Tunbridge Wells (h)
21 May 2012 - Gavan Burden
Alfie Berger-North, Harry Bevan-Thomas, Jack Brown, Angus Chambers, Sam Collens, Ryan Gavin, Michael Jacob, Hugh Jones (C), Jack Larsson, Matt Oster (WK), Callum Turner, 12th Man Thomas Spurin
At last! On a cold and mouldy Monday night at Orchard Field we finally got our chance to start our Border League programme after two rain-induced cancellations.
And, lo and behold, guess who came to play us? Only last year’s champions, Tunbridge Wells, to give us a good test after minimal preparation this year. As ever, your writer was full of belief in his squad but justifiably didn’t remind our assembled boys about the disastrous collapse in the same game last year when their leg-spinner Tom Nicholls ripped our middle order apart, especially after I spotted him amongst their number!
So by mutual consent, with some TW players still arriving, the visitors went into bat and soon got into their stride despite opening bowlers, new skipper Hugh Jones and Ryan Gavin keeping a fairly tight lid on things, both ending their initial two-over spells with 0-8 and forcing a run-out early on.
TW batsmen 3&4 had to work hard for their runs but looked comfortable facing an attack which now featured Callum Turner and Harry Bevan-Thomas and both batsmen retired on 27* and 25* respectively despite some decent fielding. CT went for a respectable 9 in his first two overs but then 12 in his next two to finish with 0-21 while HB-T bowled three overs for 17.
Next into the attack came newcomer Michael Jacob who bowled a wonderful first over to pin back the TW batsmen but then tried to bowl too fast in his next and got rightly thumped. Angus Chambers from the other end also lost his line a little and T Wells were starting to pick up runs at will.
After 16 overs we had kept them down to a very tidy 90 though and your umpire ( yes, me again ) was looking for some sweet revenge.. But then our fielders completely forgot the basics and let balls through legs and flailing arms for boundaries which changed the outlook somewhat and didn’t help some decent bowling by debutant Sam Collens who finished with 0-11 off his two overs as TW raced to 113.
And so the tea interval arrived and once again we were treated to a sumptuous feast from Lesley Turner and her team of Michelle Oster, Rachel Bevan-Thomas and Esther Collens. A big thank-you to you all in your never ending quest to help us recruit new players based on the quality of our teas alone !
Your writer gave the boys a half-time pep talk and reminded them that we had thrown away far too many runs ( add a total of 17 extras to that last 4 over give-away ) but that if we batted sensibly and ran well then the game was still within our grasp.
Out into the middle went HJ and CT but they failed to give us the solid start we needed, the skipper picking up 8 runs but failing to get much past the fielder while CT gave an easy catch to mid-off when he should have kept the ball on the ground or given it a real smack. This was true of many of our batsmen last year and we shall have to work harder in getting our boys to drive the ball off the square.
However, Matt Oster was determined to do just that and scored an impressive 19 in his usually aggressive manner before he too holed out easily to a grateful fielder and we were 47-3.
Enter Angus Chambers who showed no such respect for the oppo and proceeded to chance his arm but gave little away to put together a valuable 25* including three impressive boundaries. This put us back on track and after 15 overs we were on 78 and an improbable victory was within our grasp after an unlikely wild over from Nicholls that conceded 11 runs.
After that though they tightened up their act as if scared into action and our remaining batsmen failed to keep up with the rate with only RG managing to get any bat on ball to finish unbeaten on 6, as we crawled our way to a disappointing total of 95.
I had warned the boys at tea that those 20 runs we had given them at the end might come back to haunt us and so it proved but I was actually rather pleased by our overall display to put the frighteners on an experienced TW side.
Ok, so we’ve got plenty to work on this Sunday ready for our next challenge away to local rivals Holmesdale ( one game I really don’t like losing! ), but there was lots that the boys can be pleased with given it was our first game, and I look forward to seeing them learn from this experience.
And a final thanks to Tom Spurin who agreed to be our 12th Man, thus showing good team spirit, and making a valuable contribution during his time in the field.
Well done boys. Onwards and upwards!
Next match : Away to Holmesdale – Monday 28th May @ 18.00