Simon Mugava justifies captain’s decision to power Meakins to NSSCL Premier win


Meakins secured their first NSSCL Premier Division victory of the season… thanks to a late batting call by stand-in skipper Pete Wilshaw.

Wilshaw, taking the reins due to the unavailability of skipper James Menzies, opted to push all-rounder Simon Mugava up to open his side’s run chase at the Old County Ground on Saturday.

Meakins, who had started the season with defeats to Whitmore and Bagnall Norton before seeing their game against Longton washed out, were set 165 to win from a rain-reduced 21 overs per side contest.

And Mugava – Menzies’ replacement in the side – justified Wilshaw’s decision with a rapid half-century.

He was eventually dismissed for 62, which came off 42 balls and contained four fours and five sixes.

Mugava put on 105 for the first wicket with regular opener Ben McGuire (40) to break the back of the target.

“I hadn’t really thought about opening with Simon,” admitted Wilshaw.

“But how the match was played and the situation panned out, I wanted to save myself and Hilly (Michael Hill) for later in the innings.



Porthill Park's Ben Cotton is bowled by Meakins left-arm spinner Paul Byrne in Saturday's NSSCL Premier Division match.
Porthill Park’s Ben Cotton is bowled by Meakins left-arm spinner Paul Byrne in Saturday’s NSSCL Premier Division match.

“It was the same with Sam Moores and Hamaiz Mahmood as well.

“Simon and Ben had only managed five runs off the first two overs, but by the end of the fifth we were 45-0.

“They both batted really sensibly and targeted the short boundary to get us off to a good start.”

There was a slight wobble in the Meakins ranks, though, as they were reduced to 125-5 before a rain break allowed them to reassess.

They were left needing 40 off 5.2 overs when play resumed – and Wilshaw admitted that the delay helped their cause.

When the action recommenced, Meakins wrapped up the win as Jack Hammond’s 29 not out saw them past the post with two balls to spare.



Porthill Park's Louis Allison clears the boundary in Saturday's NSSCL Premier Division match against Meakins.
Porthill Park’s Louis Allison clears the boundary in Saturday’s NSSCL Premier Division match against Meakins.

“We had a bit of a gameplan and the rain break allowed us the chance to chat through how we were going to tackle it,” added Wilshaw.

“We knew the equation and special mention has to be made of the partnership between Sam Moores and Jack Hammond.

“They both played proper cricket shots and didn’t try to do anything stupid.

“In the end, we probably could have won it a little bit easier than we did.”

Wilshaw had no hesitation in opting to field after winning the toss following a long delay to proceedings.

Porthill Park made a flying start to their innings, though, as Ryan Hassett sent the ball flying to all parts of the Wolstanton venue.



Meakins spinner Paul Byrne celebrates one of his two Porthill Park wickets.
Meakins spinner Paul Byrne celebrates one of his two Porthill Park wickets.

He hit six fours and three sixes in his 55 before becoming one of Mugava’s two victims.

However, his lead was followed by Louis Allison and Matthew Coxon, who contributed 45 not out and 42 respectively to the Porthill Park cause as they finished on 164-4.

“The toss was important and they started off well, but we had a little period where we dragged it back and although we only picked up a couple of wickets in that time, the runs dried up a bit,” explained Wilshaw.

“There was a little spell when Simon, Matt Redican and myself bowled that we squeezed them, and then Byrney (Paul Byrne) came on at the end and showed his quality.”

Byrne also finished with a couple of wickets before the baton was passed over to the Meakins batsmen to go about their business.



Meakins all-rounder Simon Mugava and Porthill Park wicketkeeper Josh Lowndes attempt to deal with an awkward delivery.
Meakins all-rounder Simon Mugava and Porthill Park wicketkeeper Josh Lowndes attempt to deal with an awkward delivery.

Wilshaw was delighted to see Meakins get off the mark – but reserved praise for Porthill Park and their skipper John Hancock.

“Porthill Park’s season has kind of mirrored ours. In the first week we both got beaten by pros and then were disappointed in the second week,” said Wilshaw.

“It’s fantastic to get that first win and the short game allowed both sets of batsmen to play with freedom.

“Credit has to go to John, the umpires and Porthill groundstaff, though.

“Everyone worked so hard to make sure that we managed to get a game on. Myself and John were on the same page when it came to wanting to play a game which wasn’t going to be delayed.

“And it turned out to be a proper game of cricket.”

Champions Porthill Park have now lost all three of their completed matches following defeats by Moddershall & Oulton and Cheadle.



Meakins' Ben McGuire compiled a key opening partnership with Simon Mugava in the win against Porthill Park.
Meakins’ Ben McGuire compiled a key opening partnership with Simon Mugava in the win against Porthill Park.

Hancock says he felt that his side were close to breaking their duck for the campaign.

“It was a cracking game and went to the last over like the matches between the two teams often have,” he said.

“We batted better than we have for a long time in the short form and we were more than happy with 164 at the halfway stage.

“The run scoring on both sides was just unbelievable throughout the game.

“Meakins raced out of the blocks, but at 125-5 we felt we had a chance, especially after getting Pete (Wilshaw) and Michael Hill out in the same over.

“We were on a roll at that point, but the rain probably affected us a little bit.

“At the moment it’s just the little things that are not going our way in games.”





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