Yorke Hat-Trick and Meadows Five-for has Seconds Singing in the Rain
Gordon 79, Sapwell 36, Meadows 9-1-27-5, Yorke 9-1-24-4
Refusing to have our spirits dampened by the wet weather, Bentley 2nds recorded their first win of the season with a comprehensive victory over Rayleigh 2s.
Before a ball was bowled however, the side had been rocked after hearing that 17 year-old alpha Tom 'The Quadfather' Walker was threatening to boycott the game for fear that the dark,grey clouds would aggravate the sunstroke he had suffered the previous weekend *insert facepalm emoji*. Having failed to secure a similarly alpha replacement, the squad unified in a bout of peer pressure to coax the young seam bowler into restoring himself to the side. And indeed, despite almost starting World War III in the Walker household, 'Quadimodo' confirmed he would take his place in the ranks late on Friday night.
Conditions once again appeared to favour bowling, so it was no surprise that the Rayleigh skipper invited us to bat first, after I continued what now seems like a 2nd team tradition and lost the toss. With the team "bolstered" by the returning Mann, Stimpson, Beaney, Meadows and the aforementioned 'Quadzilla', I was optimistic that we could apply ourselves more ably than last weekend's disappointing efforts. Re-introducing these faces doesn't come without its cost however, as I was subject to the first 'champing' of the season when asking Stimmo if he possessed any bails in his pocket, as gave me a slow, Rudi Koertzen-esque reveal of his phone. In that moment, I felt an unparalleled amount of sympathy for my predecessor.
Back to cricket matters and Gunnar and Sappy followed the Skipper's orders to perfection, displaying positive intent and punishing anything loose from the Rayleigh openers, to see us up past 50 in relatively quick time. This included a glorious straight six from Sapwell, putting their opening quick into the road....and no more needs to be said on that. Sappy ultimately departed for a well made 36, but Gunnar continued to attack, preventing Rayleigh from building any momentum, ably assisted by Albie, as we powered to our first batting point of the season.
However, perhaps forgetting he was partnered by a less mobile version of Gavin Hammond than Coxtie Green Road had seen in years gone by, Gunnar pushed for a second run, only to see Albie caught short and run out. Sprulesy, having ambitiously targeted a score of 300+, briefly looked in a thuggish mood, however once again was caught in football mode, kicking the ball onto his stumps. Rest assured, with the touch and control Rhys has displayed, I don't think Gareth Southgate will be having many sleepless nights over whether to take him on the plane to Russia.
The "bolstered" middle order I referred to earlier then presided over a vintage CBC, as Manno, Stimmo and Beaney all proceeded to come and go whilst troubling the scorebook minimally. Having been whiting up at the time of his dismissal, I missed Stimmo's brief knock, but I was assured by viewers that it was worthy of detailed account. So much so, that I have called upon Mr Sapwell to provide an overview of proceedings:
It’s always a shame to have the highlight of the season occur in just the second game, and normally there’s no shame at all in being bowled by the Essex captain. Even some of the best batsmen in the world have been out shouldering arms, heck even I’ve done it.
It all started with a lovely full bunger, which Stimmo delightfully smacked to a deep mid-off and scampered through for his first run of the season. As he came to me, umpiring at the bowlers end, he muttered something about how typical it was for the opposition to wait until he’d come out to bat before bringing on their secret weapon, the 5th choice bowler, who just happens to play for Essex. Anyway, Gunnar was batting well and called through Stimmo for a single and our hero was back on strike. A full wide one, left alone. A shorter wide one, left alone. A full straight one, left alone.
‘Oh Stimmo. Oh no. It’s clattered into your off stump, Champ’ I thought, ‘about half way up too. She’s set you up perfectly and you’ve fallen into her trap.’
And with that, he glanced up, nodded at me, a gentle smile across his face and eyes full of fear. He was well aware of what he’d just done and sauntered back to the pavilion to face his peers.
Back now to Captain Waring to take up the rest of the story.
With Gunnar also departing for an excellent 79, we had slipped from 169-2 to 195-7 and it looked like we were set to undo all the good work done at the top of the innings. Thankfully, myself and Yorkey came together and after steadily seeing us to maximum batting points, we thieved and thugged our way to 241, which I'd had bitten your hand off for after being put in to bat. Truth be told however, the wicket played very well and the damp conditions made it very difficult for bowling and fielding. It is also worth mentioning how well Gunnar batted, once again grinding away and holding our innings together as he so often does. As one of the few batsmen in the club prepared to dig in and, at times, score ugly, he will crucial to our fortunes this season.
A splendid tea from the VC had the team in buoyant mood for the second half of the game, with the oldest 25 year-old in the world conceding he got a strange satisfaction from doing tea duty, so much so that Olly has agreed to do them for the season, Cheers champ!
We then set about bowling Rayleigh out, and after Beaney aided their opening batsman's search for the clubhouse with firm send off, we were in confident mood. The remaining Rayleigh opener had other ideas and after gradually found his feet, resisting 'Quad's Plan' to try and induce an outside edge, was able to successfully frustrate our seam attack, alongside his skipper.
The introduction of our spin duo, Yorke and Meadows, was crucial in forcing the breakthrough and ultimately in engineering our victory. Yorkey's unerring accuracy claimed 4 wickets, including a magnificent hat-trick resulting in unbelievable scenes as Chaz powered round the outfield in celebration with the momentum of bull, conflicting the minds of his teammates not sure whether to embrace him or play the role of matador. In seriousness, it is great to see Yorkey start the season so well with the ball, he is proving that he will be a crucial player for us this season.
From the other end, Jack's turn and, in particular, bounce was causing havoc, and being assisted by some fine glove work from Sappy with a clever stumping before pouching a fine catch, was able to wrap up their tail with minimal fuss. Our spin attack was instrumental in gaining promotion last year, so it is hugely encouraging to see them starting this season in positive fashion. It was also good to see Sprules, Manno and Beaney cling on to good catches in wet conditions, and I'll forgive Yorkey's drop off my bowling. Clearly he was spewing at having been taken out the attack for some yuck left arm pies. Overall, our fielding was tidy despite the adverse weather, it's a factor that will be crucial in the tighter games I expect us to have later this season.
All in all, a great team performance, where we showed that we are more than capable of competing in this division. If we can retain the core of the side we put out on Saturday and iron out a few creases, we'll finish a lot nearer the top of this table than the bottom. Onto next week, Tillingham at home, lets hope we can carry this level into that game!!
The Calcott Hall Farm Yuck Moment of the Day: Stimmo's dismissal.
- Rayleigh skipper is a good bloke, much sounder than Stimmo. Enjoy Spain with that average of 1, champ.
- Ask Beaney for his cheese twirls recipe. Have I got any spare brie at home?
- Will Gunnar ever be content when he is dismissed?
- At least Chaz's drop gives you an excuse to defend yourself when people as why you went for 7 an over.