Report by Cam Petrie:
Our first ever game against Linton saw us winning the toss and electing to bat, and as we were playing against Simon Godsill's club, he was asked to take on opening duties with Seb Hammersley. The Linton bowlers kept things super tight, and even though both Seb and Simon managed plenty of attacking shots, they also managed to consistently find the ring of tight fielders. Quick singles were taken out of the equation when Seb managed to strain a hamstring so by the half way point we were just 40/0.
With regular bowling changes that saw every Linton player bar the wicket-keeper contributing, we were kept contained until the 13th and 14th (six-ball) overs when Simon (28 off 38 balls) and then Seb (40 off 44 balls) were both able to cast off the shackles - but also both quickly returned to the hutch. Our abundant middle order firepower didn't really fire as Marcus Baker (2 off 6 balls) and Cam Petrie (3 off 4 balls) didn't last long, and Chris Badger (24 off 22 balls) and Ben Hammersley (7 off 8 balls) were kept restricted, though they still managed to push us to an almost run-a-ball 118 off our full 20 overs.
Rain earlier in the week meant that the batting conditions were challenging, but we were going to need to bowl out of our skins to defend a total that looked light to the order of 20-30 runs. Incredibly, that is precisely what we did for our first 8 overs, as Joe White (1/14 off his first 3 overs) and Sushant Achawal (0/4 off 4 overs, 3 of which were maidens) valiantly kept the Linton openers almost completely contained, with Sushant managing three consective maidens. This pressure produced an excellent run out and gave us a little faith that we were n with a chance.
Naveen (0/18 off 2 overs) managed a tight first over, but something inevitably had to give, and first Faruk Kara (0/26 off 2 overs), and then Ben (1/16 off 1 over - with the wicket coming from a fantastic boundary catch looking into the sun by Chris Badger) and Seb (0/16 off 2 overs) all came in for punishment as the Linton top order went after the slower bowling. In what felt like a last throw of the dice, John Moore came on to bowl and almost turned the game around. His first over started with a worrying wide, but little did we know that the set Linton bats were being lulled into a false sense of absolute dominance. John's first over ball-by-ball was + . W + 4 W 2 1 with the wickets being a tight stumping from Marcus Baker and an another batter bowled. John's second over started with a lofted catch to Cam and all of a sudden we had Linton five down but only needing 13 for the win and 24 balls to do it. Joe returned for his final over and took another wicket, but free swinging won out and Linton pushed closer to our total, leaving John the muggins job of bowling the eigthteenth over with 3 runs to defend, and thankfully didn't mess up his figures too much in ending up with 3/15 off 2.3 overs.