The forecast was patchy for the early part of the afternoon with showers expected; but it was expected to become much more sunny into the late afternoon and evening.? The game started well, therefore, as the toss was duly won and the skipper elected to field preferring to chase and bat in better, sunnier, conditions.
We opened with Matt Bolshaw and Chris Lilford.? Chris immediately found movement in the air and got Chris Ovens behind the stumps to dive for a few early on.? Matt, too, started well and managed to nip their opener out without troubling the scorers ? courtesy of a sharp catch by James Jackson at gully!? 0-1 was a great start just before the rain came.? 40 mins later and with the game now reduced to 40 overs a side, we resumed.? 10-1 soon became 50-3 and whilst the scoring rate was at the higher end of comfort, the number in the wickets column gave good comfort.
At drinks Spelthorne were on around 110-3 off 22.? However, after drinks; and what is a common thing with PCC at the moment; we half switched off for 10 overs or so and managed to let a reasonable grip on the innings slip.? By over 32 Spelthorne had amassed around 80 runs with their big number 6 punishing anything slightly off length.? Without a deep and experienced bowling resource it was always going to be a challenge.? Even the ?coming out of retirement Cox? was unable to wrestle back any momentum.? However the last 8 or so overs did come with some reward; some good fielding produced a good run-out and some good bowling from Matt earning him 3 more wickets to finish with a deserved 4-fer.? Special mention also needs to go to Ed Beesley for bowling straight through his 8 overs in a fantastic spell that was unlucky not to get any reward.? At close Spelthorne got 239 off their 40 overs.? 50 more than was planned, but still gettable.
We then took tea.
In reply we opened with the in-form James Spence and Harry Davies.? The instructions were clear: nullify the early onslaught of the Spelthorne opening bowling partnership being positive in defence and pick off anything loose.? This both batsman did extremely well; particularly James; producing a fantastic opening partnership off 100 off just over 20 overs. ??This was just the foundation we needed.? But unfortunately we weren?t able to capitalise on this; Harry fell for 17 and soon after I went in at 3, James fell for a very well made 72.? It was time to refocus but unfortunately Spelthorne?s second-change bowlers were as handy and wily as their opening bowlers and runs were at a premium.? Bala fell trapped in front to a good Yorker and I feel softly trying to push the scoring on as we approached the 30th over.? Ovens, Lilford and Bolshaw followed quickly and we were soon staring down the barrel.? A couple of lusty trademark blows from Jackson gave us reason to smile, though the game was now over.? In the end we were all out for 145.
Whilst this was another bitterly disappointing result (and the third league loss in our campaign) we must not lose heart.? We need to recognise we were a weakened side and Spelthorne, relative to last year, were much stronger (they had picked up 3 or 4 League players from Barnes Cricket Club; players who moved on because they weren?t getting into Barnes? first eleven!!)? In consideration of this, we must take heart that, during a large part of the match, we were competitive.? So we must believe we can continue to compete when we are faced with future stern tests.? Belief is crucial.? Secondly, during the smaller sections of the game when we were less competitive, we were mostly to blame due to reduced concentration.? Remaining switched on is also crucial.? Above all, we must strive to enjoy our cricket.? It?s a long game and often our heads go down when the ball sails over the fence when we are fielding; or when we lose a quick couple of wickets.? Cricket is a long game, so momentum is critical.
Onwards and upwards.