Opening game of the league season and fines for 9 players for turning up late to Frimley CC. Most blamed the traffic, others blamed Bretty for picking up a meal deal on the way.

Nevertheless, a solid warm up meant we were more or less ready to get started. It wouldn’t be Whiteley without Dan losing the toss, and that’s exactly what happened, coming back from the middle with the news we had been sent out to bat.

The unfortunate early wicket of Jim saw the classic partnership of Dan Roberts and Terry Pope return after Terry’s long awaited return from injury. After putting in a solid partnership of 66 in reasonably quick fashion, the excitement got the better of Terry as he set off down the track for a quick single as the ball rolled calmly to mid-wicket. Dan wasn’t having any of it and, knowing Terry’s turning ability, the opposition took their time to take the bails off. Two throws and then walking to the stumps, quality cricket all round.

Perhaps the fact that Roberts was on 43 at the time had played on his mind, as he looked in good form and determined to get to 50. This was achieved just a few balls later. It quickly became apparent, however, that there was no real plan for what he would do after getting to 50, and unfortunately I lack the descriptive writing skills to properly explain what we all witnessed the very next ball. Slog sweep, perhaps? No. Out, bowled for 53.

O. Harris was the next wicket to fall, starting the duck cup off early having been given out LBW on his first ball. Unfortunate, perhaps, as the general consensus was that it was too high. Impressive batting down the leg side from C. Cliff and Bretty prevented the traditional Village batting collapse that would normally have followed, and contributions from every other batsmen led to a respectable score of 179 all out, of 37.5 overs.

Plenty of players getting in and looking comfortable before losing their wickets, which can certainly be seen as a positive thing and a marked improvement from the previous season. It’s important to keep the concentration up at all times though, as with 7.1 overs remaining, the score could have been quite a bit higher. 7 out of 10 I reckon.

Tea was incredible. It had everything a person who’s steadily been putting on too much weight would want. Ham and cheese baguettes, pizza, sausage rolls, bacon rolls and ‘Hamwiches’ (A quick google has revealed that these are triangles of chopped turkey ham, topped with cheese and coated in breadcrumbs… otherwise known as a taste sensation.) I’m reliably informed that there was some form of salad there too, but unfortunately I didn’t get that far down the table. I must also mention that the orange squash throughout the day had been diluted consistently and at a tasty level, something that is very hard to get right. This experience was up there with the best of them, I’m giving it a 9 out of 10.

Frimley’s turn to reply to a total that, whilst decent, was definitely chase-able. Dan must have been regretting his decision to open the attack himself, after the second ball of the innings was dispatched for a huge six; clearing the ropes, the fence and nearly clearing the trees too. Other than that, tidy bowling from both Dan and Nishant Patel ensured that their opening batsmen were reasonably subdued by their own standards. Special mention to Nishant for clearing up Frimley’s top three batsmen, leaving them at 60 for 3 with plenty of work to do.
T. Pope and Aamir Zahoor then joined the party, restricting Frimley with some very tidy bowling and collecting 3 wickets and 7 maidens between them during this dominant spell, including an absolutely sensational catch from Aamir off his own bowling; finishing his action just in time and finding the balance to leap to his left for a one handed grab that wouldn’t have looked out of place at Lords.

Two quick wickets from James Tubby, including Sam Brett’s 4th catch of the day, put the village in a very strong position. With Frimley at 105 for 8, 75 runs needed to win, the team took their foot off the gas, allowing Frimley to get back into the game and cause a mild sweat amongst the village players. Two calamitous drops from Harris and Smith respectively did little to ease concerns, although did provide a few laughs in the changing room at the end of the game. It was, then, left to Aamir Zahoor to finish proceedings, whipping one in outside off that was flashed at hard by the number 11, giving Sam Brett the opportunity to take his 5th catch of the day and ending Frimley’s innings at 157 all out off 41.5 overs. 7 out of 10 again.

All in all, a strong performance to start the season off, with some areas to work on. Promising signs in both batting and bowling, and some fantastic fielding thrown in too, there’s a good feeling about this year.

MOM – Sam Brett
DOD – Olly Harris