On a beautiful day for cricket at one of the finest settings in Norfolk, the 3rds sadly didn’t do the occasion justice and folded to defeat against Norwich at Ingham on Saturday.
The day started with some surprises as some old friends were welcomed back to the fold. Nick Foster could not resist a game at his old stomping ground and Jack Watts re appeared a good five years since most of us had last seen him. Jack was great company on the journey each way but should probably remember to leave his comedy sunglasses at home for his next game of cricket. Finally it was good to welcome Jimmy Nicholls back. The opposition looked pretty strong with Chris Borrett not available for EAPL duties and a sprinkling of old favourites such as Mark Tipping and Barny Goodrum in their side.
We were all in good spirits after a vigorous warm up and we chose to bat on a decent looking surface. However it soon became clear the wicket, though true, was particularly slow. The openers, Snellers and Jessy, found it hard to get going. Both the opening bowlers kept it tight and, apart from a couple of flourishes of the Jessy bat, Swardeston were a little becalmed.
Unfortunately then the wickets came in fairly rapid succession and they all followed an all too familiar pattern. Frustrated batsmen, tied down by stump to stump bowling, were out to injudicious shots. Snellers and Jon Olpin both chased wide ones, Simon chipped to mid on, Jimmy took on Chris Borrett early and was bowled and Tony Bailey tried to sweep the wrong length. Nick might count himself a little unlucky to have chopped a wide one on in amongst of all this carnage. To be fair to Norwich they bowled and fielded very well and the inclusion of Chris Borrett did not help our cause. Coming on at first change, he gave us nothing to hit at all.
The middle to lower order found it no easier and it was left to Goon and his trusty VR to spare us total embarrassment. With nothing to lose, he took on the spinner and unfurled an array of great shots, capped by a straight six into the road ( see below). Debutant Sunny Richmond gave Goon decent support until he was bowled and the innings finished on a well below par 92.
After a rallying call from the captain we took to the field. To be fair, we bowled and fielded with spirit and took 3 wickets before Norwich reached their target. These included a spectacular running catch from Jon Olpin and a juggling effort by Nick to give Sunny his first wicket. Nathan deserved his two wickets but there was nothing any of the bowlers could do to prevent Chris Borrett serenely progressing to a well crafted and chanceless 50 and Norwich cantered home.
Overall, very disappointing but at least we have 2 chances to put this right next weekend with matches on both Saturday and the Bank Holiday Monday. Thanks to Norwich for their hospitality and for playing this game at Ingham.