In stark contrast to last weekend – when at the time of conceding we had only four names on the team sheet – the 3rd’s provided the only success in a disappointing day of league cricket for the club. Jake Foley’s 1st XI would have been hopeful of getting a result at Hornchurch after their strong performance on the opening day of the season against Brentwood. However, despite winning the toss on a wicket that had been exposed to the elements overnight, Colchester were unable to rip through the hosts in the way they would have liked. Colchester’s bowling was economical throughout but lacked the sufficient cutting edge on a damp and slow wicket more suited to ‘dibbly dobbly’ trundlers than our 1stXI’s faster quintet. There were two wickets apiece for Ben Allison and Jack Hebron but it was skipper Jake Foley who again proved to be most effective. His 4-59 from 19 overs included the wicket of opener Jamie Sorrell who had hitherto proved resolute with 50 from 116 deliveries. While Hornchurch’s 200-8 may have appeared modest at the break it looked positively mammoth by the close of play. The arrival of the sun accelerated the drying and deterioration of a wicket infamous for its uneven bounce and conduciveness to spin in the second innings. The bulk of Colchester’s batsmen struggled with the increasing unpredictability as Hornchurch’s bowlers took advantage of the conditions with ruthless efficiency. Billy Gordon in particular relished the opportunity, taking 8-43 from 21 overs. Although Colchester’s 150 all out provided little to celebrate, Jack Hebron exhibited his versatility during a joint rear guard with Ollie Bocking that almost earned their team a draw. Hebron’s circumspect 68 from 129 balls included only two boundaries while Bocking remained undefeated on 32 from 57 balls. Hornchurch 200-8 dec (25 points) beat Colchester 150 all out (4 points) by 50 runs.
The 2nd XI were narrowly defeated by visitors Wanstead in another close game, this time on the newly shrunk boundaries of Castle Park. Wanstead won the toss and invited Mark Gaisford’s team to bat on a wicket which was none the worse for the rain which had thoughtfully ceased on the previous evening. Colchester’s opening stand lasted little more than ten minutes before Omar Ahmed was run out after hesitating on a single. Joe Austin then joined Gaisford, adding 61 together before the latter was caught behind off a Jayden Rising away swinger. Austin was going well on 30 by this stage and proceeded to accelerate in the company of Kieran Dale as the pair appeared to be guiding their team towards to a hefty total. However, both fell within two runs of each other for 96 and 41 respectively, leaving Billy Ince and Iain McQueen to try and kick on from a standing start. Rain interruptions then played havoc with Colchester’s efforts to build momentum, this coupled with soft dismissals for both McQueen and Ince left Colchester feeling slightly under par at 243-9 dec. In usual fashion Wanstead went hard from ball one in reply. The reigning 2nd XI champions have a batting order which could quite easily play 1st XI cricket; they demonstrated this depth in quality as batsman after batsman asserted themselves on Colchester’s attack. Toqeer Ahmed’s eye-catching but far from chance less 119 was the standout performance. He hit 7 sixes and 9 fours in an innings which could have been curtailed much earlier if Colchester had been able to cling on to a number of difficult catches. Colchester’s bowlers worked tirelessly but fell foul to some consistency of line and length, which on a smaller than usual playing area gave them nowhere to hide. Alex Young was accurate on his first outing of the season, battling through a knee injury sustained in the field and Andrew Cairns claimed three wickets as he continues to improve. Colchester and EE 243-9 dec (11 points) lost to Wanstead 2nd XI 244-7 (20 points) by 3 wickets.
The 3rd XI had an excellent – albeit belated – start to the season on their first appearance at Castle Park. Adnan Hashmi’s decision to bat proved correct as he and opening partner Simon Gilhooly both made it past 50 at a gallop. With a score of over 300 looking very likely both fell quickly; Gilhooly caught for 74 and Hashmi run out for 94. Colchester could not sustain quite the same level of scoring thereafter but finished on a worthy 270-4, including an unbeaten 44 in the latter stages from Steve Green. Opponents Wanstead were never in the game, with only three players reaching double figures. The only contribution of note was 74 from Mohammed Tariq Mohiuddin who was eventually caught by Green off Ben Richards. Wickets fell frequently with two wickets a piece for Colin Foster, Tom Brougham and Steve Green while Ben Richards picked up three. Colchester and EE 270-4 dec (25 points) beat Wanstead 5th XI 130 all out (2 points) by 240 runs.
- Cricket – Although we only won one game last Saturday the atmosphere was excellent throughout all the teams. It was the first time we have hosted two senior games simultaneously at Castle Park. Although both pitches shared a mutual, shorter boundary, the experiment was successful. Both games were high scoring without getting silly, this was as much down to two good strips as it was the the boundary length. Both the two’s and three’s performed really well and the consistency of availability and competition for places seems to be bringing the best out of a lot of people. As mentioned before people will be moving between the teams regularly due to this competition and I was really impressed by the maturity of those who have been ‘dropped’ so far in accepting the decision and getting on with it. Those of us who met before the season to discuss the direction of the club were adamant that player’s should see themselves as representing Colchester and EE, not just one of the XI’s.
- Wet Weather – When Castle Park takes heavy rain it requires a lot of effort to get it into a suitable condition to play. In future if there is poor weather before a home game it would be good if people could take it upon themselves to get in contact with our groundsman Jez Sadler (07954 076424) on the morning of the game and offer to help. We are fortunate that we have a full time groundsman, at other clubs we would have to do a lot more on the ground.
- Players Supper – Carole Warren made us some really nice food, however the event was generally poorly attended, with only about 20 people having food. While I realise people have other things to do there was plenty of notice given of this event and we would have hoped to have seen a few more players attend. Without labouring the point, people will only bother making the effort to put these things on if you turn up to support them.
- All Stars/Junior Cricket – The fist All Stars session went really well. It only lasted an hour but was well supported by all the parents and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. We will however rely on the senior players to turn up for their allotted slot for helping. I’ll be sticking the rota up in the bar and the changing rooms and including it in each week’s team sheet so there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing when you are due to help. If you cannot make your slot please let me know and I’ll rearrange so you can do another.
- Summer Ball – This is a very important event for the club. Please let me or Greg De Silva (firstname.lastname@example.org) know ASAP if you intend to come. Its will take place on Sat 22nd July.
- Training – Weather is looking better for this week so please get yourselves along on Thursday night if possible.
- Well Done/Thank you – Jack Hebron and Jake Foley for two good performances in the 1st XI. Joe Austin batting brilliantly for the two’s before making a pig’s breakfast of a pull shot. Simon Gilhooly (coming out of retirement) and Adnan Hashmi both batted very well for the 3’s. Also huge thanks to Colin Perkins for coming down early on Saturday to assist in setting up the pavilion and to Phil Wolski for mopping up.