Saturday XI vs Avebury
Bears 227-5 45 overs
Avebury 176 all out – 43.4 overs
The Bears finally emerged from their extended winter hibernation, registering a welcome first win of the 2018 campaign as Avebury came up 51 runs short at a sun-drenched Glasshouse.
Winning the toss and batting first, the home side’s 227-5 was built largely around Chris Bence’s (Bencey) 118; the sleepiest of all the Bears rediscovering his very best form after a 2017 to forget.
After the early loss of the returning Brendon Bester, both Bencey and Mark Gunning (Gunning) were thankful for the reprieve each was granted as regulation chances went begging during a challenging opening period; the wily Dom Fry swinging the ball he keeps on a string both ways. But neither batsman required a second invitation as a century partnership was brought up before Gunning frustratingly edged behind for 47.
Fifth year student Henry Smith (36), referred to as ‘grandad’ by his fresher friends, helped keep the momentum of the innings going as Bencey passed three figures. And after Fry’s second spell secured him the wickets his initial efforts deserved, one or two lusty blows and some old school BFCC running between the wickets from seasonal debutant Mike Colbeck ensured that The Bears posted a formidable total.
A tea to end all teas left both sets of players reluctant to resume the action, but eventually the visitors set about chasing down their target. However, the early proceedings were all about The Bears as Avebury were reduced to 29-3 after 17 overs; the irrepressible Henry Smith (2-24) producing the ball of the season so far to dismiss Dom Fry.
A comfortable home victory looked on the cards until middle order batsman John Rheinberg took a shine to the bowling of Shreyas Malhotra (Shrey); The Bears’ leading wicket taker in recent times suffering the ignominy of being slapped hockey-style for a series of maximums as Rheinberg let loose. Despite an economy rate approaching double figures, Shrey still managed to claim three wickets, only being denied a five wicket haul by some errant catching attempts in the outfield.
Although Rheinberg’s entertaining innings ruined the prospect of an early relocation to the Devi, with wickets and overs in short supply, Avebury never really looked like getting close to The Bears’ total, especially after Joe De Souza’s excellent late spell of 3-27. And so with victory as good as mathematically secured, the skipper saw fit to throw the ball to South African Brendon to bowl the penultimate over. Less Dale Steyn and more Dale Winton, nevertheless, Brendon brought matters to a speedy conclusion as he effected a brilliant reflex run out of the non-striking batsman, leaving Rheinberg stranded on 87 not out.
Finally, The Bears would like to thank our 2018/9 sponsors, Chef de Party, The Devonshire Arms, RH Hayes Roofing and Josh Sutton plumbing for their support this season.