Audlem's Sunday cricketers got their league campaign off to a winning start defeating hosts Stone SP by 27 runs in a hard fought encounter at the picturesque Swynnerton Park ground near Eccleshall, Staffs. Again skipper Simon Swift called wrong at the toss and as in last week's game at Crewe Vagrants was invited to bat first in challenging overcast conditions with a biting Northerly breeze blowing across the ground.
Credit must be given to groundsman Derek Price for the excellent condition of the wicket and outfield as his preparation time would have been minimal given the amount of rain that has fallen over the past few weeks.
Opening batsmen Dan Butler and Andy Thorburn looked in fine form until Andy played down the wrong line to a decent ball from opening bowler Munir Shah with the score on 16. Dan was playing the classic openers roll as a succession of middle order partners briefly kept him company. With the score at 45 for 5 things looked a little precarious but with young Ewan Farnell batting at 7 and in fine form were able to build a substantial partnership (51) and gain the initiative for a while. With the dismissal of both Dan (35) and Ewan (31) before the 100 was reached the game was back in the balance. The lower order batsmen did a fine job to get the score to a competitive total of 129 for 9 off the allotted 40 overs with fine contributions coming from young Luke Harding, Callum McIlveen and Neil Humphries.
The bowl of chilli con carne prepared by the tea ladies was well received by all in the interval before having to brave the elements again for the game's conclusion.
Stone's openers Wynter and Butters got their team off to a flyer with the scoreboard ticking over at an alarming rate. The first wicket fell on the introduction of slow bowler Neil Humphries who bowled Wynter then had the no.3 bat trapped LBW. The score subsided from 33 without loss to 42 for 5 with the introduction of man of the match Ewan Farnell at the road end of the ground. Opener Sam Butters was standing firm whilst his partners were floundering against Audlem's variable array of bowlers and soon 42 for 5 became 82 for 9 and eventually 102 all out with the dismissal of home captain Pochett leaving Sam Butters stranded on 67 not out. A valliant effort by the young opening batsman but the spoils go to Audlem for a good all round team effort to bring home the maximum points haul.
The full scorecard can be viewed here on audlem.play-cricket.com along with all the forthcoming fixtures
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