1st May 2010 - Match Reports.
|BGCC 2nd XI vs Astwood Bank.||
Brintons & Chainwire 2nd XI vs Barnards Green 4th XI
After the coldest winter in living memory and the driest April on record both sets of players were itching to get going in this, the first game of the Worcestershire County League Division One season.
The visiting skipper Williams won the toss and, unsurprisingly asked the Green to bat on a green-tinged track which felt slightly damp to the touch. The Green, having lost the classy stroke-maker Adam Greaves in the warm-up had to re-jig their batting order in the minutes before 13:30. Doughty, perhaps still thinking about the revised batting order missed the first ball of the game, a sharp inswinger and was removed LBW. Brewer, in his experimental role as opener was joined by Drinkwater and began to forge a recovery. Some excellent bowling by Harris and Perkins made it hard work as the ball both swung and seamed passed the bat. Brewer played a number of classy strokes before departing for a decent 20 runs. Wheeler came to the crease averaging 176 from the pre-season games and immediately launched the ball over the ropes a number of times. The momentum of the game changed slightly with the Bank fielders taking a few steps back and the bowlers being changed as the prospect of a ‘Jack Attack‘ looked likely. Unfortunately, the onslaught only lasted 26 runs before Wheeler departed. Metcalfe soon followed after getting a leading edge to the accurate spin of old timer Boycott bringing Lewis Hooper to the crease. Hooper supported Drinkwater well as the latter began to find his touch, passing 50 with a range of punchy front and back foot strokes. Hooper was bowled by the excellent left arm spin of Taylor bringing Tom Clack and then Nick Rodgers to the crease. After Rogers departed, caught well in the slips, Greaves came out to bat despite the acute pain he was feeling in his shoulder and arm. He lasted 10 balls batting one-handed before Taylor dismissed him. Drinkwater finally perished for workman-like 54 sensing the end of the innings was nigh, bringing the unlikely batting partnership of Sam Spencer and Brad Adams. Spencer, perhaps an under-rated batsman, lasted 40 balls for his 11 runs before hitting a steepling catch into the outfield.
Chasing 127 to win under darkening skies, the Bank batsmen Boycott and Thomas threw their bats at nearly every ball bowled by Spencer and Adams. Trusting their eyes and riding their luck they quickly raced to 50, then 75, then 100, before finally Boycott perished for a dashing 46, bowled by a clever Spencer slower ball. Drinkwater, Hooper, Clack, Doughty all had a bowl but the batsmen, Thomas in particular, were intent on reaching the total as quickly as possible. Attacking field sets encouraged aerial shots and these came off almost without fail with the Bank reaching the winning total inside 21 overs picking up 20 well earned points whilst the Green bagged a single point.
The Green players one and all need to remember how bad it feels to lose like this and ensure that for next week’s game at Worcester Nomads and beyond, they are all 100% focused and switched on to the fact that every team is fired up and wants to beat us this year.
Astwood Bank C.C 1st XI vs Barnards Green C.C 1st XI
The Wisden Cricketer Magazine each year predicts the winners of each league around the country; this year their tip for the WCL trophy is Astwood Bank and on the evidence presented on the season’s opening day they could be on to something.
Upon winning the toss home skipper Alexander whose only meaningful contribution of the day amounted to flicking the coin inserted the opposition and made almost immediate inroads when Golder offered a sharp return to catch to Clayton to be dismissed for 9, Rhodes quickly followed smartly caught at slip by Sewell giving Clayton his second wicket. This brought Green import Jamaican, Andre Russell to the crease who wasted no time in exerting his authority on the game with a swift brace of boundaries off the bowling of Clayton.
With Hooper playing a watchful role at the other end Russell took the attack to the Bank bowling including a mammoth six off the bowling of Summers. Unfortunately for the visitor’s veteran Summers outfoxed Russell with a well flighted delivery and he offered a skied catch to Robinson who made no mistake wrapping up the Jamaican’s innings for 29.
Clarke and Binks fell in relatively quick succession both dismissed by Summers leaving the Green reeling at 92-5. Hooper remained watchful with wickets tumbling as Summers and Underwood pegged back the visitors. With the away team struggling to put together a partnership things went from bad to worse as poor running from Smedley and two edges through to the slip cordon accounted for Ford and Williams with none of the three contributing a single run to the total.
As Hooper tried to accelerate he was joined by Tom Banks whose busy approach contributed 21 runs to a partnership of 37. Debutant Stuart Lockwood then strode to the crease with Banks’ demise and was in no mood to play second fiddle to Hooper as he smashed a quick fire 25 being particularly harsh on Sewell who went for 15 from his solitary over.
Any hopes harboured by the visitors that momentum was changed with the final flurry of runs was quickly quashed as Pedley and Sewell dispensed harsh justice on the wayward bowling of Lockwood and audacious strokeplay against the pace of Russell meant that 80 runs were on the board when Sewell lost his wicket for 52 off just 48 balls. Pedley was trapped LBW to Lockwood for a well made 46 and Seeley quickly followed again captured by Lockwood this time caught behind for 14 offering a faint glimmer of hope for the visitors.
The arrival of former Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Steve Adshead however more than steadied the ship as he caressed 3 boundaries in his first over on strike to all but end any hopes the Green had of an unlikely result.
With support from Robinson Adshead continued on a positive vein to complete a comprehensive victory for the home side finishing with 35 from 40 balls.
The home side will take great pleasure in wrapping up such a comprehensive and the visitors will hope to bounce back as they face local rivals Worcester Nomads at North End Lane with admission free for all.
After two gloriously sunny weekends, the league season started and the weather forecast was predictably horrible as The Green took to the road to face the “Chainwire” half of the newly formed Brintons/Chainwire alliance. Skipper Dick Brown continued with his commitment to the youth of the club and selected five colts for what promised to be a tough encounter against unfamiliar opposition.
The Green fielded first with Skipper Brown immediately showing faith in his youngsters by opening the bowling with the brother and sister pairing of Elliot and Georgia Hennessy who, with a combined age of 28 both bowled with a level of control and accuracy well beyond their years. Both opened with maidens as the ball swung and seamed and batsmen, Paddock and James struggled on what looked like a good batting wicket. When bowling changes were enforced due to age limitation the Hennessys had bowled 6 maidens from 11 overs for a total of just 20 runs. Jack Macintosh was introduced as first change bowler and immediately caused problems clean-bowling Paddock in his second over with an unplayable delivery. At the other end Dave Price struggled to find the right length during his first overs of the year but the run-rate was kept firmly in check by some outstanding fielding, particularly from the younger elements of The Green side. Leg-spinner Steve Hunt was introduced to replace Macintosh, again due to age restrictions and immediately picked up the wicket of James, who, having been dropped earlier off a very difficult chance to Chris Horne, anticipated huge turn and somehow managed to missed Steve’s straight ball. Elliot Hennessy returned to the attack and after a couple of wayward overs picked up the wickets of Dickens, well caught by Robin Longmore at mid-off, Smith, caught behind by Kevin Ratcliffe who had an outstanding game behind the stumps, and top scorer Cadwallader who was bowled for 44. Rollings was run out following sharp work in the field by Ewan Wilson and Zac Hunt, Barker was caught by Georgia Hennessy to give MacIntosh his second wicket and Dave Price, returned to find his line and length to pick up the last 2 wickets of James and Rawlings as the innings came to a close on 174.
An unfamiliar opening pair of young left-hander Ewan Wilson and the slightly more mature Robin Longmore started The Green’s innings cautiously as, both Meese and James found an excellent line and length from the start on a pitch which was becoming increasingly hard to bat on as rain started to fall. Wilson, nervous at first, relied upon his superb technique to protect his wicket whilst Longmore, aware of the need to score quickly as the weather closed in, launched several balls to the boundary. Wilson found his confidence, played some delightful shots off his legs and was unlucky to glove a ball which followed him and he was caught behind. Chris Horne joined Longmore and struggled with the slow pitch at first, surviving a couple of half-chances before finding form and starting to time the ball. Longmore lost his stumps attempting to hit the ball out of the ground but he had taken his own total to 30 and The Green were well ahead of the run-rate. Kevin Ratcliffe joined Horne realising that they needed to see out 25 overs if there was to be a result in the game. Both batsmen scored quickly and Chainwire showed true sportsmanship in staying out in the worsening conditions but when the rained closed in after just 20 overs of the second innings both teams had to admit defeat.
Horne finished on 25 not out and Ratcliffe on 22 not out from a total of 87 for 2.
Both teams are to be commended for a good game played in the right spirit and for having confidence in introducing youngsters to senior cricket.