The 2s team despite containing many performance players came up short against De Montfort 1s for the first BUCS game of 2019. After weeks and weeks of training, it was finally time for the first BUCS game of the season. The day started off well, with each player arriving on time at 9:15 as agreed. An optimistic start as many would agree. However, after ten minutes of speculation over the eagerly anticipated chat about the events that were to follow that evening, it became apparent, that we were without a bus. Not really knowing where the bus driver was, we looked on to the Cryfield roundabout hoping he would appear soon. With Bird becoming increasingly frustrated, he began to conjure up different ideas to passive-aggressively show his annoyance. When, at last, the bus driver did show up he didn’t seem phased, almost as if we had agreed to be picked up at 10:00 and he was spot on, cheers mate. After filling the what can only be described as a Parth-sized bus we were on our way finally, despite the slow start the energy and excitement remained.
Pulling into the ground, one thing stood out, a steep slope. Declining faster than Warwick’s student satisfaction, immediately the choice of ends came to the front of every player’s mind. Who would be charging up that hill? Not me. Looking over the ground, the Pavilion was small yet cosy, with plenty of room in the changing room, even accommodating for Parth’s massive ego. As the sun continued to shine the scene was set for an enjoyable game with no foreseeable problems. If only. Following an intense and focused training session, both captains met and the DMU captain let Bird know that they had not organised umpires, admittedly a challenging task for a poly. Village af. After discovering that the groundsman was qualified to umpire, he kindly offered to umpire both ends as the fresh involuntarily rotated the important responsibility of square leg umpire. After winning the toss Bird chose to bat, it was not obvious whether the pitch would suit bowling or batting first, but we were confident in our star-studded lineup. So eventually, after a delay, play began with Uzair and Bird opening for a strong 2s side.
The DMU opening bowlers started well, swinging the ball on a good length and accompanied by shite chat echoing around the ground pressure was building, the batting pair needed to focus in order to keep the innings alive. They did precisely that. After the first 10 overs, we were set up for a decent score at 31-0, with Bird and Uzair taking advantage and climbing on top of a few bad balls they had received. Following the wicket of Bird in the 12th over Nakul and Uzair battled well to add more runs, with Uzair looking in particularly good form. After chipping one to short mid-off Uzair left the field frustrated and DMU knowing how important his wicket was, erupted with noise. The following batsmen tried to get in and struggled to get going, the collapse had begun. From having a stable base at 67-2, quick reminder DMU is ranked 67th on the UK University tables, we were now at 91-6 with DMU clearly on top of things, and a poor score on its way. However, in stepped the big man, Parth Mannikar who took the pressure off by scoring boundaries fairly quickly off of the two DMU spin bowlers. Accompanied by Sohil the two added a few important runs before Sohil was out caught at point. With only Jabzy, Curtis and Vrushal remaining- the end was surely nigh. Jabzy and Parth ran quickly between the wickets stealing a few quick singles. Parth was doing most of the hitting and Jabzy aimed to rotate the strike to support Parth in his innings. The pair added a useful 25 runs before Parth was bowled, middle stump out of the ground. A massive send off followed as Parth was explicitly reminded that only two of the stumps remained standing. A send-off about as pointless as a degree from DMU. Curtis shortly followed Parth back to the Pavillion after an LBW decision. Curtis, who was adamant that he had hit the ball, took his time to wander off the pitch and before doing so, copped chat about as dead as POP! without circling. The final few overs saw Jabzy and Vrushal press for the 150 total which we considered a defendable total with the pitch in mind and swinging conditions. After grinding out the last few overs and some desperate (failed) attempts at big hits, we finished 165-9 with a vital push from the lower order saving our innings. Parth top scoring on 37 and Jabzy 26*.
After a relatively quick turn around and a slightly above average cricket tea, containing many chicken nuggets (always key), the match got going again. The bowlers got loose and we knew it was going to be a challenge bowling from both ends, either stumbling down the slope or climbing up it. Jabzy opened with Sohil, Jabzy bowling down and Sohil charging up. The start was dreamy, with Jabzy finding the edge on the second ball and Parth taking a diving catch down to his right, the first over was a wicket maiden. The energy was up and with a loud farewell to the batsmen, the game was on. With the ball swinging a lot and the pitch doing a bit, the DMU batsmen were not looking comfortable. After some nice deliveries with not much luck however, both Sohil and Jabzy began to struggle to control the swing with a left and right-hander rotating consistently. In addition, Jabzy was finding it hard running down such a steep slope, with his run up about as consistent as the Warwick exam timetables. DMU’s captain (left-hander) after a few overs of defensive batting then went on the charge, with his partner consistently edging it to third man/slips, the runs from one end chant poured in. After a few frustrating overs, the second wicket was found and after nicking so many, the batsman was kindly waved off back to the Pavilion with Parth and Jabzy again providing some fantasy points to their faithful supporters. After another 5 overs, energy had decreased in the field as the DMU captain played some fine shots, attacking around the ground, and we certainly needed a resurgence of motivation. Next thing, Randall was on to bowl and with what could only be described as a peach of an over, reminiscent of Jimmy, we were once again feeling in contention as the batsmen did not find it easy. Joe, who was swinging it around corners, found a wicket in his second over with an edge to the keeper, but with the captain still in we remained in danger. The new batsman looked comfortable, nailing a few cover drives as the ball started to lose its shine.
With Krish and Vrushal taking over with the ball, however bowling decent areas, the batsmen hit gaps- keeping above the required run rate. Adding to things, the rain started to pour down making it increasingly harder to bowl and stay energetic in the field. With the ball becoming slippery, the bowlers found it hard and even after a switch to a more attacking approach from the boys after tea and a few late wickets for Nakul. DMU chased us, only 5 wickets down with the DMU captain scoring a 70(ish) not out, a true captain’s innings. A disappointing first game, but a great fielding effort from the boys considering a very average batting performance from the middle order and worsening conditions, hoping for a bounce back next game.