Our first home game of the season started with the toss being lost and Bracknell opting to bat on a decent wicket with small boundaries. It looked like we would have to start with 10 until opening bat/footwear supplier Matt Funnell appeared just before the start allowing us to have a complete team and giving our opening bowler Chris Floater some footwear.
Captain Matt Alexander briefed the team instructing the bowling attack to give away no ‘freebies’ in the shape of wides and half-trackers, naturally he managed to bowl a wide in his first over. Despite the new footwear Chris (10-1-34-5) started very well picking up two quick wickets. Matt A (10-0-37-1) added another wicket as Bracknell’s innings stuttered. However, their opener was scoring quickly looking “Growler-esque” before becoming Chris’s third victim.
From this point Bracknell rebuilt their innings with a partnership between their skipper and their best batsman. Nick Lynch (5-0-38-0) replaced Chris in hope he could continue his bowling form from the previous week’s 4-fer. Despite bowling well, anything fractionally short was punished with the short boundaries. At the other end, Alex Murray (5-1-21-1) came on to bowl in his ‘first debut’, producing a short spell keeping things tight. Matt F (4-0-20-0) took the ball and bowled mostly accurately with just one poor ball being hit for six via the hands of Santosh Mandal. As soon as his mandatory rest ended, Chris returned. He continued where he left off, taking two more key wickets to get a well-deserved 5-fer! Bomber (5-0-34-0) made a brief appearance in the attack but struggled to make an impact. After one over of Baiju Nakraja (1-0-13-1) resulting in a wicket, it was left to Alex and Matt F to finish up and they restricted Bracknell to 219 with Alex picking up his first senior wicket.
Standout bowling performances: Chris and Alex. A great 5-fer from Chris and some tidy bowling from Alex on debut.
Standout fielding performances: Nigel Rice kept well with 3 catches and almost holding on to a catch in front of first slip! Justin Dillon also came up with a great catch, sprinting from mid-on to take a catch at cow corner.
Tea was kindly provided by Nick at the Windlesham Club. A five minute walk from our ground: most walked, a few drove and one of our players decided to drag his cricket bag to tea for reasons unbeknown to rest of the team.
Matt F and Broomey opened the innings and built a solid 50 run partnership before Broomey (17) tried to up the ante with a few big shots resulting in a simple catch at mid-off. Alex was next in and eased his nerves with a flick of his legs to score his first run, a snick through the slips later and Alex (6) was gone. In came Nigel who built upon his solid innings last week with a series of fine cut shots, meanwhile Matt F (61) batted maturely and skilfully to score a fifty at over a run a ball before succumbing to an LBW.
The run rate was creeping upwards when Matt A entered at number 5. Nigel (20) played one cut shot too many as a good diving catch by their skipper at point ended his innings. Justin joined Matt at the crease as they faced the task of seeing themselves in while ensuring the required run rate did not get out of hand. As the game seemed to be slipping away from the Baggies they received some luck from the Bracknell leggie, previously bowling tightly, his length became erratic allowing Bagshot to pick up 27 runs from one over. The odds now seemed to favour Bagshot as Matt F placed a bet of £5 on our victory (the bookie that takes bets on division 8 cricket is unknown). Bracknell’s star batsman proved himself to be their star bowler too as he yorked Justin (10) and Santosh (0) in consecutive balls bring Nick to the crease to play a vital innings.
With 18 runs needed off 18 balls with two set batsman at the crease, Matt A (62) managed to miss a straight one resulting in Chris’s introduction to the crease. A few quick runs meant Bagshot remained in the game until Nick (12) swung and missed as his stumps were cleared up. Baiju (1) faced one ball, playing a lovely cut shot but then run out trying to get two runs. Bomber came in and swung hard getting a run before the game was wrapped up with Chris F (2) being bowled and Bagshot losing by 8 runs.
Notable Batting Performances: Matt F and Matt A bouncing back from ducks last week to score fifties this week; Matt F showing his ability to build an innings as he takes on the responsibility of being our senior batsman while Matt A displaying his ability to score quickly in the middle order.
Overall, for a makeshift team only completed at 9PM on Friday night and missing its senior batsman and bowler it was a performance to be proud of.