Braintree 1st XI v Little Bardfield Village

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Matt Renvoize batting v Bury II.jpeg
Matt Renvoize
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Luke Gouldstone

Braintree Cricket Club’s First Eleven made the short trip across country to Little Bardfield on Saturday. Unfortunately, they suffered their third successive defeat albeit by the fine margin of just two runs. With a number of regulars first teamers unavailable for selection, debuts were given to young Charlie Garner and newcomer MacCauley Waight.

Skipper Chris Leech won the toss and opted to field first on a rock hard pitch that was showing signs of breaking up before a ball was even bowled. Little Bardfield got off to a quick start though as Daryl Hymas and Tom Graham put on 26 runs inside the opening 4 overs. Bowling uphill, Josh Paget claimed the first wicket as he had Graham (6) caught at long off by Karl Parker. Meanwhile Luke Gouldstone was finding difficulty bowling downhill and dropped his pace considerably, he therefore caught Hymas (20) by surprise and had him caught and bowled.

Geoff Eveling was brought into the attack and his spin claimed three quick wickets, Richard Linney (11) was well caught by Chris Hinks whilst Matt Graham and Callum Hymas were both trapped LBW without troubling the scorers. Nelion Ridley was hoping to brew up a few runs, but he was deceived by the raw pace of MacCauley Waight and snicked off to Joel Ainsley behind the stumps. At this stage the home side had been reduced to 69 for the loss of 6 wickets inside 19 overs.

However, Joe Owen assisted by Will Slemmings and Rory Hitchcock steadied the ship putting together stands of 44 and 48 respectively. The introduction of Chris Hinks saw the downfall of Slemmings, with Waight taking a good catch on the very short boundary. Owen had been instrumental in rescuing Bardfield’s innings however having scored 63 he was tempted by Leech’s occasional spin and Parker was in position to take the catch.

The final wickets fell in quick succession as two smart pieces of fielding by Glen Newham saw Ben Hounslow run out and the next ball Hitchcock was caught just inside the ropes. Little Bardfield were all out for 167.

In reply the Dolphins got off to a slow start and lost the wicket of Chris Leech (7) who was trapped LBW by Slemmimgs. With a depleted batting line-up Geoff Eveling was promoted to open the batting, unfortunately just as he was starting strike the ball well, he was caught by Callum Hymas having scored 14.

Also promoted up the order was Luke Gouldstone who along with Chris Hinks put on 91 runs for the third wicket. On a decent flat outfield, the partnership could have been even more as on a number of occasions balls that looked to be heading for the boundary ropes stopped short. Having scored 39, Gouldstone was adjudged to be LBW off the bowling of Matt Graham. Braintree then lost a further two quick wickets as both Lee Fullgrabbe and Glen Newham had their stumps dismantled by Tom Graham.

Requiring 5 runs an over and with Hinks still at the crease a victory for Braintree looked a distinct possibility, however having reached his half century the Dolphins vice-captain could only steer a ball from Daryl Hymas into the hands of Hitchcock. MacCauley Waight was clean bowled first ball with 23 runs still required.

Charlie Garner and Joel Ainsley in an attempt to decrease the deficit scampered a number of quick singles as they put on 15 runs for the eighth wicket. However, Garner having scored 10 valuable runs chipped the ball to C Hymas off his father’s bowling and soon after Ainsley was bowled by Matt Graham for 9. This left Karl Parker and Josh Paget needing to score 4 runs off the remaining 4 balls to win the game, against any of the other bowlers this could have been a possibility. However, Matt Graham put the ball on the spot and unfortunately, they were only able to run a single off the last delivery giving Little Bardfield victory by the slimmest of margins.