It was a clash of athletic youth versus arthritic experience at The Cyril Crawte Arena (Wrecclesham), where the newly constituted 3rd XI are playing their home fixtures. Grayswood 4th XI fielded 6 under 15s against a veteran Tilford squad many of whom had probably last played together 20 years ago.
On a stodgy wicket, Tilford – inserted by the Grayswood capatain – made a slow start as the ball failed to get above ankle height. However, as they adjusted to the slowness of the pitch, openers Bussell and Knight kept the scoreboard ticking along and brought up the 50 in the 11th over. It was the athletic nature of the opposition that brought about Bussell’s downfall as he tickled the ball behind square and set off for an optimistic single. Sent back, the turning circle of the supertanker proved too great as a direct hit on the stumps saw him run out by some distance for 18. Knight fell for 35, bowled off his pads which brought Chris Adam to the crease and he played a masterly innings of initial caution building into brutal hitting towards the end. He found good support from newcomer Spresney and the hard hitting Grogut and ended 57 not out from a sizable Tilford total of 194 from 40 overs.
Tilford’s bowlers exploited the slow wicket with some relatively accurate bowling from players desperately short of match or indeed any other kind of practice. Fosten struck early ending with 6 overs 2 maidens 2 wickets for 5 runs and new signing Vinoth had equally good figures of 6.3 overs 2 maidens 2 wickets for 14. Rhys David looked impressive in his 4 over spell taking 2-14, Jocky Crawte’s trip from Scotland was equally successful with an impressive spell of 8 overs 3 maidens 2 wickets for 6 runs and Alex Grogut also picked up 2 wickets for only 5 runs.
A few old bodies will be aching on Sunday but the good start to the campaign will ensure lots of smiles alongside the winces of pain.