The 1st team started their debut season in Division One a week late due to the weather. Hadleigh were the opponents and other than the one familiar face, the visitors posed an unknown threat – something that we will have to get used to as the season goes on! The weather hadn’t been great the night before so neither captain would have needed much encouragement to have a bowl, even with the new look square at Copford looking like a bowling green. As expected skipper James Bell lost the toss and his side were inserted not really knowing what a good score would be.
Openers Ian Catley and Kieran Savill took to the crease both looking for a good start to the season. Kyle Tanner took the new ball for the visitors having finished as top wicket taker in the division last season and would have been expecting to make early inroads. However, this would not be the case as a combination of patience, a bit of luck and some erratic bowling led to a healthy opening stand for the home side. A flurry of boundaries meant the run rate was also good and once the nerves had settled somewhat both openers looked ready to set a solid base. The visitors decided to take the pace off with the introduction of their captain Ben Wallis’ off spin and the run rate began to slow down slightly. Catley was eventually dismissed for 49 looking to push one into the off side and getting bowled by Wallis. The inevitable murmurs of ‘jug avoidance’ coming from the pavilion as Catley dawdled off with the score on 98.
This started the fightback from the visitors as Kligerman, Bell, Sargeant and the debutant Richards all fell for single figures as Copford stumbled to 141 for 5 and the match in the balance. However, at the other end Savill remained and seemed untroubled as he passed 50 and continued to press on. Cameos from Andy Reid and Mike Kettle helped increase the run rate and with Sav continuing to find the boundaries the score passed 200 with around five overs left to bat. Sav brought up his hundred and then used what seemed to be the last of his energy to signal to his teammates – a fantastic knock under pressure. His innings came to an end as Savill attempted an outrageous reverse sweep only to guide the ball onto off stump. However, there was still time for a flurry of boundaries from Russell Measor as the score was pushed up to 229 for 9 at the end of the innings.
After a fantastic tea from the skipper and his better half, the home side took to the field knowing they were very much in the game but still had to bowl well. Early wickets were required and Measor duly bowled the away side’s skipper with the score on just 3. The home side struggled to contain the run rate and it looked as though the only way they would be successful would be to take wickets. Another 1st team debutant, Tom Helmer, did just that taking two wickets on an impressive start. Having bowled Hadleigh’s opener Ben Parker, he then had Marlon Dias caught at mid-off and the game was in the balance.
The introduction of Hadleigh’s overseas to the crease caused another increase in tempo and the runs began to flow. All of the Copford bowlers struggled to gain any control and with the short boundaries on one side the score began to move at a very quick rate. Skipper James Bell looked to all of his bowlers to make the breakthrough but none were successful with a couple of aggressive shots just evading fielders and a couple of inside edges narrowly avoiding the stumps. Eventually Hadleigh’s number three brought up his own century in impressive fashion and the game was gone. The visitors reached their target for the loss of just three wickets as the light set in on a cold April day.
A few harsh lessons were learnt on our introduction to Division One cricket but there was many positives to be taken as well, notably the performances of Kieran Savill with the bat and Tom Helmer with the ball. We face Worlington at home next week looking to bounce back and get the first win of the season. Once again the wooly jumpers are going to be needed as the Great British Summer hasn’t quite started yet!