Saturday 2nd April
After much maintenance works and improvements to the facilities over the winter, we readied ourselves for the first match of the 2016 season. The batsman awoke nervously on Saturday morning facing the prospect of a new challenge with the new wicket, would the ball come on to the bat like before???
Unfortunately the weather had different plans, it poured cats and dogs on friday, and saturday morning, at about 11am the rain stopped and the atmosphere started building! It was decided 30 overs could be played. Simon won the toss and decided to settle the boys nerves and to put them into bat, Andy "Emotional" Tysoe and James opened our account for the year, Andy anchored the innings and survived a few early scares to amass 47 not out, using his experience to guide the ball onto his bat, and get used to the new bounce of the wicket. James Davies who loved the old mat and swatted the ball away with gusto, was caught early by a skiddy ball, Tom Gallagher who also scored with ease on the old mat, was also surprised by the bounce, and cashed in early.
Enter Tysoe's hero Jeff Barker, who also has many hours batting under his belt at Biniparrell, rolled back the years with a dashing knock of 28, a sight to behold Andy T and Jeffrey B running like Gazelle's between the wickets, as the previous rain made the outfield very slow. Having burnt enough calories Jeff struck 3 consecutive fours, and then was bowled. Tom Brewer made his first appearance without troubling the scorer, Enter the skipper, foaming at the mouth, with his usual distaste for the red ball, trying as always to punish the little fella and dispatch him to fields beyond the boundaries of Biniparell. The hit out or get out, philosophy was followed to the letter, 9 balls, 8 runs and one defensive shot (of sorts), before Simon, eyed one ball in orbit, missed it and was bowled! Jake Cockroft, had made huge improvements with his bowling last season, and after a winter pumping iron and working on those guns, looks as though his batting will get the work out this year! He batted on to 18 runs undefeated bringing Menorca's total to 119 runs for 6. The general consensus at lunch is the new wicket has much less bounce than the old! Was this the rain? Is it because it is much thicker than the old threadbare wicket? These questions will be answered as the season goes on! Chris Fox was the Pick of the Cyptics bowlers taking 2 wickets for 30 runs off 5 overs, And Alex Hutchinson deserves a mention for bowling 6 miserly overs for only 7 runs.
After a great lunch by Sarah and Jo, the boys took to the field, James Davies dismissed opener Jason Doole with only his second ball, a cheeky one that moved away slightly and Jason nicked it to Andy Tysoe. John Hamilton and Ben Hardy then set about our bowlers, playing some sublime shots, and amassed 33 runs and 57 respectively. Chris Ward must be a very unlucky chap as he was caught by "The Bangladeshi Express" himself, Boom Boom Hassan, and regular spectators will know, lovely chap and lethal bowler as he is, catching is not his forte! So the team spirits we lifted enormously when Hassan held on to his steepler of a catch.
Seb Sayer, Tom Brewer, Tom Gallagher, and Jake Cockroft all bowled well, and economically to keep the game alive. Special mention to Hassan, who bowled 4 overs for only 9 runs, and to James Davies who bowled 6 overs, for 20 runs claiming one wicket.
The match now back in the balance, it all went down to the last over, where the Cryptics, managed to get the required run rate with two balls to spare. Leaving Menorca in second place in the first match of the season. After the match beer and banter was enjoyed, leading to a a couple of emotional facebook posts later that evening, and the Menorca boys dreaming of Victory in the next match.
Menorca 119 for 5 off 30 overs
Cryptics 120 for 5 off 29.4
Sunday 3rd April
Sunday saw normal service resumed on the weather front! Blue skies and rays of sun shone down on Biniparrell. Menorca won the toss and having batted first on Saturday, and lost put the Cryptics into bat first. Jason Doole made 20 runs before being caught by Graham croft off the lively bowling Tristan Dulligall. John Hamilton amassed 31 before Seb Sayer bashed his pads plumb in front of the stumps. Ben Hardy made 21 before being bowled by Paul Hawkins.
Alex Hutchinson made a brisk 31 with some lusty blows, and Marcus Ward finished the Cryptics innings on 14 not out, bringing the total for the innings to 158 for 5 off the 40 overs. James Davies bowled 8 overs for 28 runs, Tom Gallagher 8 overs for 25, Seb Sayer 6 overs for 13 runs with one wicket, Paul Hawkins bowled 8 overs for 20 runs taking two scalps.
Another fantastic MCC lunch!
The MCC batsmen took to the wicket ready top chase down the total and even the scores. James Davies a little more cautious than Saturday, bashed 21 of 16 balls to get us off to a flyer. Tom Gallagher opened with him, also feeling the love, much stronger than Saturday, and fought his way to 55 from 63 balls before being caught by Bob Porter (kindly being a turncoat and playing for the oppo!) Paul Hawkins then took up the mantle and artfully played to 32. Seb Sayer then took on the anchor role, wistfully guiding us to the end, seeing Tafazzul Haque come and go. Leaving Russel "The Flash" Clark Jones, to see us out for the win with Seb, who finished 36 not out, and Menorca 162 for 4 off 34 overs. So the weekend all in all was great success on and off the field, and ended up a win a piece! Roll on next weeks challenge!!
Match Report courtesy of Dan Osterbery