13th May vs Gravesend (A)
We arrived at the Bat and Ball ground full of confidence after our convincing win the week before. On top of that, the team was looking even stronger with the addition of Chris Harden. It was definitely the strongest side I have skippered since taking over last season.
We won the toss, unfortunately, and I was obliged to bat and go for the 20 points.
The wicket at Gravesend generally plays well and we had to back ourselves to bowl them out. The wicket looked a little softer than normal.
The message to the batting line up was: get forward and don’t play cross bat shots until we had assessed the bounce of the wicket.
Scotty G and I opened. We got off to a bit of a flyer and were 50 odd for no wicket after 10 overs.
They gifted us a lot of runs bowling on my legs and feeding Scotty with waist high full tosses, which Scotty dispatched convincingly.
This gave us a great platform and barring a disaster we were always going to set a big total.
Scotty fell to a catch at mid wicket soon after, just getting through his shot a little early.
Pratt senior then entered the fray and Gravesend then proceeded to put the squeeze on with spinners bowling tightly from both ends.
We probably only went at 2 an over for the next 7/8 overs but we didn’t panic and the boundaries eventually came.
After a slow start Pratty started to bat really fluently scoring frequent boundaries straight and over mid wicket.
By the time drinks came we had reasserted ourselves on the game with over 100 and still only one down.
I fell for 40 odd and we stuttered a little between 30-40 overs as new batsman looked to get themselves in.
Having said that Pratty remained in full flow and looked set for another 100 before eventually falling for 80 odd- another superb knock!!
Chris Harden made a sound 20 odd and Liam Buttery scored a very quick 20 odd of his own at the end of the innings in partnership with Joel Couldrey to get us to a total of 228.
I felt this was way over par! Their bowling had been mediocre at best and I was very confident that our potent bowling attack had plenty of runs on the board to play with.
Bowling first last week it was more a question of limiting runs with a 4th stump line. The message this time was to make the batsmen play and bowl at middle and off stump to ensure we got the 20 wickets.
Andy Eddicot bowled superbly and took 4 very quick wickets in his first spell.
The Gravesend top order came out swinging and, luckily for us, they seemed in no mood to pat back for a draw. Beast was his ever reliable self and benefited from some solid catches taken in the slips and at cover.
The Gravesend skipper came in at 6 and batted well. He batted patiently initially and held up an end.
After a quick experiment with Scotty G opening the bowling Naughty Tom came on at the other end and bowled another 15 overs on the spin. He kept chipping away and ended up with 4 for 45, including three dropped catches!
We eventually got their skipper, driving on the up, and caught by Scotty G at point off the bowling off Mark Trevatt. Mark bowled a promising spell at decent pace and looks to be improving with every game.
At this point we looked set to bowl them out for less than 100 but unfortunately their number 10 smashed a quick 50. We had very attacking fields and runs were not really a factor. It did start to get a little irritating but Joel Couldrey eventually bowled their number 11 to wrap up the game.
Ironically, we felt a little deflated coming off because we felt we should have bowled them out earlier!
I reminded the team in the changing room of the superb start we had made to the season.
I think it’s a good sign, however, if we are coming away with victories and are still looking for ways to improve our team performance.
Thanks again to Harry for organizing a panel umpire for us. I would also say that the Gravesend boys were very warm hosts and were very good value in the bar. We must make an effort with them when they come to us mid-season.
Well done to everyone that has played for the team so far!!
Tomorrow is a massive game against Bexleyheath who have also taken 40 points from their first two games.
A few boys will be making their seasonal debuts but the team is still looking very strong and I am confident we can keep our 100% record going.
Updated 16:39 - 23 May 2017 by Harri Kallas