Saturday 11th May and the return of the ex 2s skipper Manoj George and his Stratfield Turgis team. The wind from previous weekends had finally left and the sky was blue. Cricket season was well and truly under way. The half hearted catching practice from last week evolved into an actual drill. No increase in standard but it’s the thought that counts...

Welford skipper Myers, playing his first game of the season, uncharacteristically won the toss and Stratfield were inserted. Yahia and Herrington Jnr opened bowling. Yahia in particular was steaming into the crease, hitting the deck hard and forcing the batsman into some particularly attractive pull shots for 6. The crowd were diving for the cover of the batting cage but the opening partnership was soon broken by Herrington taking a classic fast bowlers wicket, caught at cover

After 8 overs, Fox and Herrington Snr were brought into the attack, H bowling particularly well and returning outstanding figures of 1-19 from his 8. Fox was less economical but broke the emerging second wicket partnership with an lbw. The wicket should have been taken an over earlier due to an outrageous catch in the gully, only to be reprieved by a front foot no-ball.

Former Park skipper George was brought to the crease in the 19th over and put on 116 run partnership with Butcher for the 4th wicket, building their innings either side of a particularly difficult Jones drop catch and some poorly backed up Herrington sledging.

Park had taken pace off the ball, with Ashton, Myers and Herrington Jnr (now bowling off spin) keeping the scores under 6 an over. With 5 overs to go and basic spin bowling not quite enough, Jones was brought into the attack to break the partnership. 3 balls and a new nickname later, Richie Two-Bounce had broken the partnership.

After a couple of late, meaningless wickets, Stratfield finished their 40 on 238-7.

In response, Myers and McManus opened up. Creaming the first ball through point for 4 was the height of Myers innings and jones soon followed him back to the hut, with the score 28-2. A couple of steady partnerships with Herrington Jnr and Goldsworthy ticked the scores along to drinks but when Keep was lbw for 0, Park still needed 100 with 5 back in the hut.

McManus passed 50 and after a couple of Yahia lives, the score was ticking along nicely thanks to some delicious cover drives and thwacks over the bowlers head. The pendulum swung in over 32 when McManus edged behind for 81, leaving park needing 43 at a run a ball. However Yahia was in no mood to let the game drift, seeing off Stratfields strike spin bowler and steering Park home with an over to spare and a win by 4 Wickets.

Man of the match: Split between McManus and Yahia for a fantastically timed chase
Moment of the match: Can’t really think of one...
Blue stripe: McManus for making an absolute hash of nominating the blue stripe in Wills absence

2 wins in 2 and a great start to the season. Up the park!

And so the 2019 season began. The clubhouse was painted, the pitch was immaculate and the Ferrero rocher was laid out for tea. The teams arrived in the sunshine but the calm weather wasn’t to last long.

After some half hearted attempts at catching practice in the by now windy & chilly conditions, the teams were ready to toss up. Captain Herrington continued the Welford tradition of losing the toss but getting what he wanted and Mortimer West End were batting first.

Fogden and Yahia opened up and after an early breakthrough due to some great fielding from Brown (and a slightly unsporting shout from the welford skipper), West End chugged along to 50-1 off 12. Senior Herrington was brought on and after a suspect 1st over, got the breakthrough via an inside edge onto the stumps in the second.

After some further run accumulation and a new nickname solidified, Steve “none-for” Yahia was replaced by Fox. Despite a pulled arse muscle after the first ball, Fox powered through to take the next 2 wickets (in the same over) and return respectable figures of 2-44 from his 8. A tight last 10 overs by both Herringtons and fogden kept the score below 200. Shout out to Griffiths behind the stumps with 2 run outs and a catch in a fine return to the 1st XI behind the stumps.

Goldsworthy and McManus opened up and started slowly. McManus was dropped on 0 but a base was built by the time Tiny was bowled, with the score 47-1. The base was extended further by Keep but captain Herrington was brought to the crease just before drinks with the score 67-2.

The pair saw it through to drinks and with some cultured Herrington hoicks, the run rate began to rapidly increase. Rotations of the strike and bad balls being put away, Park were rapidly getting on top of the game. By over 27, both men reached 50, McManus narrowly avoiding the humiliation of being overtaken to the milestone.

5 penalty runs for a hit of the helmet was the only surprise from then on, Herrington and McManus finishing the chase with 8 overs to spare for a dominant win and an unbroken 132 run partnership.

Man of the match: W. Herrington for a majestic unbeaten 78 to take the game away from Mortimer West End
Blue stripe: W. Herrington for 5 overthrows against Foxy (who was conveniently giving the award)
Moment of the match: C. Fox retrieving the ball from the boundary at mid off, only to inconceivably throw it back over the fence when attempting to return it to the bowler

Onwards and upwards for the season. Up the park!

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