|Date||20 May 2017|
|Venue||Brentwood Cricket Club|
|Result||W (Brentwood CC 260/7 G.Bull 101 M.Davis 63, Shenfield CC 94 D.Balroop 4-23)|
Week Two of the season saw the visit of Shenfield which coincided with their 1st XI also at the OCG on the front pitch.
With the covers on the back pitch doing a great job over what has been a very moist week I think to the great effort by the working parties pre-season to make our facilities the best around.
It looked a belter to bat on, but with overhead conditions uncertain, Shenfield skipper ..... opted to bowl after calling correctly. The still-raw Pocock would've likely done the same but was still confident nonetheless.
A new opening pair were opted for with the hard hitting Harry Hobson and youngster George Bull given the opportunity. Hobson did exactly as expected and took the game to Shenfield's new ball partnership clobbering four 4's in his first 8 balls faced. Sadly the 9th beat the swinging blade and he was bowled for 20. That breezy start allowed Bull and no.3 Bacon to settle without fear of scoreboard pressure. Bull started to find rhythm earlier and freed his arms to clear the ropes before bringing up his 50 inside the first 20 overs.
Just as Bacon was looking like he'd got his eye in, he missed a straight one and was bowled for 15. This brought the returning 1st XI captain from yesteryear Mick Davis to the crease for his first innings in 11 years. If ever there was proof that form is temporary and class is permanent, this innings was. Davis carved a number of boundaries interspersed with nudging the singles to keep the the rate ticking along in a strong partnership with Bull. Then came a wonderful moment as Bull, having smashed a lovely straight 6 the over before, cut a ball behind square for 2 that brought up his maiden century. Shortly after he departed holing out to the square leg boundary for 101, a fantastic knock. Skipper Pocock was in next and was back in hutch with his pads off before Bull had even soaked up all the plaudits on the boundaries edge. Balroop was in next and following a second short delay and with the scoreboard healthy the instruction was to push for an early declaration. Davis (63) was eventually run out with an excellent direct hit from the boundary. Two more wickets fell with Balroop (16) bowled and Degg (0) caught in the covers before Brailey (8*) and Harb (6*) hustled and scurried for the final 18 runs before Pocock called the side in 2 overs early with 260 on the board.
Fired up by the high standards achieved last week and buoyed by runs on the board the opening pair of Degg & Balroop set about making early inroads. Balroop was first to strike with the familiar inducker rapping the pads of captain David Castell and the dreaded finger being raised at the other end. Next man in Harris never looked comfortable either against the Caribbean King of Swing and was bowled off a feint inside edge. At the other end, Degg was coming through wind behind at a good pace but left handed opener Ballington remained strong playing aerial strokes to move to 31 quickly. His timing ran out though and a Degg short ball saw him sky one to Balroop's safe hands at mid on.
Balroop picked up another two wickets in his spell with two more in-swinging balls to trap Ramzan LBW and bowl Bukhari. Degg had managed to pick up the scalp of youngster Max Bear, fresh off a score last week he didn't look comfortable against Degg's pace or bounce and eventually offered up a chance to Pocock who ran round to just behind square to take a sliding chance (strangely with only one glove). 16-5-60-6 made for great reading as an opening pair and it felt like the hard work was done. Now to finish them off.
The hard hitting Malik hit Bull for a couple of big sixes but had no other shot when cramped for space and literally turned his back on the ball as was out LBW to debutante Grant Smith having been hit on the calf. Amongst the spectators were Smith's girlfriend and her mum and keen to impress, Grant took a second wicket in the over brushing the off stump of Naqvi. 2-13 represented a good first league outing for the Yorkshire lad. Bull added to his dream day bowling Malik for 3 before old hand Micky Payne wrapped up the match teasing no.11 Ullah into a mistimed cut to Degg in the covers and that was that. Shenfield all out for 94 and a 166 run victory and 25 more points to Brentwood.
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