New Season, New Opposition, New Result

vs Saxmundham Sports, away 16th April ’22

Welcome to 2022, and early doors we were off up the A12 to Saxmundham bundled into as few cars as possible to spare the fuel costs. With promotion from last year a distant memory and keen as always to get out after many indoor sessions, anticipation was rife. We also welcomed in two new players, young Barney Sharp and the ‘”you’ll-never-believe-my-age” Kye Hayden on an extremely short-term contract before he returns to another club when they start in another league.

With several regulars missing from the line-up such as David, Sam, Connor, all citing a variety of alleged excuses, we thought we had challenges but it was nothing compared to the opposition who’d planned not to play their skipper until he returned from seeing Spurs lose to the mighty Brighton. Such confidence ! Our skipper Daryl, not knowing that Saxmundham were actually two players down, chose to bat first on winning the toss. Would it have changed the result if Colne had bowled to nine players first ? Experts couldn’t agree.

Daryl was trying out yet another opening partner in David’s absence and this time we wondered if maybe the choice of Ben Mason might backfire, with the ever-present Cornardian usually keen on the “tip-&-run” approach. Fears were soon allayed however as the duo tucked into some early wayward bowling and were galloping along at 5/over until Ben holed out drove superbly to deep mid on where a smart catch was taken. In came Pat, but as soon as he arrived, Daryl departed, bowled around his legs for 35. The hubbub around the boundary grew as the crowd sensed a problem – when the skipper doesn’t go big, generally Colne dont either.

The evergreen Russ Dawes (persuaded to return on the basis that Saxmundham was only a few miles north of Chelmsford) was next to arrive, play some attractive shots then also depart bowled. Cometh the hour, and cometh the man – Jack Holdgate; here was a batsman who could rescue the situation whilst keeping ‘twelvethy’ busy with a succession of demands for items to be brought on/taken off whilst he amassed the runs. With a combination of effortless slogs to the extra cover boundary and intially good rotation of the strike with Pat, he did rescue the situation. Unfortunately, his batting partners had other places to be; Pat was dropped off a straight drive to short third man, but gave a simpler chance next ball to square leg; Barney’s intro to batting for Colne was shortened as he worked out what those white lines around the crease are for.

Jack was finally out for a respectable 38, and Kye took over the required boundary-finding, including one spectacular six which tested the structural integrity of the burger van scorehut. With 10-odd overs left, Trevor & Brommers tried to pick up the rate as Colne limped along past 150, eventually bringing in Dave Moon for a late cameo role.

A throwback to the old days was next as we trudged off to have tea provided – an exception to the modern norm of BYO, although several wondered what size bag would have been required to suit Kye’s dietary demands as he cleaned up, impressing all with his load and balance skills.

Back off to the field and normal service was resumed as ‘les freres de la lune’ (as they might have been known had they been born garlic-side) opened up the bowling for Colne. Just like in our innings though, the opening batsmen were no mugs and rapidly despatched anything over- or under-pitched. Younger brother Tom chose a shorter spell whilst elder brother Dave was in for a long one, and his deliciously devious leg breaks eventually brought reward, with two caught- & bowled, one smart stumping from Kye and and a simple catch to mid-on. His eventual figures of 4-37 would be the pick of the Colne bowlers and showed that his bitter frustration at being peaked at the post for last year’s bowling trophy had just about worn off. ‘Keeper Kye, who claimed post-match that it was a genuine pleasure to keep to such a bowler, was getting into the swing of wicketkeepers worldwide and keeping up a permanent chirp to batsmen and bowlers alike. His respectful call to the skipper’s bowling – “lovvvvvving it, Postie!” won’t be forgotten in a while.

Colne were always up against it though with too few runs on the board to defend, so despite the best efforts of Brommers and Ben, both of whom could be grateful for excellent catches from a Sleeman for their wickets, the home team progressed relatively serenely to their target. By the time the Saxmundham skipper came in at 6 down, amid various muttering about whether a player joining the game at 6pm could really be allowed to bat immediately (or wait until 11.30pm), it had all become rather academic and he was a happy bystander as the runs came from his batting partner, and the game was up with just under five overs to go.

A return to earth with a thud therefore, as last year’s promotion team met up with better opposition, longer matches, and a sign of what is to come. Next week, slightly nearer opposition as we head to the estuarian paradise of Mistley with a likely much-changed team due to enforced absences and the even more-enforced return of several stalwarts !

Earls Colne 155-8 (45 overs) – J.Holdgate 38, D.Sleeman 35, K.Hayden 19, T.Baigent 3-19

Saxmundham Sports 156-6 (40.5 overs) – S.Goddard 47, G. Butler 38, D. Moon 4-37

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