After heavy afternoon rain on Friday our ten man side were happy to get any cricket at all. Braintree had covered their pitch but it was still extremely soft, with a squidgy and sodden outfield. Having lost the toss, Braintree chose to bat and soon our ten man team was making quick inroads into the Braintree top order. Smith picked up three wickets in as many overs and Braintree were teetering at 30-3. But ex Halstead opener Merrell had other ideas, and after a cautious start spanked a fine century, aided and abetted by youngster Grayson who also scord 67. A score of 250 looked likely, but Smith returned to account for Merrell and two other tail-enders to take 6-72, and limit Braintree to 226-9. Brooker and Mason contributed with one wicket each, with a run out on the last ball of the innings accounting for the ninth wicket.
After tea the wicket had dried a little and batting conditions looked easier. Willsher and Brooker took the score past 30 in the 9th over and were progressing serenely when Willsher changed his mind mid-shot and was bowled off his pads. Brooker followed shortly afterwards, caught for 22. When Mason and Hayns also departed, Colne looked to be in trouble at 55-4. But a great little partnership of 67 between Higgins (27), and 13 year-old Toby Phillips (24) took us to within 100 of the Braintree total with 14 overs to go. Could an upset be on the cards? Smith joined Oakley and the pair added 21 before Smith was unluckily run out on a poor call. Oakers was left to marshal the tail, and added a further 11 runs in partnership with Ashley Philips. 157-8, with the last pair at the wicket and hopes were draining away. Adam Page strode to the crease and batted in the only way he knows how (just tonk the damned thing!), and the score progressed quickly with Oakers joining in the fun with a straight six off Merrell. With 5 overs to go the score stood on 188, and an upset still seemed a remote possibility. Ten runs later the luck ran out, with the score on 198, Page was clean bowled for 19 with Earls Colne all out for 198 with 19 balls still left to be bowled. Oakley 40 n.o.
How might it have been with eleven?
Braintree 20 points. Earls Colne 8 points Full scorecard here