The 4s arrived at Great Waltham excited by the prospect and feeling confident in taking on the side at the top of the table. For once, Shaz lost the toss and we were inserted on a green wicket, unfortunately that was just the start of what proved to be an incredibly tough day.
Early on Duke chopped one on for 0, not the opening partnership we were looking for. Progress had been hard going but Duncan was promoted and managed a few lusty blows to try to break the shackles before one shot too many cost him his wicket and he was caught.
L Ponting was battling hard and had just started to look good when one kept low getting under his defences and crashing in to his stumps, leaving us perilously placed at 21-3. Kershaw and R Ponting set about rebuilding the innings and worked hard eventually settling in and started to look good with Kershaw in his first game of the season looking like he had been playing every week and Ponting becoming the first player to start to find the boundary. However, the opposition introduced Tanner in to the attack and it proved to be a turning point as he removed both of them in a two over spell. Firstly, Ponting fell to a stunning reflex catch which on another day would have raced to the boundary although he had been given a life early on and then in the following over Kershaw had no chance as a quick ball kept low on him and clattered into the stumps. Shaz, Phillips, B Duke and Jones all made brief contributions towards the end of the innings as we limped to 120.
We discussed at tea that on a green wicket with lots of uneven bounce we may be in with a chance if we stuck to our plans, bowled and fielded well and got a little bit of luck on the way. We went out to fight until the end and we got off to a good start as Phillips and B Duke bowled tight lines and length with each making an early breakthrough. Firstly Phillips bowled one that hit a spot and kept low ending up clipping the stumps and then Duke enticed the batsman and he edged a swinging delivery that was held on to by S Duke with the help of some great reflexes by Jones who parried the ball up. Unfortunately that was as good as it got as 120 was never enough and the Great Waltham batsman started to make the pitch look much easier to bat on. In all fairness, 120 was never enough and although we didn't get the rub of the green we were beaten by a much better team on the day and can have few complaints. We move on to another tough game next week against Oaklands but needing to bounce back to keep the promotion push on track.