Sam Davis writes on a successful visit to Tunbridge Wells
We arrived at the Neville Ground at around 12:30pm (a few people got stuck in Saturday T Wells traffic arriving a little later) and were greeted with pretty miserable weather: grey cloud and light persistent rain.
We stood around for a good hour and conditions weren’t really improving. We were very close to calling it a day. Thankfully we didn’t because it we went on to produce a very solid performance against a good Tunbridge Wells side.
We agreed to play 30 overs and I Iet them have a bat. At the time I wasn’t sure if we would get a game in and I was keen to have a look at bowlers.
So, we took to the field and the weather dramatically improved with many of us wishing we hadn’t put jumpers on! Naughty Tom and Colin Couldrey opened the bowling and were in a miserly mood with the hosts only scoring five runs in the first 5 overs. However it soon became apparent that it was a good deck and , with a short boundary one side, it seemed that a par score would be quite high.
Naughty Tom took an early wicket with a great snaffle from Moggsy at gully. NT was his usual, reliable self and it felt like he bowled slightly better than 8 overs 1-30. Colin also bowled well and I think he is going to be an important influence on the team this year.
T wells started to tick along and score a few more boundaries once the new ball softened. Moggsy and Joel Couldrey then entered the fray and took the pace of the ball with spin bowling. It’s great to see Splinter back at Hayes- I’m very hopeful that he can play a big part in our season and his head won’t be turned by the prestige of Downham and Bellingham!
Both Moggsy and Rat Boy bowled extremely well. With the short boundary on one side it was not easy to bowl spin. Whilst, we did get hit for the odd boundary they never seemed to get away from us. Taking regular wickets and bowling our fair share of dot balls kept things under control. I had saved 2 overs for Naughty, but the spinners bowled so well that they went through to the end of the innings. Well done to Mogs and Joel taking three and to wickets respectively and limiting T Wells to 156.
I have decided that I will do my best to lead from the front this year and open the batting. I spoke to the batsman before our innings and spoke about the importance of aggressive running between the wickets, which we will be looking to improve this season. We will also try to alternate youth and experience as much as possible in the batting line up to ensure we have an older head out in the middle as much as possible.
Liam Buttery (pictured) and I opened and we got off to a very solid start. Their opening bowlers were good but there was very little sideways movement and we quickly got the scoreboard moving. We saw off the opening bowlers and things got even easier when I, on 28, decided to lob up a half tracker to mid wicket with us on around 60.
Martin Pratt then came in and scored a quick fire 23. We never let the run rate get over a run a ball, which meant that new batsmen coming in didn’t feel under any undue pressure. Josh Pratt also made a quick dozen (JP also took a great catch running in from the boundary) and Michael Robertson was the last to bat, all but finishing the game with a straight six over long off. All these contributions were vital but Liam Buttery provided the most substance to our reply with a very well measured 50 odd not out. An excellent innings with Liam hardly putting a foot wrong. Well done Prince!
Special thanks also go to Leo Webster and Mark Wheatley who were asked to play late in the week and unfortunately neither of them got to bat. I spoke to the team after the game and spoke about the importance of us sticking together. I think the squad this year will mostly be made up of players who came through our colt system or who have played for the club for a long time, which is bound to help a ‘team mentality’.
On another note, Michael Robertson has kindly agreed to be vice captain this year. Robbo has always led by example with the consistency of his batting and I think he has lots to offer in the field. I look forward to him making some valuable contributions this year.
A real confidence booster before the start of the season! We are very keen to get another friendly next week and I think we’re all really up for the first league game of the season at home to Nonington on Saturday 6th May- bring it on!
Updated 10:24 - 8 May 2017 by Harri Kallas