Report by Paul Jordan:
A quick scour of previous encounters with ARM revealed that we're due for a win - the last time we managed to beat them was six years ago yesterday.
Tonight's game was being played under cloudy conditions, little breeze and a glorious looking outfield. The toss was duly taken and we decided to field first. The format was 13x8s, with retirement at 35 and no re-bowling of no balls or wides 'til the last over.
ARM's opening bats set about their task of punishing any loose balls but flat batting past the bowler on occasions too. Our opening attack of Taz Islam (0/38) and Mike Foulkes (0/31) seemed to suit the ARM batsmen, who clearly liked the ball coming onto the bat. A change of bowling brought Pete Ames (0/25) and Qaiser Ahmed (2-35) into the attack, which simultaneously slowed the scoring rate somewhat but also brought about the fall of some much needed wickets. From being 64/4 off 4 overs we progressed to 70-1 off 5 overs. At the eighth over they were 95/2. ARM were moving the score along quite comfortably and, with the introduction of new recruit Ed Gillen (1/15), a wicket fell in his debut - and only - over. Further wickets fell with skipper Paul Jordan's over (1/12) and Qaiser's final effort.
It is worth mentioning that the fielders supported the bowling throughout. James Robinson acquitted himself well behind the stumps, whist another debutante Ed Pullen fielded superbly from his mainly deep-lying positions, cutting off a number of seemingly-certain boundaries. Overall we would have to be disappointed that we couldn't restrict their scoring - overhauling their target of 147 would require some decent batting at a rate of just over 11 an over.
Our reply was led by Chris Badger and our third debutante, Ed Pyman. This pairing looked promising with both Chris and Ed producing some classy cuts and drives and taking advantage of the odd stray ball. Chris (14 off 18 balls) was out to an agonising played-on which seemed to be in slow motion not real time. Herein lay the problem; these stray balls were few and far between. With Chris's departure and Ed making it to retirement on 37* (off just 25 balls), we needed our middle order of Andy Bell and Tom Serby to keep the momentum going. Sadly they were out rather cheaply at 6 runs apiece. The ARM bowlers continued to bowl a tight line and after 8 overs we stood at 75/3 compared to Arm's 95/2 at the same stage. With Qaiser (2) falling, we were now pinning our hopes on a late flurry to bring us at least close to their total and leave the game with some pride intact. Thankfully both James and Taz seized the mettle and with two glorious sixes from Taz we finished on a high - just not high enough.
By about 8:15pm the light was still reasonable, a brighter side of beginning to get gloomy. Our first game at Fitz was most enjoyable but as Ed Pyman so wisely said: "we'll get the better of them . . . another day."