With the season starting a week earlier than the rest, the 3rd XI had the pleasure of playing a rare league game at Manor Way. With a few new faces in the side, there was plenty of optimism in the warm up and hoping for a good year ahead.
Losing the toss and being inserted to bat on a very nice looking batting wicket, we did not have the ideal start as we lost Rohan Moon early on. New recruit Tom Evans and former first team captain Steve Richards spent some time in the middle with Tom punishing anything loose; 41-1 quickly turned to 44-3 with Steve and Tom falling in quick succession.
Another newbie Abhishek Pradhan was joined by 3rd XI stalwart Nick Stroudley, Abs dominated the majority of the scoring in the partnership, whacking anything over pitched back over the bowlers head. Abs fell for 28 and this brought George Newell to the crease; Stroudley and Newell ticked over the scoring (mainly Stroudley) before Newell chipped a ball straight to midwicket, 103-5.
Captain Lush then come to the crease in a far more comfortable position of 7 rather than number 1 like last year and the score steadily ticked along before Stroudley guided a late cut straight to first slip (32). Lush and Hill then kept the run rate going at 5/6 an over without having to take many risks, with a partnership of 50 before Lush was caught behind in the 40th over for a run a ball 30, 170-7.
Stuart Hume and Hill upped the run rate for the final 6 overs, with Hume scoring 21 before being caught at long on and Hill ended up with 39* meaning Bexley ended up on 211-8 from their 46 overs.
After tea, Joe Russell opened the bowling from the Railway End, his first bowl was slapped straight to Tom Evans at extra cover and RACS was 0-1 of one ball. Mark Cryer then opened the bowling from Lake End and had Dickie LBW in his first over. After 2 overs RACS found themselves 2-2. Once the 2nd over concluded we found ourselves in a rather peculiar position as during the tea break we had magically moved onto a different wicket to what we had played on in the first innings; so following a discussion with the umpires we moved back to the original pitch; rather bizarre.
RACS captain Rob Donnelly survived a huge caught behind shout off Joe Russell before Joe had George Webb LBW for 0, 3-3. Joe and Mark continued to bowl tight, Joe bowled his 12 on the spin (12-5-19-2) and Mark had bowled 9 (9-1-17-1). Stuart Hume replaced Cryer at the Lake end for a few overs before drinks; at Drinks RACS were 40-3.
Following drinks Hume had two LBWs in two balls and just missed out on a Hat-trick; 40-5. Lush replaced Russell at the Railway End and had 3 LBW shouts in his first over with all being turned down (unbelievable)! Hume and Lush kept it fairly tight but with RACS showing little interest in scoring there was no chances being offered. Hill (5-2-10-1) replaced Lush (6-2-10-0) at the Railway End and took the wicket of Billy Senington for 16 making the score 82-6.
For the final 10 overs the Bexley fielders stuck at it and tried to few different things to try and take a wicket, Cryer (12-1-30-1) replaced Hume (11-3-29-2) at the Lake End for a final 3 over burst but unfortunately Bexley was not able to take any more wickets, with Donnelly ending on 48*, 106-6.
A fantastic effort in the field and some good starts from the batsmen meant a comprehensive win. A good win to get the season rolling, there is still plenty of things to improve on but 18 points out of a possible 20 is a great way to start the season.