Weekend Preview- A Break in the Weather?

The weekend preview is back. Ok, the forecast is not perfect but it does look like with a bit of luck and a fair wind, we might get a game or two out of it. Most showers are supposed to stay out towards the north and west of our region…ALLEGEDLY!

It’s August, so we are depleted, with 27 players unavailable. Yet, we have still managed to get 33 players out thanks to some Colts coming in to the teams now their season has ended. So, no excuses, it will be the same for other clubs (we hope).

HW Two’s  v First XI

The First XI are certainly a few key players short due to holidays. This has led to the promotion of Ian Bennett, George Lethaby, Sam Holbrook and Will Rabley. Ian comes in as a middle order batsmen with George and Sam providing all round options. Will is in as a lower order batsman and specialist fielder (what an arm this boy has).

Missing are, skipper, James Bayliss, top scorer, Matt Burrell, Will Cheyney and young paceman, Harry Tucknott. So, arguably a weakened team, but also an opportunity for the players coming in to show what they about.

It’s such as shame the season has been wrecked for the First XI. They had a decent if not great chance of promotion before the monsoon season arrived. A host of games against lower placed teams has been wiped out, whilst those above us avoided playing each other. Oh well, ‘Them’s the breaks’, as the great Boris Johnson once said after getting chased out of office by his own MPs.

Still, a good finish is important to keep momentum going and 3 wins would probably secure a position in the top 4. If others flounder, who knows? It’s going to be a tough fixture this, but one to enjoy, especially after missing a month of games.

Second XI v Herriard 2’s

The Two’s are a complete mixed bag for the visit of Herriard’s second string. The team includes several players coming up from the 3rd XI, along with 4 players who have boosted our numbers by joining us late in the season. These include Alex Ogden, the Rowley brothers and left-armer, Zak Newton.

Coming up from the Third XI are Ollie Rabley, Steve Savage,  Kalum Sapumanage and Matt Red-Racecar. This leaves Jack Brundle and Benjamin Robinson as the only regular stalwarts. Yet, it still looks a decent team to me and one that could do great things.

I won’t say it looks good on paper (you just did though, Bob) but I reckon this side is good enough to put some points on the board as we look to finish the season strongly. I’m nearly convinced of it.

Third XI v Odiham 4’s

The Third XI entertain Odiham 4’s in what promises to be ‘the battle of the mixed bags’. JT has put such an eclectic team together, he asked the returning chair whether he would like to bat number 3 or 11. No decision was made, with the chair bravely stating, “what’s good for the club, is good for me”. He’s that kind of guy, at least until he finds out he is batting at 11.

The team is a blend of experience, youth, and a dash of fuckwittery, so it promises to be an exciting clash. With both Olly Thakur and his dad playing together, absolutely anything could happen. I for one, would love to see son run-out dad.

It’s difficult to see where the runs will be coming from as I don’t know the youngsters well enough. However, I have a gut feeling Phil Carpenter and JT will need to come up with something to avoid an early finish. I am also hoping the Bird brothers, Zac Poulter and Thakur the younger, know how to hold the bat.

If we are to clutch at straws, Avi has a 50 to his name and Bob scored 45 not-out v Crandall a decade ago, so who knows, they could do it again? It’s unlikely,  but we live in age where Liz Truss got to be Prime Minister, so rule nothing out.

The good news is that Odiham are also likely to be eclectic, so it could well be a close and chaotic affair; a cricket connoisseurs ant-Christ, if you will. Whatever the case, it’s a third eleven dead rubber, so both teams should just go out and have a bit of fun.

Have Fun

So, that’s it. The preview is done. Apart from a glimmer of hope for the First XI, there is not much to play for beyond a bit of pride and highest placings possible. However, despite a decent season, we have only had one club Saturday hat-trick, so let’s try for one more before we shut up shop for another year.

On travel, to pastures sodden.