The "long" winter was finally over and Cricket returned to Alfas with the visit of Theale CC to christen the new Alfas Mat laid by the club members during the off season.
With the toss bypassed, Theale were invited to set a target and Morris joined R. Why at the crease to start things off. Alfas players wondered among themselves who would get the 1st wicket on the new mat and the wait did not take long, Abdul finding the edge of Morris in the first over with Byrne taking the catch.
Arrowsmith was next in and with Why moved the score on to 29 before falling chasing one away down the leg side. With the 'keeper diving down leg, Arrowsmith dragged the ball back, up and over his head, but straight up, allowing Byrne to regain his feet and take the catch again.
2 overs later, Abdul struck again, finding another edge and J. Perman at 1st Slip held on to his first catch of the day, Theale rocking at 38/3 off 9.
Holder and Why, still in having seen 3 partners fall, stayed together for the next 7 overs, seeing off the opening bowlers and getting into the 1st change of Braitwaite (remember the name!) and K. Roper.
Just as things were looking comforable for Theale, Holder slapped a long hop from Roper straight into the hands of K. Perman at square leg. His partner looking on in astonishment!
White was the next man in and with Why, put on another 37 (Theale's highest partnership of the day) before White was stumped at the second time of asking. First stumping led to many sly glances at the Square Leg Umpire who called it not out but White was got at the 2nd chance and Theale were 96/5, Why reaching his 50 earlier in the same over to cap a controlled batting performance.
However, Why had seen off 4 bowlers but had no reply to the wiley ledgend Dhondai with the next bowling change. 1st ball of the next over, Why could only look on in horror as he picked out J. Perman in the covers. 96/6.
Controvesry then struck the match as Braitewaite came in for another over, only for the scorers to announce, 3 balls in that it was his 8th over! All agreed that he could continue and Dixon rued this decision as he edged a low catch to slip with Fletcher getting down well for his size to take the catch. 102/7.
Dhondai contined to terrorise at his end, getting another edge through to the 'keeper for another wicket, J. Perman got 1 at the other end, getting Springgay to launch one into Orbit allowing M. Perman to nearly have too much time under the ball, but managing to hold the catch as it plummeted back to earth before Dhondai wrapped up the innings, getting Sankarran to top edge one that Byrne was able to gather running back, doubts raised as to who struck first, Byrne taking the catch or Sankarran running through his stumps but caught was the official decision from the scorers! Theale all out for 118.
With no tea, Hogan Brown and J. Perman walked out to get the chase underway for the Alfas. Hogan Brown got off to a good start and kept a lot of the strike until in the 4th Over, Perman was tagged LBW by Cooper. Comments were mysteroiusly added to that dismissal in the book when the official scorer went out to bat!
Fletcher and his left arm joined Brown at the crease and together they moved the team on to 52 before Brown fell for a fine 33, Cooper taking another wicket.
The Alfas mini collapse was next on the cards as 3 overs later, Fletcher fell to Sankarran, clean bowled. K. Perman was done by a fine catch by Why for 4, Abdul was stumped for 0, Cooper getting his 3rd of the innings before Byrne and M. Perman were able to steady the ship.
The Captain joined his Vice at the crease and between them they added another 35 to the score before Byrne, with only 13 more needed for the win, had a rush of blood and skied one back to Dixon, who had to warn a fielder off who tried to encroach on the catch!
Bash joined the skipper and they were able to see the Alfas through to the end, not before Bash sent the 'skipper back when looking for a single because he wanted to win the match with a 4! A few laughs allowed at the end of an enjoyable match!