I am going to make a concerted effort to write a match report each week. I started to last year but after a few games, there wasn’t really much to write about so I gave up but I am sure this season, we will have a lot more to shout about!
As with every season, we had the usual early season selection problems which meant selecting a team with 3 second team debutants and Snelly playing only his second game for us however the potential of these players gave me every faith that we would perform on Saturday and that we did.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Gunnar and Hardy made light work of some wayward bowling from the Tillingham openers. Elliot’s brief cameo which included a large six however was brought to an end when he tamely edged behind to leave us 22-1. Sprulesy joined Gunnar in the middle and they quickly put Tillingham to the sword with some powerful shots all around the wicket helping us past 100. Sprulesy raced to 50 despite not actually moving his feet once, much to the annoyance of the Tillingham bowlers.
Not long after however, this technique was his undoing and he was given out LBW. Gunnar followed without a run being added to the scoreboard for a well-made 38, top edging an attempted sweep. Despite batting really well, both will probably look back and be annoyed that they did not crack on and cash in on the poor bowling.
Jack Denman came and went in a flash and Crispin fell a few overs later and suddenly we were 129-5 and in danger of throwing away the great start we had made. In a precarious situation, debutant Matt Earing came to the crease and I joined him to lead the fightback. Between us, we put on a partnership of 66 with Matt maturely picking the gaps in the field and rotating the strike and me basically trying to biff it to all parts! As we approached 200, I decided Matt was showing up the rest of us by making it look so easy and so decided to run him out. 10 runs later, I followed having been caught behind and we looked in danger of not getting maximum batting points. However some more mature batting from the lower order saw us reach 225.
Seeing as we only managed to get 200+ 4 times last season, and rarely batted the full 45 overs, especially with an inexperienced team, this was really pleasing however after the start we made, we probably should have made 250+.
After sampling Judi Sprules’ wonderful scones, we headed out to defend our total with Shammi and Snelly opening the bowling. Both started well with Snelly moving the ball through the air and Shammi confusing the batsmen by changing his mind a few times about whether he should bowl around or over the wicket. This tactic paid off as he had their skipper well caught by Matt who took a high catch, back-peddling at gully. After this, we dominated Tillingham with some tight bowling and equally impressive fielding which restricted the batsmen to scoring at about 3 an over. Our hard work paid off and Shammi soon had his second clean bowling their number 3. Snelly continued to bowl brilliantly, drying up their runs and was unlucky not to take a wicket.
As the pressure continued to build, the Tillingham batsman had no choice but to cut loose and sadly for us, it came off with Walker bearing the brunt of some impressive 6 hitting. This may have demoralised a lesser player but Walker came back strong and eventually had Tillingham’s big hitter out LBW shortly after he passed 50.
With the game very delicately poised we headed into the last 20 overs with Tillingham needing about 100 to win and Beaney and Hammond to bowl them. I started well and found a bit of movement off the pitch which helped me remove their other opener who had finally passed 50 about 26 overs into the game, with Albert taking a good catch at slip. Wickets tumbled at regular intervals with Matt taking another good catch at midwicket and Munch taking one behind but we found it hard to stem the runs and eventually, we got down to the last over with them needing 8 to win. A couple of 2’s and some singles and Tillingham were in the driving seat needing one to win off the last ball which they nudged to cover and scampered through for.
It was really disappointing that we didn’t win and I’m still disappointed now but I think looking back, it was just not our day. We could have done with a few more runs, if we’d kicked on and got to 250, we’d have won it easy but it was not to be. I can’t fault anyone though for their effort and I was especially impressed with the 3 boys who came up to play for us, all playing their part and particularly Matt who was my personal man of the match for 2 good catches and a really mature batting performance which took us up to a defendable total.
Thanks also to Jack Denman for helping us out and Neale for fielding for us after Shammi left, really appreciate it!
As I said, disappointment but a lot of positives to take forward to next week where we go again and look to kick-start our season against Little Waltham!