A week later than planned the 5s finally began their league campaign at home to Bexley Park at Loring Hall. Plan was to invite our opposition to have a bat but they won the toss and fielded, a bold move when at the time they had 6 players present with traffic on the short route.
The returning Steve Shanks joined Steve Course in opening the innings. The wicket was low and slow but Steve managed to hit a couple of excellent drives to keep the scoreboard ticking before being bowled for 15. Last week's hero Rick Melbourne came and went having picked a fielder with the long awaited bad ball and the 5s were in trouble at 20 odd for 2 with Course unable to get the ball of the square. Sam Hart joined Course with a positive attitude, always looking to score runs and both opening bowlers eventually made way after tight opening spells.
This was probably the turning point. The wicket was low and slow but there were few demons in it, and the odd bad ball began to pop up allowing Hart and Course to see the rangers through to 61-2 at drinks. Plan was to try and get the scoreboard to 100 by 30 and allow the wickets in hand factor to enable a positive last 10 overs, however the next 10 yielded nearly 70 runs as the batsmen settled. Hart eventually departed having skied one got a well earned 38 and Dave Dixon joined Course, who had been dropped in the late 30s at mid off.
The scoreboard continued to move quickly from this point as it often does once Dave gets himself in. Course was next to depart caught at point off the returning opening bowler for 82 which it is fair to say didn't look likely when he had 2 in the 9th over. Course was also dropped again on 60 odd at point. In walked the skipper who smashed his first ball to deep mid wicket, where sadly there was a fielder waiting to catch it. Joe Harris came and went in the final overs crash bash and Hendo came in and batted the last couple with Dave Dixon who ended with 32*. A very impressive last 20 overs had seen the 5s reach 197-6, a total that was probably 30/40 above the target early on.
The 5s felt on top and were looking to start positively. However despite the hard work and impressive bowling of Joe Harris and Connor Daly the early breakthrough was not forthcoming. Joe did get a well deserved wicket at the end of his spell bowling the opener who was looking to play his shots, but Connor's efforts were to go unrewarded. Mike Dixon was introduced to the attack from the river end and Steve Shanks from the house end. It was a great bit of fielding that would bring the next breakthrough though, as the remaining opener bravely took on Dave Dixon for a second. Dave slid and a great turn and throw left his old man with the simple task of removing the bails to seal a narrow run out and leave the visitors about 25-2.
From here things really began to happen. The ball had not carried through all day but the visitors continued to try and play off the back foot bizarrely. Steve was on a hatrick and by the time he made way for Ben Bleksley had taken 3-3 from 4 overs, with 2 bowled and a sharp catch from Hendo behind the stumps. Ben was quickly on to a hatrick as well and returned 2-10 from 2 overs.
Dicko senior was continuing at the other end and already had one after bowling the number 3. He continued to tempt the opposition into attacking (bar one player!) and picked up the final 2 wickets to finish with an impressive return of 3-14 off 7 as Bexley Park were dismissed for 49 from 24 overs. We travel to Belvedere next week.
Lots of promising performances early season from the 5s, let's hope there is still more to come from this side.