Cove vs Bentworth (Season Opener)

Having used up all of our bad luck donning the whites last season, it was time for a fresh start for the B’s. With a very youthful oppo, fantastic batting surface and the sun beaming down on us there were perfect conditions for a win. Having won the toss, Skip decided to set a score for our young counterparts to chase.

A recurrent theme of calamity seems to have haunted our opening weekends in the past two years – last year it was Colin’s botched sat nav, and this year it was our very handy New Ben’s “repaired” willow that failed him early on. Nevertheless, both NB and Doc steadily saw off the openers until Ben saw himself bowled to one that kept very low! Enter Mr Chairman (Rich Hill) – who flew out of the gates like an IPL opener on speed. Racking up runs, he slowed as he neared his 50, with Doc unfortunately mistiming one to mid-on. Although saddened at the dismissal of our ever-reliant opener, we welcomed a new addition in Steve Blake (a name to be remembered!). Having started their partnership steadily, Mr Chairman was caught on 49 to the delight of the oppo.

Barely tipping 100 runs, it was time to earn some needed batting points. As I entered the fray, it seemed I had misjudged the next tee-box at Southwood and landed myself in unfamiliar territory. However, batting alongside a proverbial Rolls-Royce (Steve B!) helped me settle. With some hard running, fairly agricultural stroke play and a few cat lives I had reached 52. What followed can only be described as a very “fishy” decision to impersonate AB de Villiers that went terribly wrong. After batting gallantly, Steve was run out on 49 by El Trev, who started (and continued) in exuberant fashion. Having seen off the midday heat we needed to protect 218-5 in the afternoon.

After a very well prepped tea, we returned to the field and rightfully “capped” our new recruit to welcome him to the team – and convince him to stick around after that display! Kenny “McGrath” and Skip opened the bowling fantastically, keeping fairly low economies considering the level their opener had played at! We all started lively in the field with Steve B showing his prowess in that aspect of the game too. Ali came in as first change and laid a very good foundation to work from in the season ahead – although unfortunately caught the brunt of their very handy opener at times. HB started very tight but also felt the wrath at times of their opener. After Skip had unsettled the opening pair early on, a partnership was starting to form – and only blossomed as I opitimised the phrase “trial and error” with my very short spell with the ball. With the game in the balance, a rather unruly mongrel entered the field… simultaneously accompanied by a terrier with owner in toe. Having been leeched upon by this snap-chatting hound, Mr Chairman rightfully asked for a spare leash to regain control and focus on the game!

HB found himself very unlucky with missed opportunities – myself, El Trev and a few others doing our best to give the game away. With this, we turned to our wise old heads – Mr Chairman, Doc and Skip who bowled fantastically at the death. Not to mention the enthusiasm of El Trev in the field and a fantastic run out by Ali from deep to remove their star figure (who showed great sportsmanship in ruling himself out). Wickets started to fall with HB getting a much-deserved one, Doc and Mr Chairman taking one a piece and Skip coming home with 3-17 – after seeing us home with some fantastic death bowling.

A hard fought victory, but more importantly a great performance to start the season! Hopefully we move onto our first home game and replicate the result – with less palpitations!

– Old Ben –