It was a normal spring day - overcast with a biting easterly wind - that greeted our friends from Purton and the first league match of the season.
A regular check of the pitch by those in the know and those who just like looking at pitches formed the view that it might just help the spinners bowling from the Palmer Road end, and the opposition had three to our one! It was no surprise therefore that opposition skipper Phil Duffell put us into bat.
Ali Goddard and Kyle Oakley opened for Trowbridge and although the ball tended not to rise above ankle height on many occasions they dealt competently with Purton's opening attack of Fraser Conway and off-spinner Jo Dunn (Purton's "G-Dawg"!). The pair made a solid start of 56 before Ali, pulling and punching the ball to the fence, and who looked set for a big score was bowled by Little for 34. Kyle soon followed bowled again by Little for 20. The pace of scoring then slowed a bit whilst the next pair of Matt Dicker and Adam Bolton accustomed themselves to the pitch. By now Purton had put one of their leg-spinners Pat Doyle on to bowl which Matt found to his liking when Doyle over-pitched striking him to the boundary on four occasions. As Ali so succinctly put it to get anything out of the pitch you need to hit it first - or words to that effect! Matt played fluently stroking some sumptuous drives through the covers; Adam took a while to get into gear defending stoutly but then played some equally attractive drives though extra-cover in particular. They took the score to 126 before Matt was dismissed for 44 by a full-toss which hit his body and then dropped on to the wicket. It was however deemed to have dipped enough by the standing umpire not to have been called a no-ball although called by square leg in an advisory capacity - (he should have hit it for six!!). Adam then began to play aggressively punishing the bowling when they failed to hit the pitch and soon reached his 50 before being trapped LBW by Alex Duffell Purton's other "leggie" for a well-crafted 60. Dave Johnson came and went in style, his demise the result of an extraordinary reverse sweep shot which spooned up to young keeper Jack Clarke who gratefully accepted his first catch in adult cricket. At the other end Chris Dicker was chancing his arm and trying to hit every ball for a maximum - he succeeded only once launching Alex Duffell to the mid-wicket boundary where the ball managed to pass through Dad Phil's hands for a six! Chris was eventually caught by Dave Allen off of Matt Saunders for a brief and brisk 15. The tail didn't wag too effectively and although Prabhu Vanniyar found the boundary on a couple of occasions and Alex Tanner walloped an enormous six over long-off, the final score of 227 seemed to be around 20 to 30 runs short of par.
Purton's top bowlers were Neil Little with 9-2-24-2 and Alex Duffell with 9-0-47-4.
There then followed tea: a repast of Gargantuan proportions able to satiate the appetites of every hungry cricketer, scorer and other wholly under-nourished local "cricket badgers"!
See below - need I say more!!
.....................and so back to cricket!
Our irrepressible, irreverent, invincible, garrulous and totally surreal opening bowler Alex Tanner was soon into his stride expecting to take a wicket at least every ball. His bowling is serious stuff though starting with a shuffle to the wicket then delivering heavy accurate in-dipping left-arm "cannons" to the opposing batsman with his powerful shoulders. His follow-through often followed with a whoop of delight at a wicket, a howl of frustration at a near-miss or a pleading existential cry of appeal for the umpire to raise the digit. It was in his second over that one such prolonged appeal succeeded when opener Little was trapped "plumb" for a duck (sounds like a recipe?)!
Tom Lloyd from the "spinners" end was bowling at good pace but was unusually unable to find his normal rhythm & line. Tom was replaced by Prabhu and while he bowled accurately and with variation none of Trowbridge's bowlers was to able to break what was becoming an ominous partnership between Phil Duffell and David Allen. This pair although patient punished any bad ball severely because Trowbridge's bowlers were also finding it difficult to land the ball on the pitch! Both Harry Robbins and Corey Tallentire tried their best to break the partnership but to no avail.
By the time Chris came on to bowl off-spin from the Palmer Road end in the twenty-second over Purton had reached 98 for 1 and were slightly ahead of the run rate. His first over was accurate almost tempting Allen to sky a catch to mid-on but like his colleagues failed to find the proper line and his next two overs went for 19 runs; the ball however was turning. Following discussions with wily skipper Ali Goddard, Chris changed his line and field slightly and duly bowled Phil Duffell who tried to pull a shorter delivery which kept low. Phil had made a well-executed 63 and had taken the score on to 135 with partner Dave Allen. In his next over Chris bowled the dangerous Taylor Aitken sweeping across the line for no score. He then bowled Alex Duffell for 2 with one that turned sharply, but the "coup de grâce" came when David Allen cross-batted to Adam Bolton at mid-on who gratefully accepted a "sitter"; Allen had made a well-paced 71 the day's highest individual score. As a bonus Chris also bowled Fraser Conway first ball with more sharp turn to achieve his first "five for" in adult cricket. So from 135 for 1 Purton had now crashed to 154 for 6. After Chris had completed his allotted overs it was left to Prabu, Kyle, Tom and Harry to clean up the tail which they did with the utmost efficiency. Kyle surprised us all by bowling some very classy seamers with good accuracy and pace and was rewarded when he had Rahul Khan LBW for 5 - we look forward to seeing some more of this in addition to the odd hundred as well!. Tom looking more at home from the "hedge" end bowled Doyle for 4 & Prabu bowled Clarke for 16 which included four boundaries. Harry Robbins concluded the day's proceedings with a brilliant throw from the deep to run out Matt Saunders for 1 to give the 2's a well-deserved victory by 46 runs.
Pick of the bowers were Chris Dicker whose figures were 9-2-30-5, Alex Tanner with 9-2-21-1 & Prabu Vanniyar with 8-2-33-1.
A great start to the league season against a very sporting opposition whom we wish well. With team chips and jugs all round the day was finished on a celebratory note.
Off to Buscot Park next...............wherever the **** that is!!!