Eleven vintage Morgans. A wonderful sight, and analogous to our own eleven, in many ways.
Blenheim Park CC at Blenheim Palace, 40 overs.
It's finally, belatedly, here. After a cancelled Whippersnappers, no nets at all, and an absent opening fixture, our first game of the season finally took place against old friends Blenheim Park CC. We're most often on the wrong end of this fixture, undone by the notoriously difficult pitch, though last year saw a thumping Bodley victory by 9 wickets. With this in mind, and with a decent team, we assembled under grey skies and hopefully no rain, to see if last year's heroics could be repeated. Lined up like eleven vintage Morgan sports cars, skipper Gareth Jones promptly lost the toss (never call heads...) and we were bowling first.
Regular opening bowling and South African Silver Fox Phil Burnett opened the bowling, with Gavin Robinson taking the other end. Both started well, and immediately revealed the pitch to be even more uneven than usual. The same ball might trickle, bounce, wang, or skid through, with no apparent reason for the change. After a couple of big shots to take advantage of the short boundaries (on account of the long grass), Burnett took the first wicket with the first ball of his second over, in spectacular fashion. A good length ball was tickled down the leg side by the batsman, and appeared to be dying as it flew past keeper Matthew Neely. But Neely's full stretch lighting dive - quite possibly the fasted he's ever moved - saw the ball pouched one-handed just above the grass to take an absolutely stunning catch and leave the batsmen utterly incredulous. 11-1 from 3 overs. A great start.