The East Grinstead 2nd XI kicked off their August Cup campaign away against Ifield 1st XI. Having been relegated from the Premier League to Div 3 in the past two seasons, EG weren’t too sure what they would come up against.
The Visitors won the toss and elected to bat on a green tinged, but dry looking surface. Little did they know that the pitch would in fact behave like corrugated iron. T. Beswick and H. Roberts strode out, a confident opening partnership, having put on 120 for the first wicket in last week’s rain affected clash with Three Bridges. After a slow but solid start, Roberts got a shooter that rolled under his otherwise solid defense.
This signalled the start of the stutter for the young East Grinstead batting line up. A brief rebuild was stopped on 65-2 by a sharp run out. After some more horrid bounce (and almost as bad shots) sent the rest of Grinstead’s top order back to the sheds (outdoor bag pile). Some clean striking from Leiber’s and N. Trotter in the final few overs allowed East Grinstead to post a (much closer to par than expected) 144 ao.
The second innings was quickly underway, and so was R. Leibers. Bowling with pace and late movement to reduce the home side to 15-3 and 36-4. The next 15 overs were somewhat unlucky for Grinstead. Some targeted bowling from R. Trotter and N. Rowland helped restrict Ifield to 3 an over. This pressure payed as several deliveries were spooned high in the air falling in no man’s land. Three catches were put down in the field, two by the captain (and how important that would turn out to be). Ifield put their foot on the accelerator and managed to reach a situation needing 24 from the last 10 overs with 5 wickets still in hand; surely a walk in. In a last ditch attempt EG brought back the consistent Rowland and golden arm Phil Norman. A period of beautiful bowling ensued, with 3 wickets falling for not many.
As the game entered the final over Ifield needed 5 to win, and looked edgy managing to reach the final two balls needing two. A well placed chip back over Norman’s head secured Ifield a hard fought win and two points.
Not quite the result East Grinstead were hoping for, left rueing their missed chances. However, a strong performance from an inexperienced side and excellent form for the young bowlers, notably Rowland and Leibers. All in all, a good performance against a highly seeded team. Next week is at home to Crawley Eagles 1st XI.
Joe De Souza