After a long, cold and wet Winter the week before our opening fixture was increasingly warm culminating in a beautiful day for our third visit to Blue Star, this time at their new location in Horton Kirby – an immensely picturesque setting. Despite the normal litany of communication issues and train changes, 11 Gardeners turned up ready for the start at 1.30pm with Mahender Padidam making his debut. Skipper Higginbottom called incorrectly and home captain Mark Gorman took the option to bat first on what looks like a good track.
S Jayathilake T Richards D Mohanty J Gostick P Jordan
J Woolmore M Padidam S Dassanayake R Higginbottom (c) S Ahmed D Stead
Joe took the new ball from the South end and got extravagant swing immediately, taking a few balls to find his range; same for Sanjeewa at the Pavilion end and a full toss just below waist height caught the end of Grimsley’s bat and deflected to fellow Sri Lankan Sachith in the gully; 4-1 in the second over. Joe quickly caught up with a sensational inswinger which veered in very late to castle number 3 Taylor for another duck; 6-2. Tasker at 4 played resolutely against some excellent swing bowling from the Gardeners openers as A. Chenery knuckled down whilst also striking the rare loose ball to the boundary. Tim replaced Joe after 10 overs and soon got Tasker to pop a return catch to him, diving forward well to pouch the catch. 26-3. Then a couple of balls later a superb off-cutter bowled Raymond (third duck of the innings) and it’s 26-4. Shahed replaced Sanjeewa at the pavilion end and was also bowling some fine stuff. Mills combined well with A. Chenery to get the home side to 45 before he chased an outswinger from Tim, the captain taking a neat catch behind the stumps. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Steve Chenery played his way in, never looking troubled, then decided to slog-sweep Tim over midwicket for a magnificent six. And then hit a six over long on. Impressive. This also meant A. Chenery could relax a bit and was becoming more fluent. Mahender replaced Tim and after an over finding his rhythm, induced a false shot from A. Chenery, Tim taking the catch at Extra Cover. 39 scored in a battling innings including six 4s. Blue Star captain Mark Gorman scored 10 and was looking good until Mahender bowled him with a beauty of a yorker. Shahed gave way to Dave Stead who was managing to keep Steve in check fairly well, though he tucked into some deliveries from Mahender and Sachith. Only 18 runs off Dave’s 7 overs. Joe came back but Steve was playing well, ably supported by Ben Bird, and we made no further inroads, Chenery finishing on 77 and Bird 20 as Blue Star posted 193.
An excellent tea provided – thanks very much. Where’s the batting order … can we do it? Possibly, but that innings from Steve Chenery could be telling.
David and Paul opened up for us and were going along steadily against accurate bowling from Rob Mills and Gary Hill (whose first 3 overs were all maidens). Eventually Rob dropped one slightly shorter, Paul’s eyes lit up but bottom edged the pull shot into his stumps and it’s 11-1. Debasis survived a tight lbw shout against Mills (your correspondent judged it to have struck just outside the line of off stump and we shall have no further debate, thanks very much). Debasis then decided that Hill needed his analysis rearranged and crashed 18 off one over as David also started to find some gaps. Mark Gorman was being played pretty well by Dave now whilst Debasis took 12 off Steve Chenery’s first over. Crikey it’s turning into Kwik Cricket out there. Then Steve found a good ball that had Debasis in two minds, edging behind for a blistering 42 containing nine 4s – a stand of 70. Mahender, Sachith and Jeremy all perished to good deliveries from Gorman – early season lack of foot movement diagnosed by the Gardeners Captain. Now 109-5 and the rate is creeping up. Shahed hit a boundary then nicked behind off the returning Hill. Dave was bowled by Grimsley for a well executed 61, his ball placement and ability to locate gaps in the field continues to be of the highest standard – a quality season debut for the Whitley Bay Champion. Tim played some good shots and Sanjeewa hit a four that was wildly celebrated by his son; then got out trying to hit another boundary in what was now looking an improbable target. Tim and Richard got out trying to force the rate, leaving Joe having faced one ball for one run being one of our other stars of the day. Thanks very much for another entertaining contest to Blue Star, we look forward to seeing you next season.