The Three’s opened their season against the Old Contemptables at the scenic cricket stadium of Inverleith Park . The early meet was not only to ensure we were mentally and physically focused for the game ahead, but to enable the players to introduce themselves to each other and the Skipper .
The club had been busy in the ‘transfer window’ and a number of potential starlets had been signed , many of whom had adopted Skipper Bunker’s strategy, of none ,or one pre-season net practice , to ensure we do not peak too early in the season! This ensured the players were not saddled with the mental baggage of poor form!
The Skipper started badly by immediately losing the toss and we were asked to bat . This proved a master stroke as at the start we only had nine with Tom ‘Arnie’ Counsell and Paddy McBroon still finishing the school game at Myreside .
The veteran openers David Davies and Alan ‘bothy’ Borthwick marched purposely to the wicket – sadly Bothers was soon trudging back as he was done by the tennis ball bounce of the wicket and lobbed it back to the bowler .
The innings continued at the pace of coastal erosion with women with prams strolling in the park quicker than our running between the wickets . Geoff Mawdesly , James Davies and Devon Vehlow were out soon after, all to the vagaries of the wicket . At the drinks we had ‘slothed ‘ to 32 for 4 off 20 overs . The turning point – subtly planned by the Skipper – was the arrival at the crease of Tom ’Arnie’ Counsell who after a watchful start adopted the skippers order of ‘just go mental’ . He proceeded to ‘bully’ the ball to the boundary – fortunately dropped early on by their skipper- as the innings leapt forward with David Davies following by example . Their ‘lob’ bowler provided suitable ammo as ‘Arnie’ clubbed the ball higher than a North Korean missile test . Fielders were often unfortunate to be in the line of fire as their bowlers struggled to contain the run flow – as did Tom’s shirt sleeves -trying to contain his muscles !
David , who had been the glue to the innings , moved to 55 and then was out stumped , one of the longest umpire decisions , as we can only assume James Davies sought out the ‘third umpire’ screen.
Young Luke Milligan was next in and Tom proceeded to protect him from the bowling as the run flow fell away. Luke managed to obtain the strike and suddenly exploded into action hitting a six over long on and two fours over extra , then another through mid-wicket . The touchline fans decided it was Tom needing the protection as the run rate rocketed with 14 off the next over, then another dozen . Sadly Luke miscued and was caught in the deep for an entertaining 23! Tom (‘Arnie’) continued on but then top edged to the keeper for a great 76. Great things were expected of ‘Padster’ Brown and Angus Couzan in the remaining overs as they waved the timber at the ball but there was a lot of ‘plinking and plonking’ and the innings finished on 175 – 143 off the last 20 overs! Pretty good on a fairly spongy wicket .
After a tasty tea – spoiled by Tom spilling all the chocolate muffins to the floor – we headed to the square , looking purposeful and seeking revenge for last seasons ‘contemptible ‘ defeat – their only victory of the season . Angus and Paddy started well only conceding two an over – the fielding was sharp and Bothy took a running catch at mid off to get Angus’s first wicket .Paddy continued to beat the edge and will bowl worse and get wickets . The fielding kept the pressure on and their no.3 foolishly took on Paddy’s arm from cover and hurling on the bounce ran him out by yards , a sharp take by keeper, James Davies .
The opening spell was followed by Matt and (skipper) Tim – who re-discovered his bowling mojo in great style, mesmerising batter after batter with his away swing. Tim had to leave for an evening event after completing his 8-over stint with the score at 73 for 5 after 26 overs. We’d already seen evidence of James’s fine keeping with a swift stumping off Tim, and after David took over as acting skip James picked up another stumping as OCCC’s later batting collapsed to David and Devon’s tempting confections. OCCC were 103 all out, in 33.2 overs.
A great start to the season for the threes!