Twyford’s season opener was an enticing fixture away to newly promoted Overton II at the new, Berrydown Playing fields atop the rolling Hampshire Countryside, with temperatures peaking at 24 degrees. Retained skipper for the season Nick Moreland took one look at the prepared track and confirmed his intentions to bat first, the coin obliging. The wise old heads of Twyford knowing that a good batting track in May was about as likely as a Nobby Bance LBW decision…
Twyford, sporting two new 1st team faces in the elegant Bance brothers (no relation to the umpire) driving the average age from College to Village, looked to have a strong batting line up.
Moreland opening up with the evergreen Butcher looked in great touch against the two left arm openers of Overton, Moreland seemingly driving everything out of the middle. However, the fun ended with the rock hard wicket misbehaving , a shooter removing Moreland’s leg stump. Butcher was soon to follow with a leg side hack resulting in an early walk back to the pavilion. Bance joined Alex Reidy, who seemed slightly worried about his newly purchased lumberjack flatloader than his batting, with the car precariously parked at deep mid off. Two beautiful drives from Reidy seemed to have stemmed the flow of Twyford wickets, however another low bouncing delivery had Reidy dead in front of middle and he was on his way. Will Paterson joined the fun only to be removed by another good delivery, shortly followed by Tom Ducker who played all around a straight one.
At 25-5 Twyford were staring at an early season nightmare defeat. Wyatt Brennan and Jon Bance worked hard to shore up things and spend time at the crease accumulating runs where possible and seeing off the opening bowling assault. Both were rewarded when the change bowlers were bought on to replace the excellent left arm openers, one over being despatched for a much needed 25. Subsequent change bowlers were not as accommodating to the Twyford batsmen and again slow progress was made to move the scoreboard on. Brennan departed, another bowled by tight bowling with Matt Paine joining Bance in the middle. Paine’s instructions were to occupy, however after three balls, two had threatened to penetrate the ozone layer. Luckily Paine realised the errors of his ways and played respectively for the next 6 overs offering few chances and playing some cultured strokes. Paine, like so many before was castled by a straight delivery. Luckily for Twyford an old head in the form of Andy Thorne walked to the crease remaining not out, including the shot of the day, a cover drive for four. Jon Bance was finally removed when a snorter just short of a length wrapped the bat handle and gloves ballooning to slip for a watchful 73. John Paine left a schoolboy leg side delivery that clipped the leg stump and Simon Bance was bowled first bowl clearly spotting something more interesting on the Hampshire horizon, Twyford had crawled to a below par 135.
Tea taken, a fired up opening bowling partnership of Ducker and Paine junior began with excellent lines and lengths, Ducker bowling at great pace but against a good Overton opening pair. Suitable note to Paine who gave nothing away throughout his spell. Overton crawled to 24-0 off of 17 overs before the openers began to look at ease, taking Reidy for 9 in one over. Brennan replaced Paine junior and Paine senior replaced Reidy. Brennan ended the opening partnership turning one appreciably to bowl the impressive Overton skipper for a well made 30. Following an on field committee meeting skipper Moreland turned to Ducker hoping that the extra pace would unsettle the new batsmen. The next 5 wickets were a haze of pace at one end, Ducker bowling easily the quickest spell of bowling witnessed in the Hampshire regional divisions (well certainly by your reporter) and Brennan turning the ball square on an ever helpful Overton deck. With great bowling by both and still spells available from Hampshire representative opening bowler John Paine, Matt Paine and Reidy, Overton were always going to find things difficult. The end came with a comical run out, Matt Paine throwing from the boundary to run out Overton’s number 11.
A great win for Twyford, enjoyed by all of the team and celebrated at the Phoenix afterwards. Note must go to the Overton team, a great bunch of lads and cricket played in the right spirit. Skipper Moreland needs a mention, it’s never easy keeping on a two paced wicket and he kept very well throughout, however congratulations to Overton for the facilities, the ground is only three years old and the wicket was not ever dangerous even during Duckers second spell which would have seen the radar guns into the 80 mph’s and was fair to both sides.
Lastly to Nobby Bance for umpiring, faultless throughout, bowlers and wicket keepers always think an LBW is out and Batsmen never ever do!
Well done lads, home to East Woodhay II next week.
Twyford 135 all out
J. Bance 73
Overton II 103 all out
W. Brennan 4-33, T Ducker 5-22
Twyford won by 32 runs