Threes get off to a flyerby Geoff Boycott
And so another season got underway on an unusually bright and sunny day (in Alphington anyway!). With a strong looking team (save for a severely hung-over Christian sporting the latest in designer shades to hide his bloodshot eyes and Big Boz recovering from a car accident) the 3s were eager to get started.
Having inspected the wicket it was definitely a toss to win. Though flat it was damp and green, and the consensus was win the toss and bowl. Thankfully Geoff called right! A superb warm-up orchestrated by Alex got us right up for the game and as Charley marked his run-up and Christian uttered the first of many witty retorts (come back Jake all is forgiven!) it was show time!
And what a show. Charley made full use of the new ball, bowling accurately and getting a lot of movement and three wickets later his first over for Exeter CC had been a reasonably successful one! Who would have wanted to follow that up? Well Tor had no choice but found it hard to get his line right against their left-hander to start with.
After such an explosive start expectations were high for Charley's second over. Sadly despite causing the batsmen trouble and appealing for LBW several times the opposition were standing firm. Tor was finding his line and bowled a great line to the right hander, without much joy. however another couple of wickets, one for each of the opening bowlers, saw them finish their six over spells with figures of 4-5 (Charley) and 1-12 (Tor). Time for some royalty to join the party (oh and Hot Wings).
While Chris found it hard to control the late swing early on The King was straight into his rhythm, causing the batsmen just as much trouble as Charley. You could almost say it was metronomic couldn't you Christian? Mesmerising even. Despite this Chris drew first blood bowling their opener with a yorker. Another short partnership held out for a few hours before The King claimed his first scalp. Followed by a second the very next ball. Hat trick time, everyone around the bat. Sadly the batsman wasn't tempted into playing.
The last two wickets were shared by the two bowlers and the figures were equally impressive. Chris finished with 2-20 and Naj 3-9. Alphington bowled out for 49 on a wicket that was shooting and popping. There was no certainly no complacency as captain Boycott impressed upon the batsmen to take their time and ensure we got home safe and dry to ensure maximum points.
With tea hours away Sean and last-minute stand-in Jamie strode to the crease. A few wides helped get us off the mark and despite the wicket still playing unpredictably the confidence grew as the batsmen played themselves in. It was hard work but with a combination of sensible batting, good running and some lovely drives the openers saw the team home in 14 overs. A great start to the season, though we learned later that the opposition were missing a few players. So not a benchmark for the league standard but a confidence booster and the two bonus points for a quick chase saw us sitting proudly at the top of the table. For now. Let's see if we can stay there.