The 3rd XI gathered at Cryfield, eager to start off the season with a win against Birmingham 3rd XI in what was bitterly cold weather. As there were showers forecast for later on in the day, the two captains agreed that we should reduce the game to 35 overs in the hope of getting a result. Howard Lippiatt won the toss in his first game as captain and elected to bowl first on what was a very soft pitch.
Rob Stileman and Charlie Turner opened up the bowling for UWMCC, keeping it tight in the first few overs. A few wides prompted Stilo to make an inspired decision to come round the wicket, taking a wicket straight away as the batsman chipped the ball into Howard’s safe hands at short mid wicket. More joy came for Stilo as he trapped the new batsman in front of the stumps to make it two wickets in as many balls, helping him finish with figures of 2-30. Birmingham then proceeded to steady the ship and put on a long stand, helped by a dropped caught and bowled chance from Turner. James Harris bowled a miserly spell in the middle overs, ending with figures of 1-17 from his 7 overs. During the innings we were able to watch a true masterclass in how to field at short extra cover from Jaimin Patel, with the poise of a ballerina and diving any premier league footballer would be proud of. Sam Platt (1-36) bowled well and was denied a wicket when the batsman sent a ball high in the air which Ed Cooper duly dropped. Never fear, two balls later the batsman skied the ball again only for Turner to take a bizarre one handed grab running in from mid off. Birmingham went on to get 164 for 5 off their 35 overs.
Nikhil Amin and Dan Lewis headed out to start the UWMCC chase while the other members of the side huddled for warmth in the Lakeside shed. The pair started quite confidently, hitting some good shots but unfortunately Nikhil fell in the 4th over, snicking off to the wicketkeeper. Things then went from bad to worse as wicket after wicket fell, Dan Lewis being the only batsman in the top 6 to reach double figures with a score of 18, leaving us 78 for 6 off 20. This brought Ferdi Rex and Charlie Turner to the crease who put on a good partnership to take UWMCC to 125 off 29 with no further loss of wicket. Unfortunately, as the run rate started to climb, Ferdi sent one straight up in the air to be caught by the keeper for 43. Turner was soon dismissed as well for 11 and UWMCC collapsed to be bowled out in the last over for 135.
Man of the match goes to Ferdi Rex who gave us a fighting chance with some strong hitting when all looked lost.