Report by Gary Norman

New season, new captain, some new players and in promoted Harlington, new opposition, so how would the 1s do on their first outing of 2015? Allan lost the toss and the C’s were put into bat on a decent April wicket at the picturesque Harlington ground.

Setting an example, the new skipper opened the batting himself along with regular 2’s opener Gary, and things looked promising early on as he creamed a short ball through the point region for four off the second ball of the innings. At the other end, Gary was looking far more scratchy with little foot movement and not much timing. The pair made a decent enough start though, with Allan hitting some nice boundaries and Gary surviving the dangerous in-swing of Read until he was undone on 8, when trying a big shot over mid-off and skewing it to the cover fielder. Debutant Ali came in at three and was gone in the next over to a dubious LBW appeal for 0. The C’s were 35 for 2. Ghaf was in next with the C’s looking to steady the ship. After a couple of quiet overs the openers were finished and it was time for the first change bowler, Bailey to enter the fray. At this point ‘Mystic’ Robbie Cooper, who was scoring made the rather surprising prediction that Ghaf would have a big swing at the new bowler’s first delivery and could be in trouble. As if by magic Ghaf duly obliged by swinging at a full straight ball like a rusty gate, and heard the inevitable rattle of stumps behind him. Cue the excuses… “It moved a mile. It didn’t move when I thought it would. The ambient temperature is different from nets.” …and so it continued. In fact, the excuses were still coming when the returning Blade was given out LBW for 7 and the C’s were tottering at 49 for 4. All this time the skipper was standing at the other end watching the wickets fall, and this combined with his own slowing run rate led to his demise when he tried a big shot and played on for a creditable 32. Two overs later it was Omar’s turn to play a rash shot, top edging to the grateful fielder. His disgust was there for all to see as his bat went flying before he had reached the edge of the square. When Mitul, Anees and Jay went cheaply, the latter two to excellent slip catches, the writing was on the wall. Vish provided some resistance with a couple of lusty blows, but when Robbie drove the ball straight back to the bowlers grasp the game was up and the innings was at an end with just 78 runs on the board.

After a trip to the pub for teas, the C’s went about the difficult task of attempting to bowl out the opposition for less than 78. There was some tight bowling in the opening overs, but no wickets and with the exception of a couple of dropped chances the openers we looking comfortable. It wasn’t until Robbie came on for his second spell with the score in the 60’s that the first wicket fell as Holmes nicked an away swinger to Gary at slip. Jay was unlucky not to get a wicket in the next over when Gary dropped a sharp chance.  Robbie then picked up two wickets in two balls with Ghaf and then Blade taking decent catches. It was all of course, too little too late and the inevitable came via four byes.

So the new season opened with a defeat and no doubt Allan will be hoping for a much improved performance when the C’s host Studham next week. Man of the match goes to the new skipper for his 32 runs and his never say die attitude in what was a difficult start to his reign.