Univ (103-1) beat Merton/Mansfield (102 all out) by 9 wickets
Univ’s season got off to the perfect start with a convincing 9 wicket man over Merton/Mansfield. On a pitch that didn’t appear to offer that much to the bowlers, the M’s batted first. Univ’s new ball attack however soon induced a number of false strokes from the M’s openers, with Univ captain McNab particularly impressive. It was Schofield who took the opening two wickets though, bowling one opener then the other in an impressive display of seam bowling.
While the M’s number three hit some lusty shots, Univ’s first change pairing kept the pressure on the batsmen. When Merton/Mansfield’s star man departed, courtesy of a stunning diving catch, the M’s looked to be in serious trouble. Their plight only worsened with the introduction of spin into the attack, with Park picking up two wickets and fresher Hugh Moorhead taking four in a devastating spell of leg-spin bowling. The home side were eventually dismissed for just 102 in just over thirty overs.
Univ’s chase got off to a bad start; the first wicket went down with the score on just 2. However Ben Hall and Schofield steadied the ship, with Hall in particular playing some lovely shots. Schofield rode his luck; he cheerfully admitted after the game that he could have been out ‘at least nine times’. Inexplicably however the M’s contrived to drop several sitters and his wild swipes either just evaded the fielders or missed all together. With Hall composed and watchful at the other end, the small target was gradually whittled down.
Schofield clinched victory with back to back fours, finally locating the middle of his bat in the last over of the match. After a strong showing in their opening match Univ will be hopeful of improving on their mid-table finish last year.
By Oliver Park
Keble royally smash mishmashed Queens
Keble (83-0) beat Queens (82-7) by 10 wickets
On a balmy Wednesday afternoon, Keble routed Queens by 10 wickets to make it two wins out of two and continue their promising start to the season.
Queens were playing with a hastily cobbled together side, whether absences were caused Mayday hangovers or just a freak spate of injuries is unknown, but either way the home side did not possess a depth of cricketing experience within their side.
In a game shortened to 20 overs per side, Queens were always going to be heavily reliant on their top order to carry the innings through and although the two openers made a steady start to the innings, once George Saunders had made the first breakthrough, wickets began to fall at regular intervals.
Some heavy hitting from the Queens number three briefly put Keble on the back foot but his gung-ho approach soon proved his undoing as he skied a catch to Matt Harris at mid-off.
The wickets were shared by the Keble attack, but somehow Alastair Garner failed to take a wicket. The metronomic seamer did not concede a run in his initial two-over spell, before returning to bowl another maiden in his third and only eventually conceded a run thanks to a couple of shanks from the Queens lower order.
James Colenutt put up some admirable resistance for the home side and was run-out for 26 in the cruellest manner, with his partner smashing a straight drive that was deflected by the fingertips of Rishi Majithia and onto the non-strikers stumps, with Colenutt stranded.
Keble’s opemers knocked off the target of 83 in 15 overs with relative ease, with only the Michael Yardy-like darts of Mohammed Ali causing any real problems for Miles Dilworth (32) and George Saunders (34).
In reality Queens had simply not created any scoreboard pressure on the Keble batsmen, who were able to sit-in and wait for the inevitbale loose delivery without taking undue risks.
Keble then make it two wins out of two as they look to mount a title challenge. but Queens will simply be hoping to get their full strength side back in operation.