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Crushing defeat sends Manor down

1st XI
Birmingham League Division Three
Pershore 205 all out
Aston Manor 72 all out

This crushing defeat to already promoted Pershore confined Aston Manor to relegation from the Birmingham League.

So what went wrong for one of the pre season favourites for promotion?

Having just missed out on climbing to Division Two last season Manor added highly recommended South African Byron Wyngard, strike bowler Arslan Shahid and ex England international Phillip DeFreitas to their already impressive squad.

Unfortunately it was the one player they lost from last season who proved the difference. Indian Rahul Bakshi was denied a Visa at the eleventh hour and Manor never replaced his 1,000 runs and the confidence his consistent performances gave the rest of the squad. Throw into the equation his 35 wickets as well and his loss cannot be over emphasised.

Wyngard, a very likable lad, was unable to show any consistency with the bat to give the other players the confidence to bat around him. Three or four quality innings during the season was not enough.

Shahid was a massive disappointment. Early season he showed his undoubted talent, but a niggling injury and questionable attitude saw Manor leave him out of their side toward the end of the season.

Phil DeFreitas was unable to bowl as much as anticipated due to injuries, and although he was Manor’s most consistent batsman his overall impact wasn’t as great as originally hoped.

The lack of consistency in the performance of their top three players definitely affected the confidence of the remainder of the squad and none of them really performed to the same level as they had in the previous season with Bakshi in the side.

Saturday’s defeat showcased all of the problems throughout the season. In the absence of a genuine strike bowler Pershore were able to get off to a flying start and Manor’s attempts to claw themselves back into the game were hampered by poor ground fielding and dropping important catches. Byron Wyngard (4-21) bowled superbly at the end of the innings with Imran Khan (3-38) giving him admirable support. This was however a wicket to suit spin bowling and James Harris (10-1-23-1) was definitely the pick of Manor’s three spin options.

Manors reply never really got going. Only Shozab Haider (27) reached double figures in a feeble total of 72 all out. Yet again, nine players were out caught, most trying to play extravagant shots. No application, no confidence and no belief. Too many players only want to hit boundaries and don’t seem to be prepared to work hard and try to rotate the stike. A legacy maybe of watching too much 20/20 Cricket? Pershore have an excellent home record on their wicket which is prepared to suit their spin attack and Matthew Brace (4-12) proved unplayable for the Manor batsmen.

Onto next season, and a lot of thought and hard work will have to go into building a squad with the correct attitude and application to hopefully launch a promotion push back to the Birmingham League