Captain’s early season report
Earl Stonham’s Saturday XI have registered their first win of the season, beating Ipswich 2s by 14 runs at Clay Hall. Full scorecard.
Ipswich’s decision to bowl looked sound when Martin Stevens was caught behind in the third over for no score, and a tight opening spell from J Howe and skipper I Knight left Stonham at 12-1 from 10 overs. With a minimum target of 200 being sought the batsmen fought back, reaching 60-1 at drinks (22 overs) and then 91-2 when Colin Macrow was narrowly run out by a direct hit for 32 in the 28th over.
Scott Eade then joined Stephen Lewis at the crease, and the runs continued to flow thanks to a combination of positive running and well-timed boundaries. When Lewis was eventually dismissed in the 37th over for 86 (including 12 fours), he and Eade had shared a 67 run partnership in little over 9 overs. The onslaught continued as Luke Edgar played freely for an unbeaten 30, whilst Eade also remained unbeaten at the close on 43 – their partnership totalling 61.
Stonham began brightly with the ball, looking to restrict the run rate and build scoreboard pressure rather than push aggressively for early wickets. Opening bowlers Ant Stowe and Martin Stevens both played their part in confining Ipswich to just 35 runs in the first 13 overs, and it was Stevens who bore first reward for the effort when he dismissed S Smith, caught and bowled for 22 in the 14th over.
With runs on the board and the run rate rising, Stonham elected to defend the boundaries and dare the Ipswich batsmen to beat their fielders in the deep. Stephen Lewis snared three victims (including the dangerous S Bumphrey) to mishit shots and a fourth to an awkward defensive effort, with all four wickets falling to catches (two for Ant Stowe, one each for Scott Eade and Steve ‘Jonty’ Stowe).
Paul Storer’s figures of 0-49 from 9 overs reflected Stonham’s willingness to allow singles whilst protecting the boundary, and that passage of play meant that by the time the opening bowlers returned to the attack Ipswich required 60 from the last 7 overs.
Stowe and Stevens were both superb at the death – Stevens’s three overs going for a miserly fourteen and Stowe’s final six full overs costing just thirty. Each added wickets to their own tally along the way to finish with two apiece, whilst two run outs (including a direct hit from the boundary from Steve Stowe) in the final five overs saw Ipswich dismissed with one ball to spare.
Stonham will look to take this momentum into this weekend’s home game against Nowton who narrowly missed out on promotion last season.
Whilst the Saturday team had to wait five games for their first victory of the season, Stonham’s Sunday side have enjoyed a much stronger start to the new campaign. After ‘winning’ the first fixture of the season by concession, Stonham comfortably chased 91 at Bury 2s and then were in full control when restricting Cavendish to 152ao during their chase of Stonham’s 220-5 first innings target.
Noteworthy performances from these games include Sam Fenning and Scott Eade’s unbeaten knocks against Bury and Jordi Dye’s opening spell from the same game, Ant Stowe’s bowling as he led the attack in both encounters, and Luke Edgar’s unbeaten half-century versus Cavendish.
Stonham’s summer practice/net sessions have now begun, and (weather permitting) will run every Friday from 5.30pm onwards. For those less athletically inclined, we expect that drinks will be available from the bar at this time.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Stephen Lewis, 1st XI Captain, ESCC