Saturday XI vs Potterne II
Bears 159ao 33.2 overs
Potterne 160-3 27.2 overs
Defeat at league leaders Potterne on Saturday consigned the Bears to the relegation zone as the heat was turned up a notch in the Division 1 survival race.
More accustomed to winning titles, 2018 could be remembered as the year that the Bears finally swallowed the bitter pill of relegation, though at this stage in early July there remains all to play for.
In truth, victory on Saturday always looked a long shot in the face of strong opposition and with Gunning again hamstrung by depleted playing resources. And it will be the return fixtures against rivals Avebury, Box and Nationwide House that the skipper will identify as the games which will ultimately decide the Bears’ fate.
As feared, Saturday’s encounter proved to be a bit of a mismatch as the Bears’ 159 at a ground defined by an excellent batting surface and, in places, a comically short boundary was easily overhauled by the home side inside 30 overs.
Losing key wickets early in the shape of Gunning and Mike Sherring was not the most auspicious start, though contributions from Chris Bence (31), Jay Morris (37) and, pleasingly on his return from a rib injury, Jack Mainwaring (46) at least gave the score a degree of respectability. But at a ground where 300 is considered par, this trio will have been frustrated that they had not managed to go on and make more telling scores.
After a two hour tea break to take in events in Samara, Potterne completed their own facile victory having already reached 45-0 at the interval; the home side losing just three wickets en route to their target. These wickets were shared between Shreyas Malhotra, Paul Wood (another player returning from the physio bench) and debutant Alex Woodward, the latter joining a select band of Bears who have taken a wicket with their first ever delivery in a Bear Flat shirt.
Our thanks as always to our sponsors, Chef de Party, The Devonshire Arms, RH Hayes Roofing and Josh Sutton Plumbing.