East & West Hendred vs. Witney Swifts
By Mark Baring
Hendred Begin New Season in Stunning Fashion
East & West Hendred CC vs. Witney Swifts
OCA Division 2
Saturday 30th April 2016
Witney won the toss and elected to bat
Witney Swifts- 79 all out
M. Baring- 3 for 20
K. Rashid- 3 for 9
EWHCC- 82 for 2
J. Francis- 24*
D. McKenna- 28*
Hendred win by 8 wickets
So here we are once again at the beginning of the season. Previous opening day experiences have been fairly crushing ones. Ones that have provided a false dawn and crushing realities. But on the back of last season’s end of season run, if we were able to continue such a remarkable run of form that saw us finish 4th, just 7 points off our visitors Witney Swifts.
Arriving at Mill Lane, spirits were further when a ghost of seasons past came to pay us a visit. No I’m not talking about Peter Baring or Paul Mead, but the ever so slightly more sprightly Isaac Nicholls. Our expenses team have been working over-time in order to get him available, fortunately we managed to make it work and promptly turned up with his biltong in tow.
As the last grips of spring clung on, Hendred set about preparing themselves for the game ahead. As Witney arrived you could sense their trepidation as Jon Francis and Dom Mckenna showed their catching prowess in the outfield, whilst Kash set about warming up those long arms of his.
An unexpected turn of events at the toss with Kieran Foggett the Witney captain choosing to bat first on a pitch that was surely only going to improve as the game wore on. Plus with the firepower of Carlos Braithwaite, read Carl Palmer, Kash, Andrew Francis and Bounder Jnr it was a bold decision.
The action quickly started to unfold as Carl removed their opener with no little haste in his second over, but things were soon about to happen that were unexpected as they were exhilarating. After a wayward first over where Mark had strayed too close to his opposite number’s legs, he found Lady Luck to be on his side in the 2nd as he dragged. One brings two as that famous old cricketing phrase goes, and so it did next ball, full pitched, touch of swing and the off-peg was ricocheting as Baring screamed his exhortations in delight. Hat-trick ball, fielders in close, chat to the batsmen at fever pitch, Jon Francis almost beyond control. Full again, through the gate, leg-stump this time. HAT TRICK!! The skipper leading in exemplary fashion, watched on by his father. Surely no greater sight could be seen that Saturday afternoon.
When Carl removed the fastidious Andy Fisher the score was 29 for 5 and already the captain was cautiously optimistic. It was left to the Kash and Andrew to remove the rest, with Kash taking his time in taking his 3 wickets in just 5.1 overs. 25 overs was all it had taken for Hendred to dismantle this batting line-up and we were out chasing before teas has been made.
A couple of false shots from the Mulford opening pair, caused a mild stir of frustration from the captain but he knows there are runs aplenty there. He was able to digest things slightly better over a sumptuous tea from Mrs. Baring, things returned to normal service after tea as Jon Francis and Dom Mckenna put on a chanceless partnership of 51 to see Hendred home in handsome fashion beneath a clear summer’s evening sky.
Let it be known that while it was undoubtedly a resounding win, optimism needs to be sprinkled with caution. We won’t come up against such feeble opposition again, so lets enjoy the victory for what it’s worth and look ahead to the Broughton match this weekend. Another occasion where we can right a few wrongs from last season’s miscarriage of justice in drawing not once but twice with them! No mention of cups or league wins will be mentioned, focus is just the next game and we will see where that leads us.
Man of the Match- Mark Baring- 1st ever hat trick for the skipper and putting his pre-season words into action.
Champagne Moment- The Hat Trick- so often with the adrenaline pumping and the mind racing, the hat trick ball is wild and misdirected. Not this time, a homing missile on to leg stump.
Mare of the Match- No one is receiving this nomination. An exemplary Hendred performance, one of many to come.