Braintree 2nd XI v Earl Stonham
Braintree II’s were defeated by 8 wickets by Earl Stonham, however the performance was much improved from the previous week.
Braintree were batting first on what looked a greener deck then usual at St Peter’s road and early on there was excessive sideways movement that challenged the opening pair of Matt Kent and Charlie Garner. Garner originally weathered the storm but after playing and missing multiple times, he was bowled by Hornsby for the visitors first wicket. Kent played in his usual aggressive and attractive fashion in his 38, before being caught in the deep to leave the home side two down. Arindam Ganguly and Ian Johnston came and went which left the skipper Sherry and new man Nofal Raja to rebuild. After looking organised, Raja top edged an attempted sweep and was caugh at short third man. Sherry continued his good batting form with a measured 51 and Steve hale supported with a gritty 21. After they both fell, Callum Lazarus and Shaun Gould added some very handy runs, Lazarus particularly impressing with his typical wristy cuts and flicks in his 20*. Braintree eventually scampered their way to 172, which they knew would not be enough unless they could take early wickets.
After a composed start, the skipper found the breakthrough, having Hornsby caught at mid on after a well judged catch by Thomas Mellon. From there it was the all too familiar problem of a big second wicket partnership that put Braintree to the sword . Stephen Lewis, who also took 4 wickets, did the bulk of the work with a very calm and composed 67*, and he was ably supported by both Macrow and Edgar, who made 20 and 41* respectively.
The standout bowler for Braintree was the veteran off spinner Shaun Gould, who only conceded 14 off his 7 overs in his miserly spell, while also taking the wicket of Macrow in the process. Even though they did not get the reward of wickets, Braintree bowled very well overall, new opening bowler Nofal Raja beating the bat on multiple occasions. He also had a catch dropped off his bowling, a tough chance for the skipper at slip. A mention must also go to Callum Lazarus, who bowled a very economical spell of 0-17 in 5 overs. He is becoming an ever more reliable option that the skipper turns too in difficult times.
A comfortable win for Stonham in the end, but a much more spirited performance form the dolphins who are away to Sudbury next week in a so called relegation six pointer.