CURDRIDGE vs HYTHE - 23rd April 2022
It was a perfect setting for the season opener, a pre-season friendly vs Hythe. The sun was shining, the ground was a picture, and a large crowd were in attendance - obviously attracted by the high class cricket on show (or it may have been the local beer festival)
The Machine has had a winter overhaul with no fewer than four debutants, (Dom, Jack, Mark and Gary) taking their places amongst some of the usual faces.
Post Covid, no-one carries coins so a phone was employed to decide the toss,
Turns out it doesn’t matter what you throw in the air, Skipper is guaranteed to lose and so it was that the home side were asked to have a bat.
New season, new opening partnership with old friend Dom Quincey joined by young gun Jack and they set about the job in quick time with boundaries flowing at both ends.
Left hander Jack had a particularly fruitful start, looking like a ginger David Gower as he sent the ball to the fence on a regular basis before he forgot to block a straight one.
Smooth operator Dom meanwhile was at his lazy best, caressing the ball to all parts with a few crunching drives over cover the early highlights.
Skipper joined Dom batting at number 3 and did his best to keep the bowlers interested, but held up an end whilst the Quincey batting class continued.
Drinks were taken, and the scoreboard was a healthy 96-1 before Dom fell for 59 as he looked to push the score on.
Dave joined Skipper and took to the Hythe attack in a manner he would later repeat at the interval as he would make significant inroads into a Del Candy tea.
Then a moment of controversy as Dave pulled a full toss to the boundary - six, or it was until the tallest guy on the pitch stuck up a left hand and caught a worldy,
But was it a waist high no ball? The umpires went to the replay screen and decided that because it was Dave it was definitely out, a decision that all sides agreed on.
Alan then made his way to the middle showing off his new svelte figure - a result of a winter spent training with Durley’s up and coming breakdance crew.
More biffs from Alan before Skipper finally departed for 30 delivered after 25 overs at the crease - playing the anchor role, or at least that’s what I think the crowd were shouting… #wheresJay
Then another spot of drama as Alan decided a quick single was on offer, (or maybe even a slow one), however Punter wasn’t on the same wavelength and was rooted to the spot causing Alan to be run out.
Now Alan has clearly been doing a bit of reading over the winter and has improved his vocabulary as his return to pavilion was accompanied by some words that I haven’t heard him utter before.
Probably a good thing that Punter stayed in the middle for a bit longer as he varied his scoring between his usual triangles and some heaves up the hill whilst the Volcano simmered in the hut.
The final act of the innings was a gentle knock from new boy Gary, who finished 4, 6, 4 to push the score up to a health 210.
A communal tea was appreciated by all and then the two youngsters opened the bowling - Del down his hill, and Mark twirling away at the car park end.
First one of the season went to Del, as the batsman was confused not knowing whether the ball was going to be delivered or Del himself as he had a bit of trouble configuring his feet in the delivery stride.
End product was an LBW before Mark picked up another, Skipper putting his dough basket to good use to pouch the catch.
Then the Volcano got in on the act, erupting into action behind the stumps with a sharp stumping to give Mark his second.
Changes rung with the bowling as Punter and Rob took the reigns.
Punter snuck one through to get his season up and running but it was Rob who bowled a fantastic spell bamboozling the batsman, picking up two wickets with a few more that shaved the stumps.
By now Hythe were well behind the rate, and a variety of bowling options were tried but a particularly obstinate Hythe defence led by their young star meant it was left to Dave and Dom to finish the job.
Dave became particularly keen to bowl once a pensioner and a twelve year old were at the crease as he smelt easy wickets and picked up a three for, but was also sent to the fence for back to back boundaries by the Hythe old boy to the amusement of all.
The game complete and a 63 run victory for the machine with an eye catching performance, particularly with so many new faces on show, and an air of anticipation for the season ahead.
Next Week: Another friendly vs Five Rivers 1.30pm at home
Man of the Match: Goes to Dom for a classy innings up top
Champagne Moment: Robbo takes this one with some cracking deliveries that dipped turned and crashed into the stumps, well bowled mate!
Donut of the Day: Punter is unique in so many ways, and he takes it for a trio of running out Alan, wearing his jumper back to front for ten overs, and using any part of his body (apart from his hands) to stop the ball.