After last weekend’s narrow defeat to noisy neighbours Bedwyn, it was time for Captain Nick Patel’s men to dust themselves off and get back on the proverbial horse against a strong opposition in the form of Chippenham 2s. Gathering the troops for the now traditional early 11 o’clock meet, to put finishing touches to the fine ground work done in the week by Jake Kinderman and James Wheeler, spirits were high.
The arrival of the opposition led to the days first disappointment with Captain Patel losing the toss hoping it would be the only loss of the day. With a fairly green pre-season wicket, the Chippenham skipper put the Rangers in to bat with the hope the wicket would be lively early on.
With Kinderman, Stylo and Wheeler taking up their position in the scorebox with Mark Davies adding commentary to proceedings, two thirds of Burbage’s Salisbury contingent confidently strutted out to the middle to be greeted by the familiar figure of Peter Deck. Chippenham’s seam attack began lively but both Patel and Legg got off the mark in the first over. Both opening bowlers then built up pressure with 15 consecutive dot balls between them which spelled the end for the enigmatic Gary Legg. Eying a ball he could free his hands to, Legg nicked off to be caught fantastically in the gully.
The Rangers were then dealt a further blow when Craig Simmon’s return to the second eleven came to an underwhelming end being dismissed for just the one run to his name. With the most sceptical of team members fearing a collapse, Vice-Captain and last week’s DOTD strode out to the middle, pink hat and all.
With both leaders out in the middle, they were determined to step up and drag the team back from a poor start finding their side at 8-2 from 5 overs. With some confident strokes coming from the skipper, who appeared to be playing himself back into form and the always assured batting from Streety, they had begun to steady the ship. Patel was then the next to fall having gotten himself in with a knock of 33, he followed fellow Salisbury boy Leggy’s example playing the same shot, to be caught by the same fielder in similarly spectacular fashion, leaving the team 67-3.
With his biggest critic, dad, Mark watching on Rhys Davies headed out to the middle and early on set his stall out with some text book batting. With a partner in Jon Street, who was brimming with confidence having already bagged a half century against Beckington, he settled in nicely. Streety soon raced into the 30’s. Not to be outdone, with some fantastic drives and an uncharacteristic biff for 6, Rhys was looking the business.
With a half century on the horizon Streety scratched his way into the forties, unfortunately his patience had run out getting caught out in the deep for 43. Leaving us in a solid position at 117-4. Confidence soon fell with quick wickets of Good Will Hunting fan Terry Strong getting out for just 4 and Jake ‘Donald Duck’ Kinderman giving Decky his first LBW decision of the season the second XI suddenly found themselves 127-6.
But Davies was determined to put his first team experience to good use notching up his first senior fifty to rapturous applause from the crowd, led by dad stating ‘I told you all he was class’ With the introduction of the opening bowlers back into the attack, Davies fell shortly after this being clean bowled for 50, with dad claiming ‘I told you he was useless’
After a brief cameo from Wheeler (10) and Greener (5*), and the opening bowlers guiding Mark ‘roger’ Styles and Matt ‘cotton tail’ Milne back to the hutch without troubling the scorers, the Rangers headed in at half time 159 all out.
After a good feed courtesy of Mrs Milne and a lovely pavlova rustled up my Matty. The two’s took to the field feeling they were 20-30 runs short, but confident following a rousing speech from the skipper.
With the new cherry in hand Stylo, and genuine all-rounder Davies soon got an early break through. After a disciplined first two overs, Stylo found the openers edge which drew a superb flying catch from Simmo at first slip. With the field buoyant and calls of ‘he’s got more leaves than a tree’ he was joined in the pavilion by his opening partner after Rhys getting a flick off the gloves when the opener tried one too many leaves. Chippenham found themselves in trouble at 15-2 from 6
With Chippenham’s youth batsman at the crease they began to rebuild. Showing the calm head and solid defensive of a seasoned top order batsman, they found Burbage looking for alternatives. Captain Patel decided to throw the ball to his own youth option, and not so youthful option of Milne Jr and Strongy.
And it was Burbage’s youth that found the breakthrough, finding the top edge from an attempted slog sweep, sending the ball high with Stylo and Leggy looking for the catch. With a double check from Stylo, Leggy took the catch with ease. But Chippenham continued to show resilience, with some fantastic drives from their young batsman, Smith. Fortunately the Ranger’s own Phil Mitchell lookalike had the experience to draw an edge from the young batsman dismissing him for a respectable 24 just before drinks, leaving the game delicately poised at 70-4.
With the double strength squash down them, the Rangers return to the field. Terry Strong showing everyone that his wickets are like buses, you can wait all day for one and three come along at once, taking a further two wickets in his next two overs leaving the visitors struggling at 82-6.
Patel looking to put the opposition to the sword introduced Burbage’s Ashley Giles, Greener. With the confidence of last week’s scalp of former BERCC starlet Sam Tuttle for a golden, he bowled with great confidence and always looked a threat. Unfortunately this introduction lead to the batsman targeting Strongy’s bowling, and with fatigue setting in his figures went from 3-13 to 3-29 after being smashed for two 4s and a 6 in the same over. Respectable figures in anyone’s book none the less.
Chippenham then wrestling back control moved past the hundred mark, but greener was having none of it. With two jaffas in a row he swung the game back in the Burbage’s favour, clean bowling both with the score now lying at 122-8.
With beer calling him, and having allowed Wheeler to cancel out the runs he had scored, Patel called Davies back into the attack. This soon paid dividends taking a wicket with his second ball, self-described as ‘the worst ball he’s ever bowled’ and Wheeler exclaiming ‘I coulda bowled a full toss’ or words to that effect. Rhys then wrapped the game up finding a genuine edge drawing a fantastic catch from leggy, getting his 4th catch of the day. This left the away side 37 runs short at 123 all out; Davies 3-17, Strong 3-29, Green 2-21, Styles 1-20, Milne 1-25 and Wheeler 0-10.
When asked for a quote on the game the skipper said ‘the beer always tastes sweeter after a win.’ With a pre-season of 3 wins from 4 games sets the seconds up nicely going into next week’s opener at home to Melksham.
Up The Rangers!
Credit; Mark Styles.