Cricket returns to Stoke Bruerne

Recreational cricket returned across the UK yesterday, and with Day 3 of the England vs West Indies Test being washed out, Northamptonshire residents were able to bask in the majestic glory of those more local cricket legends – you know, the ones that claim to have been able to ‘go pro’ but either opted to pursue career-goals, or succumbed to niggling injuries that prevented them realising their full cricketing potential.

With the Covid-19 guidance issued by the ECB, players were required to cram even more kit into their already bulging kit bags. Such was the stress of taking our own teas and remembering sanitizer, first team left-arm fast bowler Paul Brown forgot his trousers and was forced to purchase a pair en route to Burton Latimer, which once applied, appeared several sizes too small. This was slightly more entertaining for the fact that with changing rooms off-limits, all our dressing takes place out on the field in front of the clubhouse.

Spencer Bruerne First XI’s opener in the re-jigged NCL league format (huge gratitude to the NCL for putting this in place), was away against Burton Latimer Second XI, who were promoted alongside SBCC from Div. 5 in 2019. Last season we only faced off once in a game in where SBCC’s bowling attack shone by ensuring Burton Latimer finished 34 runs short of SBCC’s 174 run total.

Sam Heath kicked off his First XI captaincy by winning the toss and with optimal batting conditions, seized the opportunity to pad up and headed out with V.C. Alex Holmes to set about the Burton bowling attack. A plan that paid off!

In a hard-fought game that went to the wire, SBCC First XI emerged the victors by defending a total of 228. Full match report and scorecard to be found on play-cricket. A shout out to Charlie Higham who despite being run-out without facing a ball (sorry!), put in an outstanding bowling performance contributing to the defence of what might be considered a slightly sub-par total on such a flat track with fast outfield.

Spencer Bruerne 2nd XI played hosts to Mears Ashby 2’s, and under Ash Day’s captaincy were put in to bat by the Mears Ashby skipper. I imagine the MA skipper may have been having reservations over that decision as Alec Morgan racked up 76 runs from 99 balls before having to retire hurt.

As with the first team’s game, this one also went down to the wire with Mears Ashby requiring 5 off the final ball. The play-cricket stats tell the story of what looked like a nail-biting end as Mears Ashby’s Jon Burdett set about the Spencer Bruerne bowling attack in the final overs (check out the ‘worm’). Result: a tie! A very unusual outcome in win/lose cricket!

Thanks to Bethan O’May for scoring this one, even the stat’s look exciting!

It’s been a long wait for recreational cricket to return, but this weekend was a huge success thanks to the hard work put in by club members. I must admit, I had concerns over how disruptive the regular sanitizer breaks would be to the flow of the game, but the game was enjoyable and the short breaks didn’t delay the game as much as expected. It was also a pleasant change to have so much space to spread out my kit, rather than be hampered by small changing rooms and messy team-mates!

Can’t wait for next weekend!

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