score.

In the modern game, they always come at a decent rate too, Pietersen was renowned as an attacking batsman and although Cook and Bell aren’t regarded in the same ilk, they are aided by the fact there are more overs of powerplay cricket, two new balls which means the ball is hard throughout and batsmen have been more accustomed to whacking the ball out of the park thanks to t20 cricket.

If one of the top three continue to make big runs at the top of the order there is no reason why England can’t put together a solid set of ODI performances.

It’s the number four position that is well and truly up for grabs for me. Ravi Bopara has had more lives than the proverbial cat. It used to be argued that Bopara had an advantage over his counterparts because he is a good player of spin, and the World Cup was being played on the sub-continent. You can’t lodge that in Bopara’s favour any more.

He seems to get chance after chance, and despite scoring runs at county level, he hasn’t transferred that onto the international stage. He averages a shade under 30 and has a high score of 96 in 73 ODI matches. Having played that many games for England you’d have expected he’d have made a ton by now.

I feel there are more exciting, younger prospects who will be the future of the English ODI side, who can filter into this relatively experienced England side. Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow has forced his way into the Test catch team, but has fallen out of the ODI side. Jos Buttler has played in the t20 matches and has made runs for the England Lions, and I expressed my good feeling towards England Lions’ captain James Taylor in this column before. Don’t write off Alex Hales yet either, I haven’t seen too much of him but England rate him highly.

Yorkshire have started their t20 campaign well, they went down in their first game to Durham Dynamos who are always a decent limited overs side, but bounced back with wins against Derbyshire Falcons and Leicestershire Foxes. I said last week they’d have a good chance on paper, and they have started well this week.

This Sunday they take on a real test against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at North Marine Road. The Outlaws are packed with exciting talents that have represented England; Taylor and Hales that I’ve just mentioned, former Yorkie and t20 World Cup winner Michael Lumb, Samit Patel and Chris Read, add to that Aussie Adam Voges, and it should be a fantastic game at North Marine Road on Sunday.

This weekend (weather permitting) sees the 1st XI travel to Hull on Saturday in the Solly Sports Yorkshire League before visiting Harrogate in the Yorkshire League Cup on Sunday.

It’s a competition that we were runners-up in last year and will want to go one better this time around.

The 2nd XI are at home, but will play at Scarborough College due to the t20 game at North Marine Road on Sunday.

They face Sessay who are 11 points ahead of Bob Carver’s side, so a win is vital in a league which is tightly packed.

Martin North’s 3rd XI are due to play against Hospitals but with McCain Sports Ground being deemed unfit for cricket, an alternative venue will have to be found for that game before it’s given the go-ahead.