The Saturday 4ths had a friendly out in the wilds of Essex at Ilford and Jesse Johnson summed up the mood of the players in parking his car. “I hope we can get out of here this evening..”
We lost the toss and although skipper Tim Brown would have bowled St Clements decided to bat. Having played the side the year before we knew that they would be attacking batsmen all the way down the order. We had a decent side but were maybe just a bowler short and so it proved.
Mangal Nasiri had a fantastic season last year and continued with good form in his first spell. A knick straight to me second ball caught Mo Afzal out as he was somehow still in the changing room. Mangal was unlucky not to get a few more wickets in a fine opening spell and Jamie Hall bowled pretty well. Jason Campbell bowled a few loose balls but took a couple of wickets and for first game of the season bowled pretty well. Simon Jones bowled a mix of good balls and not so good balls and with skipper brown under pressure also being a bit loose the opposition took advantage. We even tried the medium pace of Anthony Gaughan.
One batsman who had scored a lot of runs against us last year got a 120 this year as well. Sometimes riding his luck but always hitting the ball high and handsome he was the main reason they reached 261 for 7 as the 40 overs was up.
David Straker opened and looked in fine form until he was eventually out for 35, Anthony Gaughan struggling to get any timing or consistency. Jesse was given out LBW by Mangal and like all batsmen thought the decision was dubious. The Run Outs started however and Julian Dean on debut was run out without facing which was followed by another three during the innings. Tarun played a typical fine innings although tempted fate once too often as he was out just short of his half century on 46. Without Tarun it was looking bleak and although Mo Afzal got a few as did Simon Jones, Jamie Hall and Jason Campbell down the order we were always behind the run rate and ended up 64 short.
We did get out of the park however!