Last year included a curious sequence of games which all followed the same weird pattern: we batted first, collapsed early and then recovered to at least get past 100; but after that we defended brilliantly to really make a game of it, before succumbing in the end. The `Groundhog Day'-style repeitition seemed pretty arbitrary, and now this season seems to have developed a match-template all of its own: we start slow and steady, collapse non-catastrophically, and then make it to 130-odd, after which we get a few early wickets but concede lots of early runs, our opposition winning easily with some hundred balls to spare.
And so it was today (according to those who were actually there). We -- well, Russ, actually, who for some reason got calling honours -- lost the toss and were put into bat on a devilish wicket that had, apparently, been prepared using generous helpings of weedkiller and not much else. Ev Fox (7) and Roy Page (16) ducked and dived for a while before the inevitable collap-- er, no, more of just a steady flow of wickets in this case. The leak was plugged when Andy Owen (46, after facing some 24 balls before getting off the mark) and Rog Shelley (11) put their heads down, but with two thirds of the innings gone we only had 70-odd on the board. We at least achieved respectibility when Andy and Joe White (22*) broke loose in the last ten overs, finishing up with a few more runs than last week with 136/7.
Our eleventh hour revival was, in part, due to the fact that the pitch had mellowed, a point which was hammered home when the fast scoring continued in Haslingfield's first over. Rusell Woolf (2/32) was greeted with two fours and a six off his first four deliveries before he got his revenge by holding a return catch off the fifth. Unfortunately we had only one other wicket-taker (Andy Page, who got 2/29) and we never really looked like defending our meagre total.
We did get one more bowling point than last week, but a grand total of 11 points from two matches is nothing to be proud of. Let's hope it's just a slow start to the season, and that these first two games don't represent blueprints from which we keep manufacturing limp defeats.