Match report: 4s vs. Malden Wanderers May 6th 2017

The 4s slumped to defeat in the opening fixture of the season against Malden Wanderers, yet there were – without wanting to sound like a chastened football manager wishing to appear upbeat – positives to take from the game. The bowling was tight, the fielding generally good, and the middle order staged a gritty fightback after a top order collapse.

Cathcart and Boughey opened the attack for Wick, and after the opening 10 overs only 20 runs had been scored. The tenor of the Malden innings was thus set. They struggled to get the ball away, and a particularly good spell of 9-0-23-2 by Adam Selves applied the brake to the middle of the innings when Malden were trying to get away. The most profitable partnership was of 76 runs between number three bat Cecil and Bartlett – one of several impressive youngsters playing for Malden – but at no stage did the runs come much faster than three an over.

All the Wick bowlers recorded decent figures, and a total of 173 off 45 overs at tea appeared eminently gettable. Such optimism was not to last long, however. Bowling from down the hill, Bryant bowled an immaculate off stop line, shaping the ball away, and inside the first five or six overs Ben Houghton, Mark Bannon and skipper Tom Simcock were all back in the hutch having edged behind to the keeper. Craig Daniel departed soon after. He had twice tested the fielders with steepling skiers and on the third occasion they snared it.

So Wick were four down for about 20 runs inside ten overs and the future looked bleak. That we edged increasingly and improbably closer to the target was due in large measure to a partnership between Adam Selves (making his bid for man of the match) and Jonny Allen. However, the asking rate climbed higher and higher, and though there was a lively cameo at the end of innings from Paul Baxter, the Wick innings closed almost 30 runs short of the Malden total.

Malden were a competitive outfit, scoring tough runs and bowling well throughout. A special mention should go to one of their youngsters. Morgan opened the batting with text-book style and then took five catches behind the stumps, one of them a blinder.