Faversham v New Ash Green - Once again New Ash Green headed east along the M2 for our season opener, and same as last year the sun was shining. Our hosts won the toss & chose to bat. Whilst they chalked up 164 runs, Skipper James Nash took the opportunity to bring all the regular bowlers in the side out of hibernation. I Mellor (2-18) & F Quantrill (2-38) topping the 1st stats table, and the Skipper, N Delaffon & E Quantrill getting a start on their averages with one apiece.
After tea, new recruit Neil Howick (28) joined M Greene (11) at the crease to start the run chase. After their departure, with his various partners showing a variety of form, D Freeman came in at 4 and batted through to the win for a very respectable 70*, including a 69 partnership with I Mellor (27).
So season kicked started in a positive manner...
Faversham v New Ash Green
Friendly Match - 40 Overs. Faversham 164-9 (40 overs); New Ash Green 167-8 (38.3 overs); New Ash Green won by 2 wickets.
The long awaited 2019 Cricket Season finally arrived with the New Ash Green cricketers making their now annual pilgrimage all the way to Faversham. With the sun out and glorious weather forecast it couldn't have been a better day for it. Although this in turn caused havoc with the visitors' travel plans, fighting the beach goers and day trippers that had come out in force for the Easter Saturday sunshine. Fortunately, Faversham were also delayed in getting the ground ready for their first game of the season, so the 1pm start was delayed long enough for all preparations to be completed and almost all players to arrive. Noel Delaffon the only casualty, joining the match in the second over. James Nash, captaining a Friendly XI mix of regular 1st & 2nd XI players, continued his 2018 form with the coin, once again calling incorrectly, despite providing the coin! Faversham decided to bat, so New Ash Green would begin the season in the field.
Mick Sumner, fresh from his off season knee operation, and Felix Quantrill were tasked with taking the new ball. Sumner was his usual consistent and miserly self, conceding just 19 runs off his 6 overs, with 6 of them coming from the last ball of his spell. Quantrill, struggled slightly more with his early season radar, conceding a number of wides early on, but finishing stronger and picking up two wickets to finish with very respectable figures of 2-38. The opening duo were replaced with Ian Mellor and Nash. The captain trying to ensure there was plenty of scope to give as many as possible a chance to get a few overs under their belts. Both bowled well in tandem again, and Faversham were soon in trouble as Mellor picked up 2-18 and Nash 1-5. With a sparkling run out by new signing Neil Howick, Faversham had lost 6 wickets before even 20 overs had been bowled. Nash decided to open the game up, with himself and Mellor the unfortunate victims, being afforded only 5 overs between them. Mellor was replaced by Matthew Bushe, and Nash by Ed Quantrill. Both bowled economically and kept the lower order Faversham batsmen honest, and almost ended with identical figures. 7-1-19-1 for Quantrill and 7-1-19-0 for Bushe. It was left for Noel Delaffon and Paul Sumner to bowl out the last 10 overs of the innings. Both again bowled tidily but the Faversham batsmen were quick to pounce on any loose early season deliveries. Delaffon picked up a wicket to end on 1-17 from his 5 overs, and another great piece of fielding from Howick resulting in a 2nd run out, meant the Faversham score at tea was 164-9 off their 40 overs.
The New Ash Green reply started brightly with both Howick and his opening partner Martyn Greene finding the boundary with regularity. The score had reached 26 before Greene called for a suicidal run and failed to make his ground due to a direct hit. Bushe replaced him at the crease but struggled for fluency. Fortunately Howick was still batting nicely at the other end and had taken the score to 47 before he departed, bowled for a decent score of 28 on a pitch that a number of batsmen had struggled with. Bushe was joined by Dean Freeman, who had scored an unbeaten half century at this ground last season. Freeman also struggled early on, but then began to build an innings. While others of the middle order struggled to stay in & score, fortunately Freeman was still there and picking up more fluency as the innings progressed. At 69-5 Mellor joined him at the crease and looked confident from the outset. Some strong running, interspersed with some crunching boundaries, allowed the score to progress to 138 before Mellor was bowled for 27. The scoreboard had caught up with the run rate and, with less than 30 required, Freeman was able to score the majority of the remaining runs required, finishing up with a four to take the score to 167-8 and a 2 wicket win for the visitors to start the season. Freeman finished on 70*, by far the highest score on either side and rightfully took an early lead in the PPOTY† stakes, with Mellor and Howick both picking up a number of votes.
†That would be Players' Player of the Year
So a happy convoy headed back along the M2 and it just remains to thank our hosts Faversham for a good game, even if they did try to befuddle the visitors by trialing a 90 degree rotation to their square. And we look forward to welcoming them to Manor Field for a Sunday Friendly a bit later in the season.
Scorecard at Play-Cricket Our playcricket pages also provides team & league statistics.