After months of anticipation, bat oiling and whispers of a new era, the first game of the 2019 season was upon Crowthorne and Crown Wood Cricket Club. For those lucky 11 to be selected to represent the 1st XI Saturday couldn’t come quick enough, with some new faces and a couple of blasts from the past striding out onto the playing fields once more. Goring was the setting for the first game of the new captain W.Avrili’s reign, with variable weather conditions forecast throughout the day, it was certainly a toss to lose, which Avrili managed to expertly negotiate and we were put in to bat.
As A.Cluett and J.Whitehurst strode out to the middle the rest of the team found any item of clothing they had in a futile attempt to keep warm. Cluett and Whitehurst started strongly in what could become a permanent fixture this season. Whitehurst was the first to fall, a ball skied in the air which was dutifully snaffled up by the Goring fielder. Out came G.Pun (now affectionally known as Kenny), saw off the opening bowlers with A.Cluett. A vicious yorker saw the end of Kenny who also scored the Crows first 4 of the season. In next was the captain, the leader, the dictator, W.Avrili, as he made his way to the crease, new bat in hand he knew a good partnership here was crucial. Cluett continued to play like we all know he can and was producing some of the form from the glory years circa 2013. Both put pressure on the fielders who couldn’t handle the quick running between the wickets and were becoming increasingly frustrated. Avrili was the next to fall, a wicked delivery that leapt like a salmon round his throat resulted in a mistimed pull and edge back to the keeper, and thus ended the partnership of 74. DC was in and out, but this only brought the juggernaut Mikey Brundish to the crease, looking to make amends from last year’s poor performances he quickly got into his stride, biffing the ball to all corners of the ground. In the midst of this A.Cluett fell after looking to push the run rate up even further, he eventually departed for 77, we all hope this is a sign of things to come for him this season. R.Godbole and A.Avrili would follow, but would be merely spectators in the masterclass of pinch hitting that Brundish was producing at the other end. The Crows ended up on a 189 which we thought would be a very defendable total in the conditions.
After tea, the captain had a few inspirational words for the team to rally the troops before entering the Baltic conditions that awaited us out in the field. S.Chandaran picked up where he left off last season with some steady overs picky up 3 maidens on the way as well as showing his new found fielding skills. At the other end, the debutant C.Emes was making a name for himself with some hostile bowling, coupled with some great consistency, which resulted in our first wicket. The batsman flirting at one outside off stump was taken expertly by J.Whitehurst, this would be the first of 3 wickets that Emes would pick up with some dubious sledging from M.Brundish in between (We’re still unsure of what was said). Chris possibly should have had more with a few drops coming later on in the innings.
Wickets began to fall at regular intervals and by the 15th over Goring were struggling at 54/3. However, we began to let them back in the game but cometh the hour, cometh the man, someone who’d be itching for a bowl all week, ready to step into the breach once more, that man was Mr D.Partridge, some were saying this was more of a surprise return than that of his name sake Alan. But Dan stepped up and after a couple of rusty overs, quickly found his groove, after a dubious not out LBW decision Partridge was rewarded after a sensational snare by Cluett in the deep, who managed to take the catch after initially looking like he had dropped it. Unfortunately, this was not caught on camera, much to the disappointment of the team….. This changed the dynamic of the game, and we managed to keep the Goring batsmen at bay, eventually leaving Goring stranded on 154/8 well short of the required 189.
A strong start from the boys and hopefully a sign of things to come under this new talismanic leadership. Every part of the game saw pieces of brilliance from great fielding by A.Cluett and A.Avrili, superb batting by A.Cluett and M.Brundish, and encouraging performances from Emes, Partridge and Whitehurst. On to next week the first home game of the season!
STAT OF THE DAY- Brundish can now be out first ball in every game this season and still have a better average than last year.
Well Done all
W.Avrili – Captain, Leader, Legend….Sessions