John Stern, former Editor of The Cricketer writes:
Three youthful and talented club debutants contributed to a comfortable eight-wicket victory in leafy Forest Row to kick off the Buccaneers’ season.
The pitch was not quite on the edge of the square, as in previous years, but its colour still matched the leaves of the trees that surround the ground and the boundary was still short enough to make the policing of it tougher than a Millwall home match.
Liam Ward, Charlie Wood and Michael Harms were all recruited by Angus Berry and all had substantially more successful days than him. After a moderate spell of three overs for 22, Berry then suffered a glancing blow on his unprotected head while at the non-striker’s end. He retired hurt (on 2) but thankfully was able to recover later in the warm embrace of the nursing staff St George’s Hospital, Tooting, following a chance nightclub encounter the evening before.
After losing the toss, the Buccs showed fire and fight in the field, reducing Forest Row to 51 for 5 and ultimately restricting them to 152 for 7 from 35 overs.
Wood showed plenty with the new ball alongside a miserly Will Metcalfe, whose seven overs went for only 11 runs. Ward picked up two wickets with his lively swing and the off spin of John Bryant QC (the Quiet Container) proved impossible to get away (7-0-10-1).
Skipper James Stringer showed an untypical display of sportsmanship by recalling a Forest Row batsman, who had been given out stumped despite there being no appeal and precious little evidence that the batsman had left his crease.
The wicket would have meant two in two for John Stern’s flighted filth and the frank, post-match, bar-room discussions revealed that any simmering resentment should have dissipated by late 2018.
The Buccaneers’ chase was set up elegantly and skilfully by Ward and Ludo Milne, who put on 94 for the first wicket. The teenage Milne, fuelled by the prospect of a day away from his Economics AS Level revision, raced to his fifty before Ward plundered three sixes after reaching his. Milne went for 54 and Ward finished unbeaten on 74. The Buccs completed the victory with 9.2 overs to spare.