Saturday XI vs Swindon 2nd XI
Bears 153-8 45 overs
Swindon 154-2 30.4 overs
A different-look Bear Flat side suffered a chastening home defeat at the hands of Swindon 2s at the ground formerly known as The Fortress on Saturday.
With several regulars having headed south of the Pyrenees for the weekend, including skipper Mark Gunning, stand-in captain Chris Bence was grateful to a number of former Bears for coming out of semi, or in some cases, full retirement in order to ensure that eleven players took to the field.
Winning the toss and batting first, the Bears huffed and puffed their way to 153-8 from their 45 overs on a dry, cracked surface and in the face of some accurate and disciplined bowling from the visitors.
The innings was built largely around Bencey’s 65, but when he was spectacularly caught one-handed on the long-off boundary with score at 107, it was over to Simon Cox (29), Jon Heywood (18,
making his league debut for the Bears) and Shreyas Malhotra (11*); the trio combining to add nearly 50 runs in the final 10 overs.
Although below par, from previous experience, the Bears knew that their total was competitive enough, though very few mistakes could be afforded if the score was to be defended.
The visitors though got off to a quick start, despite the efforts of the excellent Tristan Molten, another BFCC debutant, whose brisk left arm seam bowling caused problems for the Swindon openers. And it was Tristan who struck what proved to be the only two blows for the Bears, removing Khalid and Laggett in the same over to reduce the visitors to 43-2.
However, the Bears were to be left rueing three dropped catches at this crucial stage of the game: Jamie Baden the beneficiary on each occasion. And from these disappointments the home side failed to recover as Baden (69*) and Paul Davies (54) pushed home the visitors’ advantage, accelerating the scoring rate and reaching their target with no further scares to record an ultimately facile victory.
A disappointing loss, but an achievement to put out a competitive XI with so many absentees. And it was also with a tinge of sadness that the Bears said goodbye to the graduating Henry Smith: the combative Bath Uni student having contributed important runs and wickets in his seven game stint.
And finally, it would be remiss not to mention another truly sumptuous Family Morris spread; certainly the highlight of the day.
Our thanks as always to our sponsors, Chef de Party, The Devonshire Arms, RH Hayes Roofing and Josh Sutton Plumbing.