Brockley, with their new sponsors A14 Tyres, welcomed Halstead II for the first game of the season.
On a chilly day, the ground looked superb with the outfield resembling mid June rather than late April. This probably influenced Halstead’s decision to seize the tactical initiative by choosing to bat first and put pressure on the Brockley attack.
Pont used all his experience to quickly work out that the bowling lacked variety and guile which it failed to make up for in the enthusiasm of its appealing. Boundary followed boundary as he raced to 24 .
however at the other end, a random pitch mark caused a deviation that allowed Geeves (1 for 27) to pick up the the first wicket which was followed by three for the ancient and extremely predictable Sykes (3 for 23) that owed more to unexpectedly sudden gusts of wind than any skill on his part. His lottery winning luck peaked when he bowled the prolific Pont with a delivery so fortunate that were it not a league match then one would have expected the captain to call back Pont in “the interests of the game”
Halstead are a quality team with some extremely well coached youngsters and weren’t going to fold just because the opposition got lucky.
they quickly hit Sykes out of the attack and slowly rebuilt the innings with real skill and patience and an understanding that in April in England you need a different repertoire of shots than in July.
Their progress was kept in check by the spin twins, B Jeffferry (1 for 36) and a stand out 5 for 32 from Jason Boor for his first five wicket haul for the team.
Despite a decent bowling performance, Halstead scored runs right down the order including an innings steadying 31 from Wickes and a mature and very well paced 43 from Morris that left him unbeaten as the last wicket fell on the final ball of the innings with the score on 126.
On paper a score of 126 should be withing the reach of most teams however it wasn’t paper that Brockley were batting on and the opening bowlers (Dalton 1 for 18) and Brennan ( 3 for 14) showed the Brockley bowlers how to shape the ball both ways and reduced the village side to a clueless 13 for 4.
Luckily for Brockley lightning clearly can strike twice as anther huge dollop of luck came their way allowing Hill (63 no) and Jeffery (48no) to scratch and edge their way towards the total. Even the introduction of the experienced Pont failed to turn the tide and Brockley made it home with 6 wickets to spare.
Halstead are a team with some great young cricketers who played the game in a really good spirit and on better cricketing days will be extremely successful this season. Brockley for their part will probably not get more fortunate than this – either in terms of the result or the excellent umpires that officiated : on some levels a great start to the season.