After a few false (well, more soggy) dawns, the Cavaliers season finally got under way this evening against the Dave Barlow Invitational XI. Well, I say eleven. It ended up more like seven, with Les and Matt helping Dave to make up the numbers. Those two made useful contributions as Dave kept up his 100% winning record as captain.
We lost the toss and Dave chose to bat. It was a rather damp pitch that didn’t help the batsmen or the bowlers much, but after a couple of overs as sighters Stuart Bowker and Shaun Jarman soon got stuck in to our bowling. We made a couple of half-chances – Jake almost clung on to a difficult one that was hit very hard to him at square leg, and I think we fumbled one in the covers at some point – but first Bowks and then Shaun reached their 25s and retired gracefully. This brought Ian Jarman to the crease, and on his first ball he took a single too sharp and was brilliantly run out by Jake. This induced much mirth among the rest of the Dave Barlow XI and I suspect Ian’s ears are still burning.
Tim Stephens and new Cavalier recruit Matt Greenwood were next in and proved to be obdurate, rotating the strike and hitting the bad balls (of which there were many) to the boundary. Matt tried to slog a straight one from Jake and was bowled, Time retired on 28, and this brought Les and Dave to the crease. Dave didn’t last long, chipping one up to be well caught by Gareth off Jules’s bowling, and this brought Matt Priestley out for an all-Cavalier end to the innings. Matt played a memorable shot down to fine leg to get off the mark, and both played well to finish the innings not out. We had been set 131 to win.
Our innings started with Kev opening the batting and Si being sent out as a pinch-hitter. This experiment payed immediate dividends with four runs coming off the bat in the first four overs. By then we had lost two wickets already, and it was only after Si and I had both been dismissed that we started to pick the rate up a bit. Jules, Aaron and Gareth all made notable contributions in the middle order, but the Cavaliers in Dave’s team had a hand in their dismissals and the tail was left with far too much to do. Dave ended with two wickets (it would have been three if that man Ian Jarman hadn’t dropped a sitter at mid on) and Matt Priestley, fielding at the unfamiliar position of short mid on, took two good catches to finish us off. We scraped together 72 runs, 16 of which were extras.
It wasn’t the easiest pitch to bat or bowl on, and with so many new faces it will take a few games to work out our best batsmen and bowlers. It wasn’t a close game by any stretch, but it was great to get out there and get a game in at last. Let’s hope for a long, hot summer, and look forward to some great cricket ahead.