Tom Holden-Dye reports from a short away trip for UBCC 4th XI
The 4s kicked off their 2017 BUCS season with an away fixture against Soton Solent 2s, in a somewhat disappointing display that was characterised by the fact that more time was spent on the team coach than out in the middle. After an uncomfortably early wake-up and long journey to the rural reaches of the SO postcode the team arrived bleary eyed to a small ground somewhere between Southampton and Portsmouth to be told the news that the ground’s staff had only realised a game was being played on the pitch the previous night, and that it was perhaps a little unready for the start of the season. A quick inspection of the strip confirmed this as an understatement. Only slightly less green than the outfield, yet somehow as hard as Rocky Balboa’s chin, the wicket appeared interesting to say the least and a low scoring game seemed very much on the cards.
Captain Bruce won the toss and elected to bat first, and so Totterdell and Smith headed out to the middle looking to get the season off to a strong start. Their opener started erratically – two horrendous wides to Totterdell were followed by a first ball jaffa to Smith that saw his bails removed and Hickey brought to the crease. Two more wides to Hickey and the score was left at 6-1 after the first over, with just one of those runs coming off the bat.
Unfortunately, the bowling from here on out became considerably more consistent and after 12 overs the openers came off with the team at 33-3, having lost both Hickey (3) and Fletcher (2) caught behind off the bowling of Holgate. Foster and Totterdell sought to form a partnership against the medo-leg break combo of their first change bowlers, but some more tidy bowling saw Foster removed for 6 in the 15th. The arrival of Willey to the crease saw the team’s first boundary but sadly he couldn’t build on this promising start and was dismissed for 8 in the 19th. Bruce came to the wicket and looked to bring some stability to the innings as Totterdell appeared to be getting established, but things took a turn for the worse when the opener fell for 19 in the very next over and the captain for 5 in the over after that. The fall of wicket number 8, Farrow for 1, came shortly after and the 4s were left on 61-8 after 23 overs with Main and South at the crease. The situation was pretty dire and triple figures felt a long way away. It was somewhat miraculous therefore when all of sudden South decided to start creaming the ball over the park, starting with back to back boundaries and taking absolute liberties against their spin attack. The opposition wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking we’d reversed the order. The score began rocketing up and within no time the hundred mark had been surpassed. Main provided solid partnership to the inform South and scored well until he was removed for 9 in the 32nd, with the score at 104. Holden-Dye came in and South continued to score well until the number 11’s wicket fell for 6 in the 36th. The team finished on 130 all out, a very respectable total considering where they were 10 overs earlier, with South on 48 n.o, the saviour of the innings.
After an average tea of sandwiches and snacks the boys took to the field confident after the strong end to the innings but aware they had a lot of work to do if they were going to defend the short total, even with the pitch offering plenty of variable bounce and movement. Things did not start to well however as their openers got off to a flyer, not helped in the least by Holden-Dye’s inability to bowl more legitimate deliveries than illegitimate ones. After two overs and more balls pitched off the strip than on he was removed for Farrow. Main and Farrow bowled good lines but found it difficult against what was clearly a very strong Solent opening pair, who were keeping the run rate ticking along at roughly 9 an over. After 5 respectable overs Main was replaced by South and the spinner managed to provide a breakthrough, removing their number 1 for 38 after he holed out to the safe hands of Foster at mid-wicket. Sadly little could be done to slow the Solent chase, with the rain dances of the UBCC team only meriting an annoying 5 minute burst of hail, and they strolled home after 14.5 overs to win the match by 9 wickets. On the day the Solent side were just a bit too strong but the 4s will be hoping to bounce back against Exeter on Wednesday and notch up a first win of the BUCS season.
Chai Pani DOTD:Tom Holden-Dye, for having to switch from pace to off-spin half way through an over in order to complete it. Diabolical.
Bath Ales MOTM:Sam South, for a top score of 48 not out that could have been a lot more and the only UBCC wicket of the match.