After last weeks defeat away to Havering saw us lose a second game in as many weeks.
With Steve out with a bad ankle, it meant that I was given the responsibility to take the reins. After Steves 100% track record with the toss, I wasted no time in losing the toss and being put into field. The track probably looked the best it had all season with what looked like a fast outfield.
Dinesy and I took the new ball with not much joy. A couple of balls took off the seam but our opening partnership didn't challenge the openers nearly enough. Dinesy would mix up some good lines with some full bungers which both openers gladly put away. Without finding much rhythm myself, for the first time this season it found us unable to get an early break through. We did put down a couple of early chances of which the opener capitalised and went on to hit a solid 85.
Rankins managed to pass 100 unscathed which then meant Cyril and Albert were introduced to the attack. Albert managed to sneak one past the openers bat just before drinks which then started a fruitful partnership. Both batsman scored freely which wasn't helped by some poor fielding and loose bowling. When things were looking bleak and a score of 300+ looked certain, Crossy was introduced and in his first over picked up both set batsman. From then we managed to pick up fairly regular wickets and restricted Rankins to a perhaps par 240-6.
Although probably the poorest we'd bowled/fielded this season, missing both Steve and Az, our two main run scorers, 240 was still possible with a true pitch and fast outfield. It also meant that some of us had to stand up and be counted rather than hoping someone else would get the runs.
We started fairly slowly and lost both Beaney and Waring to the opener for single figure scores. A partnership between Loz and Crossy began to make our run rate creep up but when Loz was beaten by a slow loopy leg spinner, this brought Munch to the crease.
Both Crossy and Munch batted well and found the boundary when required. With only 3 wickets down and requiring 140 off 20 overs, I thought we were in with a real chance. Thats when a classic Bentley collapse occurred. Both Munch and Crossy fell quickly, followed shortly by Tom and Hickey. At this stage we required nearing 9/10 an over, I tried to push the scoring but could only sky it to cover. Albert and Cyril pushed us up to 174 until Cyril chipped one back to the bowler.
It was a disappointing and frustrating loss. We were far too flat in the field and our ground fielding probably cost us 20-30 runs. We had a brilliant start to the season but two average efforts the past two weeks means we're no longer top of the league. We need to pick ourselves up and put in a strong performance against Brookweald next week.
Report by Nick Smith