2s Triumph - Just!
A mixture of unceremonious shots along with some good bowling from the oppositions left arm spinner looked to be helping us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
So we welcome a new season and some new players, but some things will always remain the same. We never like making life easy for ourselves.
Having picked up the scorebook, the team sheet, and attempted to find out who our new recruits were and what they did, we travelled what seemed like hours to get to our season opener at Warlingham.
Successful in our first task of the season (the coin toss), we confidently strolled out to bowl on what looked to be a slow soft track. Zak and Sankit chose their ends and then came the first challenging decision of my day of stand-in captaincy - how to deploy the 5 fielders we had and could I afford to stand at slip as usual?
Having got through the first over - the highest scoring one of a low scoring match - our numbers increased by the arrival of two of our belated four team mates. Whether psychological or not, the batsman seemed confused by our plugging of the huge gaps in the field and promptly missed two straight balls, one being bowled and the other adjudged plum in front.
By over four we were at our full compliment of eleven. Some excellent bowling by Zak, Sankit and Iamronbasnet (no I am Ron Basnet) along with the customary suicidal run out, and three dropped catches, had the opposition at about 60-6 when the drinks break arrived.
Discussions and advice was plentiful. 'Bowl here - field there - if we do this we can roll them for under a hundred.' Shahid, one of three debutants in the side, may have sensed blood and some easy pickings as he stepped up his pace following his thimble of orange juice and picked up the remaining wickets ending with figures of 4 overs, 2 maidens, 4 wickets for 4 runs.
Confidence doesn't come easy to anyone with a history of Roehampton cricket. Surely needing only 70 to win should have been such an occasion, but no, the tea break provided an opportunity to debate the potential demons in the pitch and probably more likely within our batting line up.
Our innings could probably be described in three parts.
First came the incredibly solid and stoic Boycottesque performance by Mods and Hemish. I'd sent them out with instructions to bat the 45 overs, and until our first wicket fell after 25 overs with the score on 36, I thought they might actually do it.
Second came the middle order collapse. 42-1 quickly became 60-8. A mixture of unceremonious shots along with some good bowling from the oppositions left arm spinner looked to be helping us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Only Waqas, another of our debutants, looked confident with bat in hand during this part of our innings.
Thirdly came the tail end resistance. Stuart and Ron steered us home with a mixture of solid defence, sensible single taking and most importantly, staying out in the middle for long enough to let extras get us over the line.
Who needs life to be easy? It appears we excel in the art of superstitiously not moving seats and chewing fingernails. 70-8 in 41 overs with extras at 22 as top scorer may not sound like much, but it's 20 points in the pocket and a cracking start to the year.