Buckhorn’s first game of 2011 was graced with two excellent displays: firstly from the weather; and secondly, from a surprisingly sharp Buckhorn side, who looked like they had a season of games behind them already. Adam duly won the toss on a bowler-friendly deck and put Marnhull in to bat. This was to be Buckhorn’s first outing in senior cricket against one of Dorset’s bigger sides.
Opening up were the usual suspects: George Ovenden and Daffy. Both got considerable lateral movement from a slow, yet well prepared, pitch and used it to good effect; however the first breakthrough came when Simon B (on as first change) got one to nip back into Marnhull’s opener’s off stump as he attempted to play, what would have been if the ball hadn’t seamed, a tight leave. Marnhull never managed to get to grips with the pitch (including a Buckhorn midweek player – Simon Hasted) and a very well tuned Buckhorn exploited the conditions expertly. Wickets falling at regular intervals, slowing the run rate, and some fine fielding (epitomised by debutant Hugh Barren’s one-handed pickups, Adam’s ankle stops and Daffy’s diving efforts) culminated in Marnhull slumping to a well below par 95 all out. The bowling lines of much of the Buckhorn seamers were excellent and produced impressive figures, including a spell from Charlie ‘Mitchell Johnson’ Leach who managed to ‘wang’ down 5.1 overs, 4 maidens, 1 for 6. Theo Biggs (another debutant) also put in a stand out display, using some lofty flight and variations to deceive the batsmen/woman into false shots, and he duly deserved his first wicket for Buckhorn. George Jones also bowled as well as many have seen from him, and picked up wickets, helping Buckhorn to pin back Marnhull and prevent them getting away. Tom ‘Colly’ Blomfield bowled several overs of Yorkers and death bowling, further slowing Marnhull’s scoring, and with some bursts from Simon B (who resorted to shoulder-charging the opposition when he couldn’t get them out legitimately), Adam B (!!) and Charlie Leach, Buckhorn ended the Marnhull batsmen’s days early. The only negative was the number of extras (28!!) conceded, but this was a great start to the season and it was up to the batters to finish off the game – if they could move after tea!
Once again, a regular pair opened up for Buckhorn: Simon B at 1 and George ‘Waydog’ Wayman at 2. The tone for the innings was set when the second ball of the first over was dispatched through mid-wicket for 4 (surprisingly not by George). Simon and Waydog continued to plunder all the loose bowling, as Marnhull failed to use the pitch (by now, dry and in good shape) as well as Buckhorn had. Things were looking good for the pair until Waydog (probably distracted by the paparazzi on the outfield – Rodney Wayman) mistimed one and lobbed a high catch to mid-off for 19. Next man in was Adam and he helped Simon continue to keep the score ticking over at a good rate. The bowlers beat the bat which helped to keep them interested, but a dropped chance by the keeper and some average fielding allowed Buckhorn to exert their dominance; highlighted by Adam, who hit the first 6er of 2011 at Buckhorn. Simon moved to 50 with the season’s 2nd 6er, but soon after was out LBW (dubious?!) for 56; leaving Charlie Leach to come in and score the winning runs in the 19th over, sealing an emphatic win for Buckhorn in what was a promising and inspiring performance.