The 4th XI started this season far more convincingly than they began the last. In fact everything about the build up to the 1st game was significantly better and it showed in the performance. With availability exceptional for this time of year, a strong side headed round the M25 for the opening fixture. (well most of us did, we think Nina went via Dartford….)
After winning the toss and electing to field, M Baines and M Ventham were unleashed upon the poor unsuspecting opening pair. Baines in particular was looking more threatening with every ball, his pace and movement at this level was just too much for them, and he removed the first 5 batsmen in his opening spell. It is worth mentioning that every ball from either end could have produced a wicket, with various plays and misses, and any runs that did come were invariably to the third man region. A finer opening spell you could not wish to see at this level. After 18 overs we had stamped our authority on the game, something we failed to do all last year.
With Oxted reeling at 50/5 the change bowlers (Amyett-Lier and Shahid Rajput) continued the pressure, and continued to chip away at the wickets, grabbing a couple each. As is always the case, Oxted resisted slightly at 7 down with some late hitting (some lucky, some good shots, but all a pain!) Yash Patel on League debut bowled finely to removed the left hander doing most of the damage, spinning one back to remove the leg stump, (and probably save 4 buzzers). From there it was a fairly routine procession and the oppo finished 132 all out. 40 more than they should have got, but we would certainly have taken that at the start.
If there were any nerves about the chase they were soon put to bed as Anoop Manro (with new bat!) and Mugsy (Adil Rashid) set about chasing the target down excellently. Both finding the boundary regularly, and we were very soon 50/0 and on our way. Mugsy ended in the 40’s and Anoop late 20’s. We eventually got there 5 wickets down, with a good old fashioned Sunbury wobble as we got near the target, but Jack Greaves batted very sensibly and maturely, ending not out in the 20’s to ensure we got over the line with more than enough in the tank.
Please excuse the lack of clarity on batsmen’s scores, as the ScoreBook is currently in Oxted & Limpsfield’s changing room, awaiting postage back to the club….