The season finally got underway at Arkley on a day of mixed weather, and, after the recent rain, a very stodgy track. A timed game, Ives were inserted, having lost the toss.

Runs were difficult to come by, and the openers did well to blunt the opening attack, until Parnell P departed. Kenchington complemented watchful defence with some powerful blows and reached 31 before an unfortunate hit wicket dismissal. A stand between Collins and Parnell R was slow but runs were accrued, until Collins’ first aggressive shot found him caught at deep square leg for 22. Parnell R played exceptionally well, cautious but selecting the one to hit, and hit very effectively, reaching 41, before a surprise run out. The tail wagged with everyone making a contribution except for Hausler who made 0 not out, admittedly from only one ball. The declaration came at 150-8 and no one knew how that would shape as a target.

Tea went down very well and then Arkley batted, on a track that seemed a little quicker and drier, but no easier. Loveday opened the bowling and had his best, most economic spell for the club, but could not break the partnership. The openers made useful but slow progress and then stagnated at 34 with 2 wickets down. The bowling of Hausler (18 overs for 28) and Saqib (11 overs for 21) were superb and contained, whilst taking wickets as well.  Parnell R came on late and bowled well, even taking a wicket off the final ball….. unfortunately it was only the 9th so an honourable winning draw was achieved with Arkley  c 90 -9.

Everyone contributed.. Parnell M had his first bowling spell of the season; Parnell S had lost none of his fielding finesse, though he almost came to a sticky end in a fielding collision. Our two guests, friends of Saqib, performed well after a long break from cricket, and we hope to see them on the field again soon.

All in all, a positive, enjoyable and encouraging start to the season.

Bob C.

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