Banbury 2nd XI’s start season with three friendly wins

The first game of the season was away to Evesham on a nice sunny warm day on 21st April.  The team fielded a mixture of second XI and third XI players.  Banbury lost the toss and the new second XI captain was surprised when he was asked to bat first on what appeared to be a slow low wicket.  

Banbury opened the batting with A Sabin and J Briggs.  Sabin started off hitting the ball cleanly to all parts of the field and scoring four 4’s within his first six scoring shots.  Briggs struggled to start and was eventually caught at slip for 5 after facing 16 balls.  J White entered and began to play some lovely shots.  He and Sabin were going well and Sabin made his 50 after 76 balls and eventually holing out at mid wicket from a full toss.  C Board joined White at the crease and unfortunately didn’t make much impression on the score, being bowled to a ball that remained really low.  White was joined by W Hazell at the crease and White was accredited with comment of the day to his new captain of “the bowling’s not very good, fill your boots”; to which two balls later, White received a full toss outside off stump and was caught by the wicket keeper. Only having faced 2 balls, Hazell was joined at the crease by A Jarvis and the two of them set about the Evesham bowling attack.  Hazell eventually retiring after hitting 75 runs off 53 balls, which consisted of ten 4’s and five 6’s.  Jarvis continued the aggressive stroke making but was eventually bowled on 42 after facing 48 balls.  J Briggs and L Sabin finished off the innings, Briggs with 18 not out and L Sabin with 2 not out.  Banbury finished on a total of 254 after 45 overs.  

After a hearty lunch, Banbury opened their bowling attack with R Freeman and P Gregory. After dusting off the winter cobwebs, both settled into their stride very well, especially Gregory who mixed his aggression up wisely and ended up with figures of seven overs, 2 wickets and 25 runs.  First change was J White with his off spin and was too good for the Evesham batsmen and also P Hill bowled very well with his left arm around the wicket.  Banbury eventually bowled Evesham out for 115. 

Captain’s comments “A good start to the season.  Although against a lower division team, it was good to get out and dust the cobwebs off and be playing cricket again”. 

For the second game of the season Banbury faced Aston Rowant at home. 
Banbury won the toss and elected to bat first and opened the batting with J Briggs and our new overseas Australian L Marshall. Both realised that the pitch was a very good batting wicket and began to play strokes very early on.  Hazell having to finally retire J Briggs on 55 after he suffered a slight knee injury and seemed unable to carry on, although reluctantly called off.  Marshall was joined at the crease by young N Gregory who began to play his strokes very early on.  Having reached his maiden 100 on his debut for the club, Marshall went on to a total of 119 and was then retired.  S Beck was unfortunately bowled without troubling the scorers. C Board was partnering N Gregory and made a well constructed 52 and was retired.  N Gregory batted exceptionally well for a 15 year old and was retired after he scored 58.  O Murray went in and hit a quick fire 12 and T Harrington a quick fire 11.  Banbury ended the innings on 334 after 45 overs. 

 Banbury opened the bowling up with Freeman and Gregory again.  Both bowled exceptionally well and again it was Gregory who was to take the first couple of wickets within the innings.  Harrington and Hazell then took up the attack and the new captain, wanting to give everyone a bowl, bought on Murray, Board and Beck to finish off the Aston Rowant tail end.  Captain’s comments “Another good batting and bowling performance. Although against a lower division team again, it’s a very good start to the build up to our first League game”. 

 Our third and final friendly was to Cropredy First XI’s at home.  On an overcast morning, Banbury won the toss and elected to bat first. On what appeared a green and lively wicket,  A Sabin and L Marshall appeared to struggle early on and Marshall, after making a century on debut, failed to struggle the scorers after only facing one ball and was caught at cover.  Sabin was joined at the crease by E Phillips and both knuckled down again against some very good bowling, although the pitch had a lot to do with them not troubling the scorers too much. 

 Phillips went on to construct an innings of 19 runs but was eventually caught at cover.  Sabin was joined by A Pearson who seemed to struggle early on and was then LBW to Lynch after just making 14.  J White joined Sabin at the crease – he started to construct a middle order holding role which allowed Sabin to play some shots and increase the scoring rate.  Sabin was finally stumped after knuckling down and playing a very fine innings of 61 trying to force the run rate, which consisted of six 4’s and one 6.  C Board was sent out to try and push the run rate on but failed to do so, being caught after just making 5 and O Murray also failed to trouble the scorers, only scoring 1.  The Banbury captain took it upon himself to do the same and push the run rate and scored a quick fire 32 off 15 balls with four 4’s and three 6’s and White finished on 32 not out after 57 balls, which consisted of five 4’s. Hazell and White saw the innings through to a total of 221 after 45 overs. 

 By the time Banbury opened the bowling attack, the weather had brightened up and dried the wicket and the early attack of P Gregory and I Adams saw the ball move around off the pitch and both bowlers were encouraged and were rewarded for their efforts in their second overs by removing both openers.  P Gregory returned figures of seven overs, 2 for 46 and I Adams in his first game for the season, returned figures of six overs, 2 maidens, 2 for 21.  The captain then bowled himself and O Murray in short bursts and Murray struck success in his third over by claiming a double wicket maiden and eventually returned figures of four overs, 1 maiden, 3 for 16.  Young N Gregory and J White took up the spin option and bowled well. N Gregory returned figures of 1 for 30 and White 1 for 29. The innings was finished off by L Marshall in his debut opening bowling spell for the club. Managed 3 balls and 1 wicket for 4 runs. 

Captain’s comments” A very good batting and fielding performance all round with two excellent catches by A Pearson. Overall, a convincing win although against lower division team”. 

Banbury’s 2nd XI first league game is against Buckingham away on 12 May where we’re sure to come up against stiffer opposition but I think our three games, we’ve had to start the season with have been a solid start to base our league season on”.

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