Goatacre 146-9 45 overs
Bears 149-8 42.4 overs
The Bears started their season defining weekend off in style with a hard fought victory over promotion chasing Goatacre at The Glasshouse.
Batting first, Goatacre made laboured progress to a total of 146-9 from their 45 overs on a pitch that bore little resemblance to the ‘road’ that batsmen, both home and away, had enjoyed making use of to date this season; the unusually dry weather no doubt contributing to the highly variable bounce which characterised proceedings on Saturday.
With an embarrassment of bowling riches at his disposal, skipper Gunning was able to cope with the early injury to Paul Wood, with the wickets spread around the six different bowlers used: George Ellis and Jay Morris being the pick of that sextet with figures of 3-36 and 1-23 respectively, the latter extremely unlucky not to add to his solitary wicket after beating the bat on countless occasions. Such was the bowling strength-in-depth, veteran Chris Bence was again able to stay snugly wrapped up in his cotton wool onesie. And in the field, Sam Vesey reminded the selectors that he remains the BFCC number one choice keeper with a staggering one-handed catch off the bowling of the aforementioned Ellis.
After the usual standout tea, the Bear Flat batters quickly began to appreciate that the Goatacre score was a competitive one as meaningful partnerships failed to develop. So despite young Australian, Matt Amner’s exuberant knock of 24, it was left to the middle order to save the day. Enter Jack ‘Captain’ Mainwaring (40), who held the Bear Flat innings together like a particularly adhesive glue, grittily repelling the Goatacre attack, which included their Australian overseas player, with able assistance from Sam Vesey, Jay Morris and the scorer of the winning runs, George Ellis.
A great result for the Bears and a timely confidence boost ahead of their all-important semi-final clash the following morning…