It came as a surprise therefore when the IZ captain, on winning the toss, elected to bat, ignoring both local conditions and past form (BB having chased down a number of good totals in recent years).
With the forecast showers remaining at bay, it was with palpable relish and a spring in their step that the assembled battery of BB bowlers took to the field; such enthusiasm proved to be well-founded as Toby Pettman and Alex Cornwallis found good swing and seam movement in the early overs to go with some accurate bowling which was rewarded with one wicket apiece. Hector Raw maintained the high standard of bowling with a very tidy spell of 1 for 25 off his 7 overs. After a first hour in which the run rate remained low, IZ then consolidated well in the next hour before lunch, putting away the bad balls and riding their luck with a few dropped catches (Hugo Pettman with his spitting leg breaks the unluckiest of the bowlers). Piers Richardson and Ben Regan also bowled well for little reward during the session.
Fortified by an excellent lunch, the B.B. then enjoyed an inspired session in the field including a spell in which 5 wickets fell for only 10 runs. Golden Arm Marriott picked up a brace of wickets with some wily swing bowling into the wind and Toby Pettman returned at the pavilion end with a superb spell of fast bowling bringing about three further wickets including a very slick catch by Regan in the slips, snaffling a drive that was travelling at high speed with nonchalant ease, marred only by a slightly bemused expression on registering what had just happened. Thereafter the IZ demise was swift as the BB bowlers maintained the pressure, with Piers Richardson and Hugo Pettman rewarded for their pre-lunch toils.
The B.B. openers Jamie Henderson and Alistair Mavor then set about chasing the target of 191 in contrasting styles: Mavor, in good nick, was all wristy punches through the off side as he raced along quickly to 23, whilst Henderson initially struggled to get bat on ball. All of a sudden though, Hendo laced a ball through the covers with a resounding thwack that echoed around the otherwise serene Kentish countryside and never looked back, unfurling a succession of stylish boundaries to all corners in his compilation of a very well-made 60no. With Mavor’s innings brought to an end with a smart, low catch in the gulley, Regan then joined the fray, maintaining the run rate with his usual brand of swashbuckling batting so that at tea BB were well placed with only 91 needed and 9 wickets in hand. Tea clearly did not agree with Regan as he lobbed an innocuous ball down mid on’s throat immediately on resumption, bringing Ed Solly to the crease. Ed was obviously a man in a hurry as he proceeded in very calm fashion to a 23 ball fifty, timing the ball beautifully; this was a fitting way to seal victory, the highlight being an enormous straight six clattered into the tree at the pavilion end.
So a convincing win for B.B. in what was, as always, a very enjoyable day at Torry Hill. Gracious in defeat, IZ vowed to come back stronger next year and so we look forward to the next instalment of this great fixture.