Three’s Look For Positives With Players Set to Return!

‘Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit’ Napoleon Hill

Following on from the heavy defeat to Cove 4ths the previous week, an Oakley 3rd XI making five changes were eager to right the wrongs and put in a positive performance against Basingstoke 5ths last Saturday. A combination of promotion to the two’s, injury and Deano having a weekend off to go to a Jubilee party resulted in call ups for Ryan Parry, Savindu Sapumanage, Billy Turner, Alan Howarth and youngster, Charlie Miller. However, such is life in the 3’s that even when you get to the day of the game, last minute changes occur. On this occasion Chairman Bob Lethaby, testing positive for COVID on Saturday morning and having to drop out, being replaced through an extended loan agreement, by Graham Hooper.

The 3’s went into the game not knowing what to expect from a Basingstoke side who have had to concede their first three league games of the season. At the toss their skipper was confident that their availability troubles were behind them, and despite their 4th XI not having a game that day he assured me that he had not selected anyone from the 4th’s and was looking forward to a good game.

Basingstoke Bat First

Basingstoke batted first, opening with a chap who had played for Basingstoke 4th’s all season! Attacking from ball one with generally a cross-batted swipe, their opener started fast, and continued to club as many balls as he could to the leg side boundary. He may not have had a textbook technique, but when you regularly find the middle of the bat that matters little! The one wicket to fall in the opening spell, was the other opener who fell to Lee Noble, thanks to a smart catch behind by Steve Savage.

No further wickets were taken until the introduction of Graham Hooper with his flighted spin, and Charlie Miller’s away swing. Charlie was introduced to the team before the game as being one of the more vocal colts in the current u15 set up, someone who is constantly noisy and always encouraging his teammates. Which is a fine skill to have, and Charlie was asked to bring that energy into this game. Perhaps nerves got the better of him, but Charlie backed up the captain’s introduction…….by saying nothing in the field.

However, what he lacked in voice, he certainly made up for in bowling ability. Four overs, for only eleven runs when the opposition are going at more than six an over was a great first bowl in adult cricket. Add to that his first wicket, that of the opposition captain, who was caught by Lee. And it could have been even better, with a dropped caught and bowled chance (that to be fair was travelling), and a fine catch by Billy covers. Unfortunately Charlie had overstepped, and the umpire quite rightly called a no ball. A fine first bowl in adult cricket nonetheless, and very positive signs for the future. Graham chipped in with two wickets, both caught and bowled.

The other wicket takers were Lucy, and Alan who returned from an expensive first spell to take three wickets at the end of the innings. Basingstoke ended on a healthy 263 for 8 from their 40 overs.

The Faltering Reply

The Oakley innings then followed a familiar similar pattern to the week before. As with Cove, Basingstoke had a number of younger bowlers who bowled straight, at a decent pace, and let the pitch do the work. With the required run rate increasing Steve Savage, Kris and Savindu all fell trying to increase the pace, although Ryan did hang around attempting to adopt a similar approach and batting style to the Basingstoke opener. As with last week only Graham offered any real resistance, scoring 27, although there were some lusty blows from Lee Noble towards the very end of the innings. Basingstoke proving to be worthy winners, by 170 runs.

So a challenging couple of weeks for the 3’s, being well beaten by teams from much larger clubs, with a wider pool of players in which to select from, whilst we’ve had some availability challenges of our own. However, always looking for the positive there are some signs that we’ll come good. There’s lots for the 3’s to work on but we’ve kept going throughout each match, we look out for each other and have started to develop a good sense of team spirit. The return of some key players will help, whilst the continued inclusion of some really good youngsters will provide benefit in the long term. And that mix is really what the 3’s is all about.

Stick with it, we’ll come good and there’ll be some fun times ahead. So on to next weekend and we welcome the league leaders to Newfound…….