30th of April saw Condover 2nd IX play their first game of the 2022 season at home against Harcourt who were relegated last season and looking to bounce straight back up again.
Condover put out a strong team with a mixture of youth and experience looking to regain some pride after a heavy defeat the week before against the other relegated team Pontsbury.
For what must be the 325th time in a row the Condover captain lost the toss and was asked to bat first.
Chris Henderson and Andy Brooks set about the task with wise heads against some tight and energetic bowling and navigated Condover through the fist 10 overs without the loss of a wicket which looking at the history books last happened the weekend of the Queens coronation.
After Henderson decided to throw caution to the wind and play a shot other than a forward defensive he top edged a ball and was dismissed for 28 solid runs. This brought young debutant Paul Evans to the crease. Paul never looked like he’d been away from the game and most of his first 16 runs came from succulent front foot drives through the slips. Once Paul decided that he had paid for all of the bat and not just the edges he played some majestic shots on his way to 51 with a punch shot through the covers being a highlight which if the ball hadn’t hit the fence may still be travelling.
Condover batted out their allotted 40 overs with Andy Brooks finishing with 81NO.
Condover started their defence knowing that with it being W/L/D they had to bowl the opposition out to get a win so opened with two young quick bowlers in Anthony Smith and first time opening bowler Lucas Ridgeway. Both bowled well with the occasional loose ball but did their job like seasoned veterans and at the change of bowlers Condover had the edge however Harcourt then proceeded to up the run rate and soon it was neck and neck again.
Sam Love produced the over of the match with a double wicket maiden and at the final over of the match Harcourt needed 20 runs to win and Condover needed 3 wickets.
The final outcome was Condover securing a winning draw (if that really is a thing) with Sam Love taking three wickets, Graeme Hughes taking three and Lucas Ridgeway taking one.
Special mentions to Leon Kosciuczyk who bowled his dependable line and length on a pitch that gave him nothing, Graham Geary who as always was everywhere in the field, Andy Rubery for his entertaining fielding and Jon Mansell Snr who had the unenviable task of keeping on a track that had unpredictable bounce. I’m sure he’s wearing yesterdays bruises as a badge of honour.
A great performance by the team and with buoyed confidence we head to Forton for our next battle.