As "Sicknote" Barnes was away getting a little too much sun, the captaincy duties were left to deputy Walsh (the disgruntled players were soon left wishing that Bob Marley had indeed shot him too). A seasons bow for Ed Fisher
and a second game of the season for Matthew Hayden
completed a strong line-up.
Arriving at Greens Norton it was difficult to ascertain where the square was, let alone a cut and rolled wicket. Walsh marched out to middle and did the unthinkable - he won the toss. This was peak of his captains performance as his swiftly followed his successful call with "this looks like a good track, we'll have a bat". The decision was greeted with a great deal of disbelief amongst the players and it took much self-discipline from the players to avoid staging a coup to seize control of the reigns.
Hibberd and Watkins strapped on their waders and made it out to the middle. With a slow outfield and some accurate bowling Radway made a hesitant start before Hibberd (18) launched some quick boundaries to get the Radway bus up and running. Watkins (13) batted grittily at the other end as the Greens Norton openers somehow
managed to find just a little seam movement. Hibberd departed after steering the ball into the hands of the fielder at point; Elsby followed two deliveries later with a carbon copy dismissal for a duck (to add to his growing pond on the Evesham road). Sofroniou (1) struggled to settle before a thick edge to gully and when Watkins' trench-warfare came to an end Radway were left teetering on 42-4.
With his dubious decision looking all the more terrible, Walsh was saved by a 76 run partnership between Hayden and Douthwaite Jnr. Some lusty blows from Hayden began to turn the match in Radway's favour. The partnership continued to grow as Douthwaite (32) also joined the party, launching some big shots around the park. There was a little confusion in the scorer's box as Walker showed his age, but after five recounts it was concluded that Hayden had already reached a well earned 50, unfortunately he departed the next ball but he had put Radway into a position to reach a very healthy score.
Fisher was the next man in but, having missed the rigorous Radway pre-season preparation, he looked a little rusty and fell LBW for just 1. This wicket brought together Walsh (26*) and Douthwaite Snr (20*) who proceeded to mow, slash and dab (no prizes for guessing who was responsible for which) their way to posting a very good total of 173. It must be noted that this score was reached despite the wicket which resembled the surface of the moon as tea was called.
Tea was supplemented by a trip to the newsagents to stock up on confectionary for the fielding performance to come. Unfortunately several players seemed somewhat distracted by all the extra sugar as the customary dropped catches rolled in, Sofroniou missing a sharp chance in the very first over. Walker missed two opportunities at slip as Douthwaite, fired up by a half time Calippo, began to use the wicket to thoroughly test the opening batsmen. Douthwaite made the breakthrough taking wickets in successive balls, this was made all the more surprising as they were both caught by none other than Watkins behind the stumps. He looked just as shocked as the rest of the players and spectators as he clung on the second of them.
Douthwaite's hat-trick ball was too wide of the batsmen to cause him any worry and the players committee agreed that this was a case of jug-evasion and the verdict was reached that a jug was therefore owed. Meanwhile at the other end Walsh (2-30) too was making use of the pitch and his two wickets left Greens Norton in a perilous position. Walsh however let the opposition off the hook when he missed a caught and bowled chance and Watkins resumed normal service when he spilled another catch behind he wicket.
Douthwaite, fed up of relying on his fielders, cleaned bowled another batsman as he moved in search of another 5 for. Two skiers left Fisher running round in circles before missing both, but Sofroniou made up for his earlier drop with a smart runout leaving the batsman stranded looking at his unwilling partner. Douthwaite claimed another victim to complete his well deserved 5 wicket haul and ended his 12 overs with superb figures of 5-41.
Walker came into the attack and mopped up the final two wickets in successive balls as Fisher proved his worth taking both catches in similar fashion to give Radway a comfortable 96 run victory.