Chigwell Well on Top, But Mayfield Field Better
Charlie and Richard started the bowling; Mayfield got off to a sound start before a couple of maidens by Richard stemmed the flow. Charlie was rewarded for an aggressive spell when he claimed the first wicket with the help of Dave behind the sticks - 43-1 after 9 overs. Adam replaced Richard, the memory of his excellent bowling at Uplyme still fresh in our minds. Unfortunately Adam developed a bit of a niggle and was unable to replicate that performance, so Rob took over after only three Adam overs. Rob O replaced Charlie and the change of pace soon brought results with Guy Bowden, who had looked in good nick, stumped - the result of taking guard beyond the crease on a turning wicket. Martin Bentley departed bowled by Rob O and things were looking back under control. Rob A added to the sense of well-being by taking a wicket with his first ball, a gentle half-volley guided into the grateful hands of mid off to leave Mayfield 77-4
Steve Copus and Ray Victor then forged an increasingly assured partnership which began to wrest the initiative back to the visitors. It was during this stand that, under pressure from the cool running of the batsmen, the fielding became increasingly ragged with fielders slow to stop ones, gifting overthrows, and missing easy run-out opportunities. After the partnership had doubled the score to 154 salvation was found by Chigwell in the form of Ahsan Kaleem who replaced the faltering Rob O to almost immediate effect. Steve Copus departed for 41 to a marvellous catch by the bowler and with one end now open Ahsan proceeded to harvest the Mayfield middle-late order with wicked late in-swing. His figures of 5-26 were in no way flattering and we look forward to many more 5 wicket hauls from him this season. Charlie had a few more overs but in the end Rob O returned to dismiss the Mayfield number 11, although not before being dispatched over his head for 4 by the tail-ender. The innings closed on 222 all out, one and a half overs short of the customary cut-off point.
"Wiskin Teas" delivered a sumptuous tea, so far removed from that dished out by their predecessor that it was hard not to overindulge. Rob and Dave were more careful than most as they had to open the batting, although no one was exactly keen to share the burden of opening with the skipper, causing him to assert his authority and insist that Dave joined him. Oh happy decision! Rob and Dave batted superbly against a decent attack, defending the best balls and dispatching anything else with increasing aplomb. Rob raced ahead to reach 50 first, Dave following soon after. Eventually the partnership realised 204 runs, the 200 partnership mysteriously greeted with total silence by those gathered on the boundary.
Rob was well caught in the deep having scored a magnificent 117, surely the best he has ever batted. The only real drama left in the day came when Mayfield went up for a catch behind, claiming an edge from Dave. As umpire at the time I can only say that I heard no noise, saw no deflection and that however vociferous the appealing it is impossible to give someone out under such circumstances. Having experienced a similar incident last year, (at a time when it was actually significant to the result) Mayfield were incensed. Perhaps a largely fruitless day in the field added to their ire. Unfortunately the incident rather spoiled the atmosphere of a good game played in a friendly spirit. The bar being prematurely shut by Steve meant that we were unable to rekindle that spirit over a beer or two, which was a real shame. (Do we get a discount from Old Chigs if we have no bar facility after the game?).
Overall a commanding performance with the bat by the openers and a skilful display of bowling by Ahsan more than made up for our fielding indiscretions and Chigwell finished the day looking like the reigning champions of the league (at last!)