The season got underway with a new fixture for the Saracens at Shepherd’s Bush CC. With many Salopians representing SBCC in the Middlesex League on a Saturday and with Will Speer (G 1990-92) as Chairman, ties have never been stronger and this is a great addition to the year’s matches.
Under cloudless skies, new Cricketer Cup skipper Ben Williams (Rt 2008-10) won the toss and elected to bat. Regular openers Jack Brydon (O 1999-2004) and Ben Chapman (Rt 1995-2000) strode weightily to the crease but their partnership didn’t bear fruit with Brydon dollying to midwicket for 1. The captain followed in the next over, palpably LBW for a first ball duck leaving the Saracens in trouble at 8-2. Former skipper Tom Cox (M 2000-05) joined Chapman to rebuild the innings and they did so with some considerable skill, biding their time before dismantling all before them in a scintillating partnership of 155. Chapman was particularly severe on James Kidson’s (O 2003-08) offspin (usually seen in Saracens colours), with a number of mighty blows as his 50 came up from 34 balls. From a relatively sedate 63-2 from the first ten overs, Chapman and Cox moved through the gears as the Saracens scored 119 off the second ten overs with Chapman finally dismissed in the 18th over for 89 from 53 balls with 8 x 4 and 4 x 6 including a run of 24 consecutive scoring shots. Cox joined the fun with some classic inside out hitting to finish unbeaten on 76 from 59 balls with 8 x 4 and 3 x 6.
In reply the new ball pair of Alasdair Pollock (I 2010-12) and Stephen Barnard (Rb 2009-11) made early inroads with Pollock claiming two wickets in the 5th over, both comfortably taken at backward point by George Lewis (I 2010-15) to leave SBCC struggling on 24-3. From there some fairly generous off-spin from the Lewis brothers and Hillman (M 1994-99) and some predictably shoddy fielding in the deep allowed steady accumulation. A wicket apiece for Hillman and Thomason (G 2006-11) and some excellent keeping from Brydon kept things vaguely in check and with the result never in doubt, Shepherd’s Bush meandered to 163-5 from their 20 overs giving the Saracens a winning start to the season by 19 runs.
A big thank you to Will Speer, James Kidson and all at SBCC for their very warm reception and we very much look forward to a re-match next year.