Our season began in what seemed to be the height of summer. Sun blazed in the sky and temperature soared throughout the morning. However, this is England and welcome cloud and refreshing but slight drizzle arrived in the second innings. After the rain and cold of recent weeks, South Loughton had worked miracles to get the ground ready for play with no loose grass on the outfield. 10 days before even the clubhouse was under water! Unsurprisingly this meant that there was little pace in the pitch and the ball travelled slowly across the outfield. Tea was first class and the range of beers catered for all tastes. We were made very welcome and the game was played in excellent spirit.
Oh and the cricket? Well Ivanhoe may have lost by 57 runs but there were some positives. On winning the toss and fielding Ivanhoe bowled tightly and accurately allowing the skipper to pack the offside effectively. New signing Peter Oakley bowled very well in two spells and was particularly unlucky not to claim a first wicket for Ivanhoe. At the other end the more experienced Andrew Hausler bowled through and used the track intelligently to claim 4 for 19 off his 8 overs. Skipper Ciaran Woodcock was welcomed with a first ball boundary, but thereafter bowled consistently and quicker than last year.
Matt Parnell bowled a useful spell at the death and there was a welcome return to medium pace from senior club official Phil Parnell… which with his skiddy pace, generated from his stature, brought two wickets in two spells… but will he recover for next weekend??? Good to see Saqib back bowling with his enthusiasm and confidence. Fielding was of a high standard with the rather rare sight of 3 Ivanhoe players chasing for the same ball… and not just once. Stephen Parnell, Matt, Phil K and Prasad turned back the years to rival young Peter in their athleticism. Saqib juggled a catch to dismiss a key batsman .. and proved everyone, who had money on the ball, wrong. Phil K made a tough steepling catch look easy… like Pat Jennings (for younger readers he was an Irish goalkeeper, who had very large hands… and just taking of hands here), whilst keeper Bob Collins did his best to make an easy catch difficult… but it stuck in an outstretched glove… and took another more impressive catch down leg side off Woodcock’s bowling. At 122-8 South Loughton were in some trouble but an unbeaten 9th wicket stand of 35 proved crucial and brought a decent total of 157 -8 on a sticky but safe track.
Ivanhoe’s reply started slowly and then continued slowly. South Loughton’s veteran opening bowler removed Hausler for a duck and completed 7 overs for just 4 runs. A second wicket stand of 43 gave useful time at the crease for Collins (26) and Woodcock (13), but despite positive intentions the ball rarely beat the inner field and overs raced away. The hoped for lesser bowlers never came on and all eight bowlers bowled good length and line.
All successive batsman struggled with pitch and rising run rate, though there were promising shots from S. Parnell, Oakley and Saqib. But who was not out at the end? Chris Parnell 1* to complement the most ground covered by any of the Ivanhoe fielders.
Final score was 100 all out with a couple of overs to go. Talk afterwards was largely positive with encouraging talk of Devon/ Cornwall in August for the annual tour.