After nearly three weeks without rain and with the sun blazing down, we had perfect conditions for our first T20 of the season. Blenheim Park arrived to see a brownish, fast outfield and were probably disappointed to lose the toss and have to field first.
Howard Lancaster and six hitting Simon Pettit opened the batting. There's not much time in T20 to assess the conditions and the opposition but Howard thought he would anyway. The pressure mounted quickly after several dots but then two lovely cover drives took him to 8 before playing round a straight one looking to push for a single. Russell Turner joined Simon but barely had time to greet him before Simon missed a straight one and was given LBW.
12 for 2 and now needing a solid middle order contribution we were beginning to wobble. Russell, a T20 expert nudged singles into the gaps whilst Tim House aimed for the boundaries. Tim looked good for his 18 before he fell to a well taken catch.
Russell nudged some more, Jon O'Neill edged one and was caught. Mark Ford-Langstaff hit a solid 17 before also getting himself out caught, this time in the covers to a well taken one handed dive.
At 52/5 we were now in big trouble but Andrew Willcock stepped up and played an innings of class. With seven fours and two sixes and plenty of well run singles, Andrew showed us the way. He reached 61 and was not out at the end.
A word at this point about Russell. Quietly watching the wickets fall at the other end, he offered stability and reliability. He was the glue in our innings. Russell batted until the penultimate ball when he was run out unselfishly looking for a second run. His innings included twenty-one singles and a lone two. Whilst a total of 23 may not sound a lot it was hugely important in preserving wickets and allowing others to hit the boundaries. Well played.
Blenheim needed 146 to win. The sun was on our backs but in our eyes and the opposition were up for the chase.
Tim Cranston bowled three overs in his first spell finishing with 1 for 3 and could have had a second had slip been standing a little closer. He was backed up by George Williams bowling faster than we've seen before and when he bowled the other opener the pressure was all on Blenheim.
Simon Pettit and Rob Barton bowled the middle overs with honours even. Blenheim scored at 8 an over but this was below the required rate as Blenheim started to look for the bigger shots.
Andrew Willcock entered the fray, his first over going for only one. That built enough pressure to force a big shot from their number three who was caught well by Rob Barton off the bowling of Mark FL. Andrew then trapped the next man in LBW and Mark clean bowled number five for a duck.
The pressure was well and truly back on Blenheim and Tim C's second spell ended the game as a contest when he bowled a double wicket maiden on his return including another catch by Rob. There was still time for Howard to take a marvellous tumbling catch before the innings ended with Blenheim 8 runs short.
Simon Lee had marshalled his fielders expertly and this was a fine victory with Andrew giving us a target to defend, Tim C bowling magnificently and everyone making a contribution in some form or another. Well played MSCC.