Streatham & Marlborough 86 all out (Berman 5-31)
Jesters 87-3 (Harris 30)
Won by 7 wickets
Streatham & Marlborough were blown away by Phil Berman's five wicket spell on the opening day of the season. Skipper Adnan Mohammed tells the story (heavily subbed by Andrew Short)...
With the thunderstorms the night before and a drop out in the morning, Captain Mohammed was slightly concerned when he arrived at the ground.
Streatham & Marlborough had done well to prepare any sort of wicket after the appalling weather in March and early April. The main square had still not recovered so we were on their second square - and the outfield was very slow as it was still too soft to be closely mowed.
After inspecting the wicket the decision was to bat first. However, the skipper lost the toss and the Jesters were asked to field.
The season began with moments of low farce and high skill...
There was a delay waiting for the opening batsmen to come to the crease. When they did arrive and everyone was poised to begin, opening bowler Phil Berman asked a simple question, “Has anybody got the match ball?” The skipper ran sheepishly off the field to retrieve it from his bag in the changing room.
Once Phil eventually got the ball in his hands he was unstoppable; the first of his 5 wickets - in the very first over of the season - coming from a really sharp caught and bowled driven hard back at him.
Matthew Berry opened the bowling at the other end and produced a typically reliable spell of swing and length. Whilst Matt was tying up an end, Phil attacked with his in- and out-swingers, taking 5 for 31 off 7 overs. Matt returned one wicket for 17 runs off 6 overs.
One 'highlight' of Phil’s spell was a top edge from the batsman that both the keeper, Olly Nathanson on Jesters debut, and DJ Chak (fielding square leg) called as their catch. Neither man backed down. A collision occurred, with Olly holding onto the catch and DJ claiming that he called first! After 13 overs the opposition were 6 down for 54.
Andrew Mortimer and Andrew Short were introduced into the attack and added an element of control over the batsman, both taking one wicket each and unlucky not to take more in their short spells.
DJ Chak and Noah Hillyard were summoned to polish off the tail with both bowling extremely tightly and with pace, DJ picking up two wickets.
Set a target of 86 off 40 overs on a difficult wicket showing inconsistent bounce, the chase started with Chris Smith and debutant Olly Nathanson. The total had gone past 20 when Olly, having smashed one huge six over mid-wicket, slashed at a wide ball that stopped in the pitch and was caught in the gully.
Louis Harris strolled to the crease with the score at 26-1. Harris and Smith started to build a partnership, both punishing the loose ball towards the short boundary. Chris was unlucky to be out lbw to a ball that kept really low and almost bounced twice for 19.
The skipper swaggered in with the score on 60-2. Both batsmen applied themselves and took the total to 70 when Louis hit the ball to mid-on and called for a Red Bull single. Despite a direct hit Harris would have been safe had he not made the schoolboy error of not grounding his bat as he ran through the crease.
It was left to DJ Chak and the skipper to secure the win and the red ink.
As only 47 overs had been bowled during the game there was some suggestion we finish the afternoon by playing a trial of the ECB’s new 16.4 over game, but S&M’s superb teas, including samosas and chicken skewers, put paid to that.
A solid start to the season for the Jesters! Many thanks to S&M as always for a convivial season opener.