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Date Opponents Location Result
Sat April 23rd Collingbourne Home Lost
The glorious sunshine of the opening game against Collingbourne promised a run feast, and Farley’s rusty opening bowlers were only too willing to oblige. The Northerners’ experienced opening pair took full toll, racking up a century partnership by the time of the much needed drinks break at 14 overs. It took a typically parsimonious spell from Geoff – against his Wiltshire over 50s colleague – to slow the run rate. He was assisted by Sam Arnold, who showed great control of flight with his legspinners, but it was skipper Woody who made the breakthrough with his first ball, as the batsman mistimed a gentle full bunger into the hands of Arnold on the boundary. A fiery second spell from Jacko helped keep Collingbourne in check, and on a fast outfield and good paced pitch, the total of 219 looked well within reach. After a steady start, Farley’s openers – Keith Redding and Andy Coveney – followed the Collingbourne pair in putting on a hundred for the first wicket and recording a 50 apiece. However, the fall of the first wicket led to a sudden collapse, with two golden ducks in the middle order. Again it was a Ramsey-Arnold partnership which restored some balance, before Geoff played on. Sam A, however, was imperturbable and began to find the boundaries with some well-timed nudges and flicks. Dave Probert hit the gas, some muscular blows bringing the Collingbourne total within reach. But his fall meant that the eight an over required continued to rise, and 15 off the last proved too much.
Fri April 29th Sway Home Lost
Next up came Sway. While the royal couple attended their wedding banquet, Andy C feasted on the Sway attack, powering his way to a regal 91. Against some rapid bowling, however, the rest of the batting struggled. Only Simon Wakeford and Dom Sell offered much support as we ended 186 all out. Skipper Dave Glanvill chose Phil “Bosh” Owen and Shahab to open the innings, from the battery of medium-pacers at his disposal. Bosh, reincarnated from his days as a spinner, found good movement from the bottom end to make the first breakthrough, courtesy of a stunning catch from a hazy Dan Gibson in the gully. Dom Sell kept up the good work, picking up a couple of wickets and causing the visitors’ top order plenty of anxiety. But while wickets were tumbling, runs were still being scored at speed, particularly by visiting captain Grasham, who was merciless on anything on his legs. Once he found a reliable ally, he began to put the bowling to the sword, with no-one escaping. Despite another blinding gully catch – Bosh this time – Grasham saw his side home by just a couple of wickets, leaving Farley to reflect on what might have been as they enjoyed the post-match barbecue.
Sat April 30th St Mary Bourne Home Lost
The following day saw us up against old adversaries St Mary Bourne, and not for the first time against them some wayward bowling gave them a rapid start. Things got worse for Farley as captain Woody seized up in his third over and had to leave the field pending further medical investigation. Several visiting batsmen made quick runs as only Pete Thompson offered much control with the ball as St Mary Bourne finished in excess of 270. However, the Farley innings started in a similar vein, a restored Dan Gibson flaying the Bourne opening pair around the park on his way to 79. Mike Covill also looked in good touch with an aggressive 47. But as the canny Bourne medium pacers took the pace off the ball, the rate dropped and wickets fell. Pete again stood out, with a resolute 42 as we succumbed to defeat.
Sun May 1st Wherwell Home Won
The final pre-season outing brought a much improved all-round display against Wherwell. Dave Glanvill and Matt Sell provided a tidy start with the ball, Dave unlucky not to pick up more than the one wicket. Dave Probert and Geoff then demolished the middle order, Geoff taking 2-3 in four overs, while an improved fielding display saw some good catches not least by Dave Glanvill, diving to his right theatrically at point. Dismissed for 130, the visitors – who play in RD1N – were not going down without a fight. Their pacy and aggressive opening attack tested the foot movement (and ducking ability) of openers James Melhorn and Keith, but both proved up to the task. Mellers hit some lovely straight drives on his way to 50, and then retired with the score on 88. Keith stayed resolute on the way to an unbeaten half century to ensure a comfortable victory by seven wickets.
May 4th Porton Away Lost
Porton won the toss and proceeded steadily to 180 for 0 after 20 overs. The total would have been considerably more had the Farley bowlers bowled six bad balls an over instead of just the four. Paul Webster and Shahab bowled a reasonable line and length for theirfirst games of the season but the less said about the others the better. Farley's chase in diminishing light was eventful. Major Tom blasted his way to a quickfire 72 before being bowled out at ten minutes to midnight, having already complained that the game should have been abandoned five minutes earlier so that he could have his Horlicks. The Farley total reached 142 for 8 before the players trudged off for a shower and early breakfast.
May 25th Dinton Home Won
With sunny and dry conditions Dinton won the toss and elected to bat. The opening pair started well and were starting to get comfortable before Alan Fletcher bowled M.Coombes for 28 in the last over of his spell (5-0-1-31). Simon Butcher bowled well from the opposite end with figures of 17 off 4, yet an injury meant he couldn't finish his spell and was replaced by Shahab Shahid. Dinton carried on steadily until new-comer Pete Cole caught L. Harwood behind off Shahid's bowling for 22. Jackson could not force a wicket (3-0-23-0) as Heaven supported B. Coomes who finished not out with 74 off the 20 overs. With 160 on the board Farley openers Hamish Cameron (20) and Al Cosh (16) started well before the former was caught and bowled by A. Gunawarden, and the latter caught behind off S. Howell. It was up to Pete Cole, playing his first game for Farley, to steady the innings and keep the scoreboard ticking over, and a short cameo from Dan Jackson (18) helped pick up the run rate before he was bowled by Heaven. Geoff Ramsey joined Cole at the crease and between the two they rotated the strike well, both picking up boundaries as well as singles and twos. 13 runs were needed off the last over to be bowled by A. Gunawarden and 2 off the last ball which Geoff Ramsey sent sailing over the fence for 6 to clinch the Farley win. The crucial partnership between Cole (45no) and G. Ramsey (40no) created a great finale to what had been a very close game.

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