Third team report

Posted by Peter Bainbridge on 14 May 2019

Brentwood 3rd XI 148-3, Shenfield 3rd XI 147

Brentwood win by seven wickets


A match delayed by rain and interrupted by a hail storm ended with the sun shining on Brentwood IIIs as they put their good friends from down the road to the sword in the campaign opener.

It was a typical early-season scene that greeted the home players as they emerged from their winter hibernation in varying degrees of readiness for the summer ahead: covers on, outfield lush and damp, grey clouds skidding across the sky, first team into the second hour of incomprehensible warming-up procedures.

The sun soon showed its face, the back-pitch covers came off. Twenty minutes later, they were back on as the rain sluiced down, leading to a delayed start.

Not even heaving away three covers with flat tyres and gutters blocked by dead leaves can dampen first-game enthusiasm, though, especially when you have inserted the oppo and Dave Balroop has arrived in time to take the new cherry, so it was a vibrant, confident Brentwood team who eventually took to the field.

After a slow start, the honour of first wicket of 2019 went to Paul Degg. Shenfield opener Max Bear’s eyes lit up when Degg sent down a long hop but he fell into a Bear trap and mistimed what was Degg’s slower ball to Ash Medell at midwicket.

Balroop withdrew from the attack after five economical overs to be replaced by the svelte figure of Bryan Atkins, fresh from a winter of hard graft in the gym. Atkins immediately hit a probing line and length and was rewarded with the wicket of the other opener, well snaffled by a diving Nirav Parekh at mid-on.

The skies had been darkening and play was halted after 20 overs by hail (the actual hard, icy stuff that hurts) with the score 40 for two, Brentwood players heaving the covers back on again before puffing and panting their way to dry land.

Play resumed after 30 minutes and some more puffing and panting with the covers, which meant Shenfield would be facing a reduced allocation of 44 overs (39 for Brentwood). Peter Bainbridge had just enough energy left to claim a caught and bowled off Lee Newton, before Atkins induced a leading edge from Arun Gautham which was pouched by Medell at mid-off.

Ollie Todd carted Bainbridge straight to the one man out in the deep, Jack Payne, then Garry Sapsford was clean bowled by the rampant Atkins to make the score 60 for six.

With the innings in danger of imploding, youngsters James McLean and Cameron Spicer opted for attack and struck some sumptuous shots, one of which rocketed straight at bowler Parekh, burst through his fingers and dealt him a painful blow to the head. Parekh bravely carried on but may have wished he had retired when his next delivery, a full bunger, disappeared over the midwicket boundary.

Balroop made a brief return to the attack without luck and with the score having suddenly shot past 100, the final overs were entrusted to Degg and Atkins. Degg caught and bowled Spicer and had Simon Jeffries caught in the ring by Roger Mahadeo before Shenfield captain Dave Castell dawdled over an easy two and was run out by a direct hit from the boundary from Payne. McNair had reached an impressive half-century to bring respectability to the total before becoming Atkins’s fourth victim when caught by Parekh off the last delivery of the innings.

Brentwood dined reasonably contentedly, hoping that the drying conditions would act in their batsmen’s favour. After a late dash back to the pavilion was required to retrieve the forgotten match ball, the innings was eventually opened by Payne and Medell.

The pair looked largely untroubled, Payne delighting the audience by hooking McLean off his nose for six in the manner of Ian Botham against Dennis Lillee at Old Trafford in 1981. The score had cruised to 38 when Medell punched a ball firmly enough for it just to carry to cover for a low catch. Roger Mahadeo came and went without troubling the scorers, being well caught at backward point, to leave Brentwood at 40 for two.

Nigel Bacon entered the scene in what promised to be the key stand between the two leading run scorers of last season. Bacon was not at his most fluent but Payne certainly was, creaming a succession of drives to the boundary with impeccable timing and passing 50 in the 21st over with the score 93 for two.

Bacon was showing doughty resolve at the other end and had battled his way to 29 from 62 balls when, after five dots, was given lbw off the sixth ball of the over (there are suspicions the umpire was becoming bored) to make the score 112 for three.

Jaitan Patel joined Payne and despite there being plenty of overs remaining opted to finish the game in a hurry, hitting four boundaries in his unbeaten 18. When the winning runs arrived in the 32nd over, Payne had scored 74 from 88 deliveries, including seven fours and three sixes. A classy innings.

A pleasing way to kick off the new season, helping complete a clean sweep of league wins for the club’s top four teams.


By Peter Bainbridge





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