One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs St Albans, Sydenham Park #3, Presidents, 6th October 2012
There were two things clear from this game, firstly, the younger guys (the skipper, with a back) and our new ex-senior all-rounder Matt, (groin at practice, and calf during the game) need to do some conditioning work to survive the rigours of President cricket. The other, that one player stood head and shoulders above all else in this particular game, Ken Julian.
It was a game where conditions started out encouragingly, deteriorated considerably when two showers took us off the ground for 30 minutes, then improved throughout the rest of the day once the sun came out. We lost the toss and were invited to bat, not an uncommon request in the first game of the season. And we struggled early once the first shower arrived which made boundaries, even two's, a rarity. Then when Tim (played on), Kevin C (a school boy run out over-estimating what a two is on a wet outfield) and Matt (trying to clip one early through mid-wicket) we were suddenly 17/3 after 10, and in some trouble. Kev Moore got some momentum going with a quick 15, but when he fell, the match winning partnership came together. Ken and Flem set about righting the innings as the sun came out and conditions improved. Ken played the anchor role, but striking a boundary whenever really required, and Fleming smashed even some of the good balls for boundaries to ensure the momentum was always maintained. Ken finished not out with an excellent 60, and Flem undefeated on 48. At a time when we at best had to hope for a 120 to defend, 158 gave us a real chance despite the improving conditions.
However, St Albans thought otherwise and started well. They are a newly amalgamated younger side who will undoubtedly win more than they lose this year. Despite Jules picking up their best batsman cheaply with a Jaffa early on, John Price kept them in hunt throughout most of their innings. And at 64/2, and Matt having blown his calf, we were at risk as Ken started to get into his stride. Normally a bowler who contributes through stifling the opposition batting, this was a day when Ken went straight through them. His 4/24 dramatically swung the match back in our favour, particularly when he bowled the second Jaffa of the innings to win his running battle with Price. However, there was still much work to do as Saints kept mostly to the required run rate and were never really out of it.
But the bowling side we have this year will, I am certain, with availability, unquestionably prove to be the best in the competition, and all were bowling well. With Flem and Tim giving away little, Jason and Jules were a real handful. Jason, who had missed the two pre-season practices, was on the spot immediately and bowled with such vigour that no one was really comfortable against him, particularly when trying to score runs. When the two of them came back for their critical last spells, it quickly became apparent that they were both up for it. Whilst we weren't sure of winning it until the final over, these two made sure that Ken's outstanding day proved to be match winning.
So a great start to the season, and encouraging to see some fight from individuals when the going got tough. There was much to like about this match, and although Matt's injury made him a passenger at times, his value to the side is already obvious, and despite the skipper being likewise incapacitated, he set the tone for what should be a very enjoyable season.
Check out the scorecard from the game.