The weather prospects looked pretty poor as the 1st XI made the long trip north to Cuckney for their first Premier League game of the season. The prospects of returning with more points than would have been gained from seeing the match cancelled seemed somewhat remote given the home side’s form at the end of last season in finishing runners-up (they were actually just one boundary away from winning the league off the last ball of the season).
The game was reduced to 44 overs per side on a cold and blustery day and unsurprisingly Cuckney elected to bowl first. Paldip Sidhu and Buffy Landa opened the innings against some rapid bowling with Buffy departing first being unlucky to be caught on the boundary after his hook shot was held up in the wind. There then followed an excellent partnership of 69 as Savin Perera made his debut for the club before Paldip departed for 42. Savin batted throughout the remainder of the innings to finish unbeaten on 57; an innings that showed great awareness of what conditions demanded as well as patience and no little skill. The run rate accelerated during the last 15 overs of the innings as Burhan Alam, Tom Murray, Ben Kitt and Dom Harvey made run a ball or better contributions. Tom’s innings was the most noteworthy as he hit 7 4s and a 6 on his way to 46 from just 32 balls. The innings closed at 208 for 6 from the 44 overs.
Just before the end of the innings the severity of the weather conditions were wonderfully demonstrated as the sightscreen followed the lead of the climate change protestors in London and started a lie in on the pitch.
At the start of the Cuckney innings the power of the wind was further illustrated as the normally pinpoint Dom Harvey, running downhill into a gale, struggled to find his line and an 11 ball over resulted. Cuckney were off to a flier as the second debutant, Ben Kitt, was hit for a couple of early boundaries. The first wicket went down at 40 in the 8th over and there was little sign of what was to follow as the second fell at 77 in the 14th over. Between the middle of the 16th over and the end of 21st over 4 wickets fell with no runs being scored. Suddenly Cuckney had plummeted to 83 for 6 and there was little appetite left for challenging for the win as they finished on 131. Ian Stone was the pick of the bowlers with his first 5 wicket haul for the 1sts (5 for 37), Dom Harvey bowled a stunning second spell after his early tribulations to finish with 2 for 33 and Ben Kitt wrapped up the tail and also finished with 2 for 33. The bowlers were well supported in the field with an awesome catch for Ben Kitt at first slip, three catches behind the stumps for Tom Murray and a great catch on the boundary and a direct hit run out for Jai Jandu.
A fabulous start then with a table topping 20 points for Attenborough and a super game to watch with great commitment, great performances and most importantly great team spirit. Well done indeed.