Our second game of the season had only two survivors from the opening game , Lowden and the skipper . So the squad rotation policy had to come in to effect.
With some of the squad away on European duties, others held busy at home or at work, we managed to muster 10 Rioteers strong and true to face the might of Ropley.
Calling tails for the first time I won the toss and elected to bat.
A new opening partnership was tried and Brazier S was joined by Tim Walder.
Things were going steady and after 40 minutes we had about 30 runs on the board.
Tim had played himself in nicely and having seen off the opener thought about upping the run rate .
Unfortunately the first ball from the new bowler looked tasty enough but , maybe a lack of self- belief, Tim held back having middled it and picked out mid- off for a tame end to a promising start.
In came the skipper and looking to press on, missed timed an attempted heave to his natural area and was caught well at mid -on. 34-2
He was replaced by his son Bertie who was not happy going in at 4 and he soon joined his father back in the hutch, bowled by a well pitched up straight one.
Up stepped Williams C who left the pitch last year in Black tie. This year’s game being played on the Sunday was the day after the Trojans Dinner ! Slightly worse for wear Campbell strode confidently to the wicket and together with Simon put on a much needed 100 partneship. Most of the runs however coming from the cultured bat of Brazier S.
Eventually they both succumbed, Simon hitting his first ton of the season and Campbell his first 30ish.
Simon Swales, who manages to injure himself on the majority of occasions he plays for the Rioteers, did it again and retired hurt top edging a classic pull shot splitting the bridge of his nose ! Hall replaced Simon and joined Brazier snr who tried hard not to trouble the scorers in the run in to tea. The final ball of our innings was apparently a complete debacle with Brazier trying everything to lose his wicket but only succeeded in taking the score to 167 for 6 probably 13 short of our target but enough to make a game of it.
Tea was taken and what a tea, Egg sandwiches, hot sausage rolls a variety of cakes and delicious meringues with cream.
Then on to defend our total.
Hall and Lowden opened up and were soon in the groove.
With only 10 of us in the field and trying to tame Ropley’s skipper and their Aussie overseas player it was going to be tricky. After an early run out by Campbell’s direct hit, the Aussie lost the ball with a powerfully hit short arm punch through mid on off Hally. But after that the batting looked less fluent as John and Matt made it difficult which made the skipper’s job of field placing nice and simple. Dessie snapping at the batsmen from slip or there abouts keeping very much in the game ( watch for the spin though Dessie ! )
The bowling was shared around with Hillier B and his dad swapping at the top end while Williams and Brazier and Bertie with a second spell bowled up the slope.
Then after a couple of overs from Walder, our opening pair were called on again, all a bit late and Ropley passed our total with an over to spare.
Oh yes Braz got a wicket with a flying catch from Campbell ! I thought I wouldn’t be able to take him off as his second over looked like going on for ever and the wides were getting wider See Brazier’s memoirs.
All in all a fair result – Next week Wickham
Brazier’s Memoirs :
Just in case you need reminding. A helpful extract to include in your report:
” Ropley chasing a relatively small target were well on track and it was time ( somewhat belatedly some might say) to bring on guile and experience. The ball was thrown to Braz snr and after a tidy (ish) first over he struck with his first ball of his second over thanks to a diving catch by Williams. As it was clear if he remained on the game would be over, so the captain replaced him with his son (nepotism !!!) and another opportunity of a Braz snr Ninefer was gone.”