With the surprise news over the winter that we had been promoted to division 3, our first league game of the new season took us to Radley College to face, you guessed it, Radley.
After a quick diversion to the second team pitch we found our way to the pitch we were meant to be on, not a problem we’ve faced often, but when a club has 6 pitches to choose from like Radley do I suppose it can come up.

Our new skipper, IC, got off to the perfect start by winning the toss and putting Radley in to bat. A decision enjoyed by our top order batsmen who had come to the same decision themselves. It was blowing an absolute gale as we warmed up, with much enjoyment being had at chasing caps across the outfield. After a brief Phil Brown esq team talk the game got underway with Ryan and Duncan opening the bowling. A tight start saw the overs keep up with the runs for the first ten or so overs before Launchbury decided it was time to get the big drives out. Those who’ve played against Launchbury before know that once its hit, it stays hit, and this was the case today.

It wasn’t until the first change bowlers came on that we made our breakthroughs, Mike bowling the other opener with an absolute jaffa. The batsmen’s comments as he departed of “I missed a straight one” by no means did the ball justice, pitching outside off and jagging back to hit middle and leg. The bad news was that this brought a left hander to the crease, who turned out to be 16, and stuck around for a fair while scoring 49. Such a shame he isn’t old enough to drink the jug avoidance jug he should have been forced to purchase.
At the other end, after getting a bit of tap, Barry picked up the wicket of Launchbury (48) at deep extra cover, a cracking catch by Konsh in the strong spiralling wind.
Mike gave way for Chaz, skipper thinking it most valuable to have Panels bowling whilst the sun was out. A good decision as it turned out with Chaz taking a wicket with his trademark channel bowling.

Ryan and Mike came back to bowl the death overs, both bowling tight (minus Mike’s final over). Ryan picked up a couple of wickets, a sharp caught and bowled removed the lefty and then bowling the new bat in quick succession.

Radley finished on 200-5, considering the quality of the pitch and the small boundaries this felt gettable and we were pretty happy with our overall performance in the field to restrict a strong batting side to this total. Other moments of note from the field were the drops by Nib and Chaz, both would have been snaffled up if this wasn’t the first game of the season. Stuey waving at the batsmen whilst they were talking about who were our strong fielders, in order to not be left off the list. Congrats to Mike and Ryan for also getting a mention, without having to self-publicise. Chaz also, very fittingly, was described as “keen for an old chap”. A mention also has to go to Will, who spent most of the day at slip/gully getting hit, including the rare occurrence of a slipper taking one on the ‘middle leg’.

Decent enough tea, shared in a small hut with the other two teams playing on another pitch. The hot sun, numerous people, and egg sandwiches weren’t the most pleasant mix however.
So on with the chase. Nib and I (Dinosaur) opened the batting, and what a faultless opening partnership we had. In no way was I dropped on 4 and 30 odd and in no way did Nib play and miss a ‘few’. With those misdemeanours out of the way the opening pair took us to 70 odd just before drinks where Nib (18) was caught at mid on trying to go over the top. Replacing him was Baz who played his standard conservative innings, scoring a quick fire 31 before being caught at deep cover off an outside edge.

However, before he went, he did have the pleasure of watching me reach my hundred, my third in consecutive innings if you take into account the end of the last season’s league fixtures.

A run by run account is available on request.

Chuckles Lane came in at 4, to cheers from the Radley boys that the final 30 runs would have to come from one end, based on the two big LBW appeals from Tim’s first two balls this may have looked the case. Chuckles quickly found his form however and slog swept the Radley opening bowler for 4 to get off the mark, and never looked back.

Needing 10 more, once again, in no way was I dropped 2 out of 3 balls by the bowler on 110, honest.

Limmy Tane (18*) scored the winning runs, with 4 overs to spare, with an inside edge for four. Hey, they all count right?

Champagne moment went to Ryan for his caught and bowled effort.

Pigs ear, quite rightly went to Chuckles. Whilst off strike, he perfidiously blocked a straight drive with his bat at the bowler’s feet and then continued trying to run the single.

Man of the match was Dinosaur for his 116 not out.

A new award for this season being introduced by the new skipper is the Thanks For Coming (TFC) award, this week this went to Will.

A strong start to the season with a valuable 27 points and a point proven that we are worthy of division 3 cricket.