We went out on Saturday with a fairly strong team although missing a couple of key players. I managed to win the toss and having had a look at the pitch and discussed with the team, I put us in to bat on a decent track.
Ollie and myself got off to a good start blocking anything straight and waiting for the bad balls which we dispatched for boundaries to keep us ticking along nicely. The pitch played well apart from some uneven bounce but there did not seem to be anything out there that should trouble us bowling wise. Not long after, I went after a wide one that deserved to be punished and could only edge through to the keeper. Gunnar who had played well to get to 30 was also caught and we were left 50-2. Dave started well, being proactive against the spinner but was eventually stumped for 12. Ian and Strawbs continued to punish some average Ingatestone bowling and we looked fairly comfortable as Munch powered a 6 over the trees into the highstreet. Wickets though continued to fall at regular intervals as Strawbs fell victim to a ball that kept low and Ian was caught to leave us 134 for 5. Manno came in and played some decent shots despite being dropped twice in his first 3 balls however he was guilty of not going through with his shot which saw him caught and bowled for 10. Waring and Nozza batted well and looked to be leading us towards a good total but some confusion between the batsman saw Gav run out and a few overs later, Waring followed trying to move the score along in the last 5 overs. Shammy came in and did what he does best carving out a four through the legside before being clean bowled as was Joe Wilson to finish us on 178 all out.
178 was probably 20 runs fewer than I would have liked and it was disappointing that all of the top 8 including myself got starts but no one went on and got a significant score that could have anchored the innings and seen us get 200+. However it looked defendable if we bowled tightly and took wickets from the word go.
Wilson bowled brilliantly in his final ever match as he bowled his ten overs straight through, pegging Ingatestone back taking 2 wickets for 35 runs, including a great catch from Strawbs at mid off. At the other end, Shammy showed glimpses of his best forcing the opposition to play and miss a number of times however he was at times inconsistent allowing the batsmen to relieve the pressure with some boundaries. Gav came on and as he has consistently done, reduced the run rate taking a few wickets in the meantime to really heap the pressure back on Ingatestone who seemed to want to get the match over as quickly as possible. Dinesy came on from the top end and bowled tightly restricting the flow of runs and taking another wicket to leave Ingatestone 90-5 at drinks. We needed to take wickets however we also needed to keep the runs down. I had two main options left which were to either keep bowling Dinesy and Gav and try to win the match or to try and sneak in some overs from the rest of the bowlers to make sure we were not left with our 4th/5th choice bowlers bowling at the death. I gambled and put Dave onto bowl just after drinks however their batsmen went after a loosener from him and then continued to go after him. At the end of Dave's over, the ball was hit hard to Gav at cover but sadly, he could not hold onto the chance as he hit the turf. I bought Shammy back on from the top end and the result was similar and suddenly, Ingatestone only needed 50 runs to win with plenty of overs. Dinesy and Gav came back on and pegged them back as I took a sliding catch at mid off as their number 6 decided to try and spank Gav down the ground. Once Gav was bowled through, I bought myself on to try and take some much needed wickets. As a team, we worked well keeping the weaker batsmen on strike however Ingatestone by now only needed 20 runs. I got one of their lower order LBW and another pumped me down the ground where he was caught at long off by Gav however Dinesy and myself just didn't have enough runs to play with and Ingatestone rather nervously crawled over the line with 6 overs and 2 wickets to spare.
It was a decent performance from the team although it was clearly evident that this was an early season game considering some of the dismissals and bowling consistency. These are things however that should improve over the coming weeks and one of the best things was our performance in the field and our energy as we searched for wickets. Apart from a dropped catch, we worked hard in the field and stemmed the flow of runs so long may this continue. Batting wise, we need to make sure that next weekend, we push on and some of us get big scores to help set up the innings. I will hold my hands up over the bowling changes however I was stuck in a sticky situation and although my gamble didn't pay off this time, other times, it might well have come off and we could have been celebrating a win instead! Thanks for people's support during the game, this is of course a learning curve for me and any help/advice is greatly appreciated!
Overall, unlucky boys, we deserved a win but lets make sure we bounce back next weekend with a win against Stock at home!