The thirds travelled to the English Riviera to play Barton on Saturday. We needed a win to ignite our season but got off to a dreadful start. Light rain and sweaty covers had left a moist film on the wicket and losing the toss (two for two) captain Hart was asked to bat.
First over, disaster! Sam Thomas slipped on the damp floor trying to turn for a second run and was unfortunately run out by a direct hit from third man. He was quickly followed by the groggy Ollie Whisker (exams finished, big night out!), Rob Brunton (another nursing a sore head) and Nigel Hughes. At 17-4 things looked bleak then the midwinter turned a shade paler when Matt Allat chipped to mid on. 21-5 in the 10th over and we were staring at a big defeat.
This brought usual 4ths skipper, Joe Cunningham, to the crease with Gareth and both set about rebuilding the innings. What was needed was a captain's innings and we were fortunate to get two. Gareth curbed his attacking nature and Joe looked untroubled as the pair put on 86 for the 6th wicket. Progress was steady but the two skips saw off 20 odd overs. Gareth was eventually out for 38 off 98 balls. Joe began to accelerate aided by a useful 12 from Joe Hagan-Burt with some lovely clips to midwicket. Cunners eventually holed out in the deep for an excellent 58 off 79 balls trying to push us past 150. We scrambled to 149-9 just missing an extra batting point but from 21-5 it was a great escape.
After a splendid tea (although I'm told Hatherleigh's are sweeter) we took to the field confident we had a competitive total. Joe H-B (6-3-10-0) and Rhys Callicott (6-2-15-1) both bowled tidily and we were off to a good start despite Barton's young opener hitting everything in the air but nowhere near any fielders. This was was then backed up by a great spell of seam bowling from Cunners (9-4-13-3) and Sam Knapman (9-2-17-1) which really put the game beyond Barton. They were always well behind the run rate and despite a late flurry of hitting we were in control with Nigel (7-0-32-1) and Joe Bell (8-0-32-3) closing the game out. Barton finished on 123-9 - a win for us by 26 runs.
A fantastic result which gives us a platform to build from. Braunton at home next week.