SATURDAY XI v LAVANT - 15th April 2017
Cricket made the long awaited return to Reading Room Lane on Saturday and following a focused winter regime, an array of Curdridge athletes had assembled to compare their off season fitness programs before frantically tucking themselves into last years whites.
The weather had played its part permitting the Easter fixture to go ahead and it was a picture perfect venue that welcomed the early season visit of Lavant. The real star of the show however was the pitch, a Jon Edwards masterpiece that would not have looked out of place at a test venue, and proved to be a batsman's delight.
Skipper, consistent as ever, lost the toss and was invited to have a bat. This was a good outcome, as Curdridge only had 10, due to the late arrival of Jack Keogh, delayed as he had made the final of an Ed Sheeran look-alike competition earlier that morning.
Faced with an array of all-rounders, David and Dan Tav were the lucky losers and asked to open up the batting. Several fluid shots followed as a promising partnership built before David fell to a very slow one, so slow that he could have played three shots to it, before deciding he would simply play over the top of it and let it trickle into his stumps.
Investment in youth continued to be the theme and Sian Edwards joined Tav at the crease and excellent stroke play became the bedrock of a fine partnership that had the scoreboard rattling along. Particular highlights were a pair of sixes from Tav into St Peter’s Close and a fine four up the hill from Sian. The score had rapidly moved onto 102 (and a partnership of 73) before Sian finally fell for 30.
Mr Bollard then made his way to the crease and then back again for a rapid 2, and Dan Clark went one better making just a single before he returned back to the shed. Skipper then had the pleasure of standing at the non-strikers end and watched some bloke who looked a bit like Tav, but was about a foot taller and had the ability of a batsman that has rarely been seen in Curdridge colours, who sent the ball to all parts of the field.
Eventually the masterclass came to an end and Tav was dismissed for a fantastic 81. Well batted son!.
Experience made his way to the crease in the form of Del Candy, promoted up the order following a strong showing in the winter nets, and the practice had obviously paid off as Del dispatched a flick off the legs followed by a crunch through point to hit back to back boundaries for the first time since he achieved the same feat in 1843.
The innings closed with Curdridge posting a respectable 177-7 off their 35 overs.
Whilst youth was the policy for the batting, experience was very much the choice for the bowling with Del and Jon Edwards taking the opening overs and it wasn’t long before a trademark Jon in-ducker had the stumps dismantled and the opener trudging back.
The next breakthrough followed soon after, when despite a few early warnings, the batsmen didn’t recognise the danger of the mobile Dan Clark roaming in the covers and an excellent pick up and throw resulted in a clear run out of the other opener.
A progressive partnership then built albeit at a slow pace, but giving Lavant the platform the accelerate later in the innings. Step forward the Salmon (Bollard) who leapt into action in the cover to deliver the breakthrough that Curdridge were seeking off the bowling of Dimmy. This was swiftly followed by a skier that Jack took off the bowling of David to break that back of the resistance to leave them at 88-4.
Skipper then charitably introduced himself to the attack for the first time in two years and bowled a spell that demonstrated why he stopped bowling in the first place, and gave the opposition some hope that a victory could be within their grasp. However tight bowling at the other end brought David 2 more wickets and extinguished any hope of the opposition getting close to their target and the innings closed at 144-8.
A solid all round performance for Curdridge who were not at their best, but did enough to win comfortably, and now move onto the next friendly against Hythe & Didden to build on the basics, before the league season starts.
Man of the Match: Dan Tav - great knock, and don’t take it the wrong way Tav but most of us are still rubbing our eyes to check it really did happen!
Champagne moment: Several candidates, some fine shots from the batsmen (& women), and an excellent run out from Dan Clark sent back the opener, but the early season outing for the Salmon gets the nod, leaping to his left in the covers to snaffle the first of the season.
Next week: Home Vs Hythe & Dibden 1.30pm start - all welcome!