I really should win the toss more often than I have over the last few years, but upon arrival at Eppleton, I had hoped that my baron streak would continue on what looked a difficult pitch with little indication it would improve as the day went on. Luckily, I did lose the toss (on purpose!) and we were asked to bowl first.
Phil Nicholson returned to the side to replace Hector Chambers. Eppleton had experienced a difficult start to the season, but you can always expect a battle and need to be prepared as such to take the points, especially at Church Road.
Hunter and Harding started well with the ball without much luck, but the uneven bounce was clearly something we could look to capitalise on if we managed to find consistency in our length. At 71-1, things hadn’t quite gone to plan, then Hill youngster Rory Hanley stepped forward and produced a magnificent spell which resulted in his personal best figures of 6-25 from 8 overs. Rory was aggressive and attacked the stumps relentlessly in a brilliant performance. Kyle supported Rory perfectly, offering little respite at the other end, finishing with 1-23 from his 10 overs. Max and Mo finished the job with a wicket each, the hosts all out for 118.
Our response started positively against an attack with clear confidence that early wickets could really swing the game in the hosts’ favour. Mohsin was dismissed with the score at 20, and Adam Heather strode to the middle in a situation which looked perfect for him. Coetzer was again excellent in a run-a-ball 64, ably supported by Adam, who played a ‘proper’ cricket innings, seeing the game out with an unbeaten 25 from just 99 balls. The Hill eventual winners by 7 wickets. Fresh from his extraordinary karaoke performance in Cosy Joes last weekend, Phill Bell ended with another important unbeaten innings. Phill is available for bookings, and rumours in the local press of a combination with Hill legend Mark Dale are gathering pace.
Next week we host Whitburn who have improved drastically over the winter and started the season with confidence. It’s sure to be a different battle and one we must be suitably prepared for.
The scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5024292