Cavaliers Cricket Club, Colchester, Essex, England

26 April 2010

Debutantes Ball

The Cavaliers 2nd XI could not have asked for a much tougher opening to their 2010 league campaign than a trip to Stebbing. With the visitors missing some notable regulars, playing their first game under new skipper (Vinter) and with three debutants in the line up (messrs. Smith, Clayton and Kearton) there surrounded the fixture a certain air of the unknown, this despite the heavy (heavy) defeats handed out to the visitors by the home side both home and away in 2009.

Vinter having won the toss and elected to field handed the new ball duties to old hands Denton (6-0-38-0) and Adefajo. As is perhaps to be expected in early April both struggled at times to find their rhythm with Winter despatching anything off line to the boundary. Having reached 48 without loss off the first ten overs Wisbey the Younger was unexpectedly brought into the attack with Kearton the only other seamer having unfortunately strained his calf muscle in the first over. Somewhat surprisingly the lack of winter nets paid off for Wisbey as his customary inconsistency was replaced by seam movement - perhaps the result of him having reverted to the most military of military medium pace. The game was to change however courtesy of an inspired spell of bowling from the other end. Debutant Dan Smith sent shockwaves through the Cavaliers' left arm spin department as he proceeded to bowl a superlative spell returning figures of 10-2-22-4, removing four of the home sides top 5 including the vital wickets of Winter (45) and Bentley (24). Upon completion of his spell Smith was replaced by Adefajo who in the process of completing his ten overs (10-0-47-2) removed the last of the home sides recognised galactico's (Law 39). Bailey (8-0-46-1) carrying on from where Smith had left off bowled with his traditional guile but was unfortunate to bowl at a time where Meakin faced with the prospect of no batting partners decided to go on the attack forcing Vinter to turn to Wisbey (10-1-38-1) to bowl out the last of his overs at the death and first ball he removed the dangerous Meakin (40) courtesy of a fine catch from Denton running in from long on. Thereafter the innings rather meandered to a close - the home side finishing on 210 for 8 off their allotted 45 overs.

After what can only be described as a benchmark tea the visitors began their innings only too aware that seeing off the new ball pair of Winter & Meakin would prove vital as always - unfortunately both bowled with their customary accuracy and Johnson and Bailey were quickly removed leaving the visitors struggling at 10-2. Wisbey and Vinter had little choice but to try and see out the opening spells with Winter bowling through and this they did at the expense of the run rate. Having moved the score onto 36-2 Wisbey succumbed to a case of the KP's playing an inexplicable slog sweep to a ball pitching on off stump and found himself back in the pavilion for a sedate 19. The fall of the third wicket proved something of a catalyst for Vinter as he went on the offensive, leading by example and indeed continuing his good form from 2009 despatching anything off line and/or off length with unerring regularity. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers they were unable to shore up the other end with Smith (5) and Clayton (7) both promising good scores before falling to expansive shots. At 74-7 the odds of getting any batting points looked slim but Vinter and Adefajo were able to put on the best partnership of the innings (33) for the 8th wicket before Vinter fell agonisingly short (49) of a richly deserved half century. Adefajo (9) and Denton (4) quickly followed their skipper to the pavilion before Tony "Boom Boom" Mayhew and the ailing Kearton secured a further batting point for the visitors taking the side past 125 and towards the 150 mark before Boom Boom fell to Bishop bringing the innings to a close with the score having reached a respectable 136.

A 76 run defeat may seem an inauspicious start to the season, however, given the strength of the opposition there were far more positives to be taken from the game than negatives. Smith was undoubtedly the star of the show on debut, the fielding was excellent (notables: Adefajo, Denton, Smith & Clayton) and Young performed admirably behind the stumps keeping extras to a minimum. The batting though perhaps misfiring on this occasion certainly showed signs of promise against what can only be described as a very good bowling attack. Wides remain a perennial problem however contributing 17 to the home sides 210 with 11 conceded by Denton alone. If the Cavaliers are to obtain notable victories against the stronger sides this season it is in this facet of the game that they must improve most.

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