First home game of season always takes extra organisation, collecting together everything needed, so thanks to all for helping out, with Richard sourcing the urn and boundary markers and Adrian delivering the tea pot. Even the club kit was remembered.
On a rock hard surface North Weald elected to bat in a time game. Skipper, Parnell R, gave the bowlers short spells, as there was little in the pitch for them, and change was the greatest challenge to the batsmen. The bowling and fielding were of a high standard (despite missing 4 difficult catches) and after one opener finally departed, having scored a half century, the scoring rate was reduced by particularly economical bowling from debutant Poynton (6-1-11-1) and Parnell R (6-2-7-2). The other bowlers were also successful with Hausler (14-2-44-2) and Prasad (11-4-21-2) bowling 2 spells each and Loveday having his most successful spell since joining the club (8-0-35-1), bowling a little quicker and seeing a proper leg spinner’s wicket caught by keeper Kenchington. Unable to bowl North Weald out they declared on 145-8 after 48 overs.
Tea went down very well, thanks to John Loveday who came up trumps by volunteering and setting a high culinary standard complete with catering health and safety certificate (allegedly).
The Ivanhoe reply was dominated by Kenchington at number 3, after Poynton (13) departed after showing clear potential. Kenchington selected shots wisely and punished anything wide, having the power and timing to reach the boundary regularly. He was rewarded with an invaluable half century (57), and it was perhaps inevitable that his departure changed the game in North Weald’s favour. Parnell S (22) kept things going with at the loss of his wicket went the chances of an Ivanhoe win. The 8th wicket fell with 9 balls remaining. Parnell C calmly played out the penultimate over, before Prasad, rashly took a single on the 2nd ball of the last over. Chris was caught next ball, leaving 3 balls to go. Earlier in the innings Parnell P had gone down as if struck by a sniper’s bullet, and had to withdraw for specialist calf treatment from Abrahamson. Suitably bound up, he returned at the death, as only a former captain and leading club officer could. Rather superfluously his brother entered the fray as a runner! The tension rose, the feet were not moving, but the bat was classically angled down with soft hands and Ivanhoe emerged with a draw at 123-9, having received 36 overs (12 less than North Weald).
Overall encouraging, but the batting, with some exceptions, let us down on a blameless track, though credit should also go to the opposition bowlers. Last year we had beaten North Weald by c 90 runs, and this time they played much better and, as before, in absolutely the right spirit, a fixture to hold onto, cherish and enjoy.