The Sunday XI’s season got off to a cold start away against Brentwood Victorians, who were already on their third game of the season. Captained by Jas Bains, the team took to the field in the first innings after losing the toss.
Luke Reeve opened the bowling with an increasingly quick attack with Jamie Goldstein partnering his performance at the other end. It was not long before Reeve took the first wicket in the 7th over cleanly bowling Brentwood’s opening batter’s middle stump. This paired with Goldstein limiting runs from the other end meant that at the first change of bowlers after 11 overs, Brentwood were 58/1.
Paul Bardo and Keith Sharp maintained the bowling attack during this next stint of 16 overs, with Bains using both bowlers for their allotted 8 overs each. Wickets fell quickly once in this section with Bardo and Sharp taking 2 and 3 wickets, respectively. Bardo’s wickets came as two fantastic catches. The first being skied a long way up and Mike Smith, who was keeping, calling for it with confidence. The second was a reflexive diving catch to his right by Reeve at 1st slip,taken as the ball was passing him at a high speed. These dismissed batters 2 and 3.
There was a dropped catch by Stuart Coker during this time that we can only put down to the sun being in his eyes, for the first time for many of us we saw someone getting hit in the shin from a high catch. Sharp kept the other end strong, cleanly bowling two of his wickets and taking a low catch of his own bowling for his third. At the end of this bowling partnership, we had kept Brentwood to 142/6 off 28.
Bains bought the slower spin bowlers in after this to change up the pace. Alex Strong got a wicket in his first over, getting one of the batters out LBW for a duck. He bowled a strong 4 overs with Bethan Bailey at the other end. She kept runsrelatively low but dropped a catch off her own bowling and then another off Strong while fielding at square leg. These two finished their 7 over stint with the scoreboard, 170/7 off 34.
Bains and Reeve finished off the overs with one more wicket being taken. Reeve who could not be kept out the game bowled batter 9 with another quick ball into middle and leg. At the end of 40 overs, Maldon Sunday XI were set to chase 202, with 203 to win.
After a chilly lunch break, Coker and Richard Buckby headed out as our opening pair. We had a strong start with these two at the crease putting on 43 together before Coker was out LBW in the 10th over with 15 to his name. Smith joined Buckby at the crease and after keeping for 40 overs, gave himself two balls to get his eye in before starting his innings with a 4. These two stayed at the crease together for 40 minutes before Smith was bowled by the oppositions left hander for 36 runs.
Oliver Hull made his way to the crease to join Buckby, however this partnership lasted 9 minutes as Buckby who was making his way towards 50 was stumped out for 47 after 89 minutes in the middle.
Hull continued his batting as he left off last season, with decision and style. Bardo who joined Hull after Buckby departed looked strong, swapping strike with Hull before being given LBW for only 2 runs. Hull and Goldstein batted well, putting on a 49-run partnership before Hull was caught and bowled in the 31st over for 29 having batted for almost an hour. Strong then joined Goldstein but was bowled for a duck. The Brentwood bowler now on for a hattrick was bowling to Reeve who defended his first ball into the ground.
Putting on another 11 runs in 2 overs, Goldstein was left at the crease with Reeve being bowled for 2 runs. Bains joined Goldstein, however this lasted one ball as he was also given out for a duck. With the same bowler being on another potential hattrick, Sharp headed out to Goldstein. He again defended preventing the bowler the delight of a hattrick. No runs were scored unfortunately before Goldstein hit a ball in the air to be caught for 22 runs.
A very cold Bailey joined Sharp in the middle after maintaining the scorebook for the past 34 overs. The two gained several runs for the team before Bailey was bowled out for 5 runs and Sharp ended on 3*. The Maldon Sunday XI ended with 182 all out in 37 overs just 21 runs short of victory against a very strong Brentwood team. The season ahead looks bright if the team continues to play together as it did in this game.