Barnards Green 1st XI Pre-Season Fixtures 2011
With the club facing the most challenging season to date with the 1st and 2nd XIs competing in the Birmingham and District Premier League for the first time and the 3rd and 4th XI also facing stiff opposition in the WCL Structure the preseason “friendlies” took on a new significance with places to play for across a decent sized squad.
The prestigious Malvern College were the first of 3 pre season visitors to North End Lane and provided a good workout for a new look 1st XI with 6 players who did not feature at all in the Championship winning side of 2010.
Despite taking the best part of 30 minutes to get off the mark Chris Smedley showed his class compiling a patient 68 before falling victim to former Gloucestershire player Mark Hardinges, Andrew Ford made full use of a top order berth with a classy 62 including 5 maximums and there were also useful contributions from newcomers Jon Dovey(34 from 26) and Tom Poole(25 from 31) as the home side posted a total of 281 from a 50 over allocation.
Two early wickets for Poole (2-31) left the College facing and uphill task however Colwall’s Odge Davey combined with first Jefferson and then Bartlett to build 2 useful partnerships which allowed Davey to showcase his talents crafting a belligerent 74. Unfortunately with the Green spin twins Ford and Smedley taking 7 wickets between them at regular intervals Davey’s was a lone hand with the last 6 batsmen for the College only contributing 17 runs, subsiding in 29 overs for 169 all out. Ford finishing with 5-43.
Stiffer opposition were next with the visit of WCL 1st Division favourites Stourbridge. Smedley and Dovey could not continue their form from their first outing with both back in the hutch early and it was left to new import Kiwi Matt McEwan(39) and the inform Ford to rebuild. Ford was majestic and after McEwans rapid debut innings which contained one big shot too many he was joined by Jazzy Clarke who provided excellent support in his innings of 56. Ford continued on to a quite brilliant 124 however when both he and Clarke perished in quick succession the home side’s middle order struggled to continue the momentum as they collapsed from 224-3 to 256 all out.
New overseas signing Matt McEwan bowled with undoubted pace in his first outing for the Green however failed to make an early inroad. Jon Dovey and Matt Brookes however bowled well in tandem, Dovey finding the edge on 2 occasions to dismiss Richard Bradley and Banks both to good low catches by Andrew Ford at slip, Brookes found the edge of Musk’s bat with up to the stumps Binks taking the catch adding to the dismissal of Bingham bowled for 15.
Perhaps a touch of complacency took hold at this point with Stourbridge’s West Indian import Audy Alexander combining with first Jones(27) and then Matt Bradley(56). Despite skipper Williams capturing the scalp of Bradley, Alexander completed a chanceless innings with some brutal blows finishing with a magnificent hundred to go with his 4 wickets and delivering his new side a morale boosting win ahead of their league season.
The final chance to blow away any remaining cobwebs arrived with the visit of Warwickshire League contenders Highway CC. A solid opening partnership of 46 between Sandhu and March (16) gave the visitors a platform to build a solid innings and despite the home side chipping away with 3 wickets to remove Marsh, Patra and Abbey, Sandhu found a willing partner in Jamie Marsh who contributed 44 to a solid partnership which was ended when Sandhu departed for 97 to a fine Dovey catch off Smedley. Shaw added 25 batting at 7 to post a total of 241. Smedley statistically the best of the bowlers with 3-61 and Harris and Jon Dovey both contributing tidy spells.
Despite Golder making an early exit Smedley and Harris combined in a pleasing partnership of 76 before Harris departed for a classy 38. Unfortunately Smedley perished for 40 shortly after to the bowling of Vaughan (who finished with 5-52), McEwan fell with no addition to the score dismissed by Yardley for 15. This set about a monumental collapse with the visitors taking 7-36 in quick time only Dovey(10) and Hennessy(12) of the middle order reaching double figures.
Some lower order resistance from Binks (37) who added 49 with the help of Brookes(4*) gave the score an air or respectability as the home side were dismissed inside 47 overs for 206.
With the modern talk of taking momentum and positives from every game the Green will be happy that during the pre-season several batsman have found some form notably Ford, Clarke, Smedley and Harris. What will be a concern is that with 55 over cricket approaching for the first time in the club’s history the side will need to quickly adapt in order to bat for longer periods of time.
From a bowling standpoint all of the seamers have bowled at least one spell of note a piece and the spinning duo of Ford and Smedley have both captured important wickets.
On the whole though the watch word is patience with building pressure both by keeping wickets in hand and bowling dot balls the key areas to address.
The first game of the BDPCL 1st XI campaign sees Studley visit North End Lane on Saturday with a 12pm start. Tea and refreshments are available to members and non members alike and the bar will be open all day. There is also an evening event to celebrate the 1st Birmingham League game of the clubs history with an exciting local musical act and food available.