With the weather a little overcast and a slight wind circling around Burbage on Saturday morning, the decision was made for an earlier meet time and a last minute team talk was required at Choppers for 11am. The boys had their stomachs lined and made their way to the Red Lion Field for essential pre match ground prep/warm up and there was a buzz around the lads for the season opener against Melksham CC.
Two things can be said about the 2nd XI bodged ground prep team;
1) Nobody quite knows how to work anything or what’s required
2) Everyone tries their hardest
Within 20 mins of arrival, Punj had snapped the Shed key in half and opted to let Leigh find out instead of telling him and Wheeler had somehow broke the roller and it was left stranded, on a length, on Saturdays wicket. Great start lads, Great start.
Onto the cricket, Melksham arrived and were greeted by a ‘ready to rumble’ BERCC XI having completed a warm up led by Gareth, Melksham won the toss and put the 2’s in to bat.
Leggy and Punj strode out hoping to lay foundations for a big total, with typical drives, pulls and few other not so elegant strokes they did exactly that, 69 off 12 overs for the opening pair before Patel (37) caught superbly one handed on the square leg boundary. The track was playing beautifully and Melksham bowlers attempted to put the squeeze on in search for more wickets.
Simmons and Legg continued scoring at a rate until Mr Legg misjudged a short bowl only to find his stumps rearranged for a score of 34 off the bowling of ‘Junior’ Footner, this was followed by another quick wicket of Jon ‘sick note’ Street, he assured us he hadn’t been on the sauce the previous night but his innings says different. 99-3 and Melksham back in the game courtesy of some tight bowling from C Singh.
With Davies joining Simmons at the crease, Senior Davies amongst the rest of the team were hoping he would continue where he left off last week, and he didn’t let us down, two flowing cover drives on the up off consecutive balls pushed momentum back in the rangers favour, at the 30 over mark the scores were 151-3.
Melksham continued to bowl tight lines with the introductions of Collins bowling in tandem with Mr Sugar Candy-Singh, they managed to break crucial partnerships just as the run rate was climbing, in particular Singh winning his battle against Simmons who hauled out on the Mid-Wicket Fence for a patient yet excellent 44, a welcome return to form.
With lusty and unorthodox blows coming from the lower order of Wheeler, Robb and Strongy, Burbage completed their 45 overs for a total of 229-8 still unsure if they had enough on the board. Melksham bowling mentions go to Collings who recorded figures of 9-1-3-40.
Tea went down a storm as Sue Milne out done herself once again by laying on a fabulous spread. Some were worried she’d boycott us after Mr Legg went H2H with Mrs Milne over a fines dispute but all seems to be forgiven.
Once again G Robb led a half time warm up prior to Punj reeling off some inspiring cliché’s to get the blood pumping for a 2nd half battle. Melksham openers in the name of Skippings and Wallis stepped out to face the new cheery which had been thrown to Styles and Robb.
Now only Styles could explain what on earth he decided to throw down for the first delivery of innings, in my years of cricket, I’ve only ever seen Steve Harmison (Ashes 06) top that delivery.
Moving on, Styles and Robb controlled the opening spell leading to Robb making the breakthrough clean bowling Skippings for 15 off the 8th over this bought J Veacock for his second spell at the club, With Gareth and the lads tails up in search for that extra gas, Gareth traps Veacock first up in front which was described as ‘plum chief’ from behind the stumps only for the umpire to call a no-ball for over stepping. Life given to Melksham as we prayed this didn’t come back to haunt us.
Veacock quickly settled in after his near scare and flashed ‘on the up’ cover drives off Styles the following over and looked in good nick whilst setting about chasing down the total. Another wicket for Robb in his next over bought the score to 49-2 off 10. Even.
Melksham continued at a high rate with Collins not to be out done by Veacock showing off his array of cricketing shots during the afternoon.
With Davies and Strong trying to stem the flow, this was not helped by some shoddy fielding and dropped catches then losing Strong with a pulled hamstring caused by him not fully recovering from his Fatal-4-Way from the hands of some of the 1st teamers two weeks ago, Patel was left scratching his head looking for the next breakthrough.
Deciding to turn to, man of the moment, Chopper Green. Big time Charlie, biceps on show and making his top as tight as possible, grabbed the ball, swept his hair to one side and trapped Veacock in front for a well made 39 in his first over. The bloke oozes confidence these days and living up to potential we’ve all been waiting to see, well bowled Charlie Green.
Drinks were called at this stage 126-3. It could go either way.
After drinks and with the next period being crucial, Rangers got a stroke of luck with a run out to Collins who was ticking along nicely out for 42, the next few overs bought regular breakthroughs from Green and Davies including that of C Singh for a quick fire 23.
With Melksham collapsing from 126-3 to 169-9 it was left to our young super star Matty ‘N’golo’ Milne to come on and wrap the innings up within two balls of his first over, Melkshams Footner finding the safe hands of Davies and the innings finishing on 169 all out.
Great start to the season from the lads and roll on next week where we take on Purton CC away.
MOTM – Gareth Robb
DOTD – Jon Street