Winning start with show at the Row

Buccaneers 237 for 4 (39.2 overs) beat Forest Row 231 all out (39.5 overs)
A new season opener and a repeat of last year’s happy start, as the Buccaneers won a closely fought encounter at Forest Row. Although a sylvan setting (with Royal Ashdown Forest GC merely a raking 3 wood away), Forest Row’s ground offered extra spice thanks to the groundsman’s decision to use a track only 35 yards from Vietnam-like jungle on one side.

Forest Row won the toss, decided to bat and proceeded to explore how deep into Viet-Cong territory they could hit a cricket ball. Wyartt’s restraining order preventing him entering woods in the East Grinstead area proved a handicap. The first ten overs cost 90 runs.

Metcalfe began to find his rhythm and with Brandes started the squeeze as the ball softened. The skipper finally woke up and realised that a form of tin pan alley was required on the vulnerable side of the ground. Openers Holmes and Gardner looked in little trouble until Brandes picked up his only wicket with Holmes, and Leefe, who was introduced after Metcalfe, accounted for Gardner. Bruce dropped anchor, while the second half of the innings provided the light (in Buccaneers’ eyes) to the dark of the first hour. Leefe claimed a further two wickets, while ‘Angry’ Paul Hobson swung the ball prodigiously at no great pace to collect 4 for 26. With Mann and Gwynn closing proceedings (Hack announcing to the assembled press pack afterwards that the 2013 season marked his sixth decade playing cricket), Buccaneers had done well to limit the Row to only 231.

The Buccaneers featured a strong batting line up on paper, and so it proved on the day. With bookies in Forest Row offering a spread of between 60 and 80 on Ross, the man himself looked in no trouble until surprisingly out for 67 when the score was on 129. The elder of the Chakravarti brothers, Sujay, who arguably lacks the carefree stylishness of his brother (so typical of a younger brother), made up for it with grit as he dug in to support Ross, and also continued the push when his pal was out. The brothers were united after Ross’s departure and kept the scoreboard moving steadily at the required rate. Hobson surprisingly came and went – victim of the lively skipper (and scorer’s boyfriend) Woodward. Cometh the hour cometh the Mann. He’d already contributed tidy keeping, hidden skills as a bowler and now offered Michael Bevan-like closing. With three runs required off 5 balls, Mann ended matters with a raking three wood into Royal Ashdown Forest GC to seal a six wicket win.

Innings of Forest Row
J Holmes ct Gwynn b Brandes 58
D Gardner ct Sujay Chakravarti b Leefe 57
C Bruce not out 58
P Godden ct Stringer b Leefe 0
M Woodward ct and b Hobson 17
S McCarron ct Mann b Leefe 1
A Carter ct Stringer b Hobson 6
I McPake b Hobson 0
M Best ct and b Hobson 1
T Beswick lbw Gwynn 8
W Barker lbw Mann 3
Extras 25
231 all out (39.5 overs)

W Metcalfe 8-0-51-0
A Wyarrt 2-0-30-0
S Brandes 8-2-23-1
S Leefe 8-0-44-3
P Hobson 8-1-26-4
R Gwynn 4-0-34-1
Mann 1.5-0-13-1

Innings of Buccaneers
K Ross ct Gardner b Barker 67
Sujay Chakravarti b Carter 80
Subir Chakravarti lbw b Woodward 30
P Hobson ct Bruce b Woodward 2
J Stringer not out 16
J Mann not out 25
Extras 17
237 for 4 (39.2 overs)

W Barker 8-0-39-1
A Carter 8-0-55-1
M Best 3-0-21-0
S McCarron 8-0-54-0
M Woodward 8-3-22-2
T Beswick 3-0-32-0
D Gardner 1.2-0-9-0

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