May 2nd 2015 and the start of another cricket season.
It was a dull, grey and chilly day when the 1st XI arrived at the ground in Marcham. We were quickly warmed by the cheerful and friendly Marcham team as well as some cutting changing room banter, although Barney and Blacky were just happy to find that their trousers still fitted.
Skipper Rammy got the first two decisions of the new season right by winning the toss and asking Marcham to bat first, meaning we took to the field for the first time in our new sleeveless team jumpers ( courtesy of Gerry’s Manchester Marathon efforts ).
As a unit we bowled ok, without bowling as well as we could. Openers Sam Shadbolt and Stuart Leece struggled a little with their radars but Sam did dismiss the aggressive Himpson thanks to a smart catch by Niall Bletchley. The old fox Dave Barnhill, skipper Rammy, debutant Rob Preston, wily Manny and the fast improving Lewis Bletchley all had a go. They were backed up by a good fielding display but Marcham ended up scoring 183 all out thanks to the classy Geordie Armstrong and some aggressive cameos throughout the order.
After a good tea including scotch eggs and pork pies, DCC set about chasing a challenging total, especially so early in the season.
Openers Gerry, all patience and timing, and Manny, less patient and more hard hitting, are a good combination at the top of the order. They generally give us a good start and this was the case again as Gerry made 25 and Manny 35, before they gave way to the experienced Hugh and the busy Niall. They batted well, but were dismissed just as they looked settled for a big score. With Blacky coming and going quickly a lot now rested on the shoulders of Rammy and left hander Sam Shadbolt. They put together a good partnership and the game was now evenly poised. We needed about 40 from 6 overs and all of a sudden it went wrong as Sam fell ( after he had hit an enormous 6 over mid wicket ) followed by Rob, Lewis and Rammy in quick succession. Could the last pair of Stuart and Dave see the job through ? The short answer was no, as Dave was bowled second ball and we were dismissed for 150. This meant we had lost by 33 runs.
We finished with 8 bonus points against the team that finished 3rd last season and I think they will win far more games than they lose in 2015, so no need to be too down about things. I think we can take a lot out of the performance. We bowled Ok, but can and will bowl better. Debutant Rob will definitely take wickets and Lewis is getting better and better. Our fielding was smart and tidy and 6 of our top 7 got a start with the bat and looked in decent nick.
No need for us to be despondent and I think a decent season is in store. I just hope that Mother Nature wakes up and realises the cricket season has started. So we need sunshine, blue skies and no wind please.