On Saturday, Holmesdale 1st XI beat Lordswood comprehensively to claim the first league win of their Premier League campaign.
Winning the toss, Blackaby had no doubt but to bowl first on a green and damp pitch (thanks in no small part to the wettest May on record).
It proved to be an excellent decision as Blackaby had both Lockhart (0) and Mahmood (4) trapped LBW in the first over of the match. In came the Scotland international, Calum MacLeod, who along with Ed Taylor started to rebuild the Lordswood innings. While MacLeod was far more circumspect, Taylor was very aggressive, timing the ball beautifully and looking to hit everything for four of six. In the tenth over, the score had raced to 66-2, but then Dom May (4-1-17) struck, taking the big wicket of MacLeod for 8.
This brought Lordswood captain, Jack Laraman, to the crease, and the Dale thought they had him immediately caught behind off the bowling of Bryant (10-0-37) but the umpire declined the vociferous appeal much to the home side’s dismay. Taylor went on to pass 50 and continued to look to attack. However, a master stroke from Blackaby in bringing on Anthony Bissett (7-2-35) for the first time this year, led to his demise as Taylor (74), looking to go over the top, was smartly stumped by Maynard.
Laraman then took up the mantle for the away side, playing some smart cricket shots and cashing on the occasional (but too frequent) loose Holmesdale delivery. Blackaby (10-3-40)brought the seamers back to finish the innings, and they all chipped in with wickets, including a debut scalp for James Poulsom (5-1-28). It had looked like the Dale would restrict Lordswood to under 220. However, some late order hitting saw their innings close on 240-9 from their allotted 50 overs.
The Dale’s response could not have got off to a better start with Will McDowell playing a dazzling innings. Anything that the Lordswood bowlers served up seemed to disappear over the ropes as the Dale raced to 50 from their first 4 overs. McDowell’s hitting was controlled and all around the ground; everything seemed to come out of the middle of the bat. He reached his 50 from inside 20 balls, and by the time he fell, caught in the deep in the 9th over, the score was on 98, and he had scored 67 from 30 balls: a phenomenal effort.
This set the platform beautifully for the rest of the team, as all of a sudden, the Dale needed 140 from the remaining 40 overs. Bissett (16) and Fawcitt (10) were not able to push on from the starts that they made, but Carlos Maynard and Luke Blackaby were. Maynard (56) was more of the aggressor as he swept and drove balls for four and six with consummate ease. While Blackaby, knowing that a collapse could have just been around the corner, played a far more circumspect role.
When Maynard fell for his well-made half century, Dom May was sent in to help score the remaining 50 runs quickly and put the game beyond doubt. His cameo of 26 included a few fours and sixes, and meant that when he fell, the Dale required 18 runs off 12 overs. Will Harby (4*) and Blackaby (42*) did this with consummate ease, leading Holmesdale to a comfortable five-wicket win and, most importantly, their first 18 points of the season.
Next week, Holmesdale entertain Bromley at Montreal Park. The visitors are winless so far this campaign and the Dale will want to ensure that this continues on Saturday.