At the second attempt Gunnislake’s season got off to a start with a home fixture against St Austell’s fourth team. Despite a small overnight shower, the weather was set fair and the ground looked good, if a little soft, after some hard work by Cliff Boundy (thanks Cliff!). Gunnislake boasted three players on debut and Ian Mill, who will be converting his loan from Bude into a permanent transfer. So a warm welcome to David Gray (from Perranarworthal), Dean Organ (from Newquay) and Kai Murray Dustan (a product of this season’s partnership with Callington). Despite thoughts of 15 players earlier in the week, we had to settle for a mere 11, but no loan players. Time to rebuild after last season’s travails!
St Austell won the toss and elected to field: just as well, as plans for tea had meant we would bat if we won the toss. The nuances of cricket at this level can differ slightly from the higher echelons of the game…… And so senior pro Barrie James (complete with new pacemaker – think the Duracell bunny adverts and that’s the new improved Barrie) took to the field with Ian Mill, full of hope for the campaign ahead. Alas, they had not read the script, Mill being out without troubling the scorers. Enter Adam Emmerson, Batsman of the Year 2018, exit Emmerson, LBW for 2. Blimey, the two star batsmen out and only three runs on the board. St Austell had their tails up, both wickets falling to captain Dan Roach. The Gunnislake skipper was not quite ready (multi-tasking with the scorebook and teas), so Kai Murray Dustan joined the fray. He looked good, mixing sound defence with some nice shots off the legs, but fell to the wily off-spin of Roach, 18 for 3, and memories of last season’s misery. Stephen Lees finally made his own bow, but the score resembled a grinding test match, with runs hard to come by on a slow pitch. At drinks it was 29 for 3 and St Austell were on top, Roach finishing with the parsimonious figures of 10 overs three wickets for seven runs.
After drinks, James fell trying to raise the run rate, out to a sharp caught and bowled, 46 for 4 after 25 overs. Would Gunnislake reach treble figures? Cue Von Suppe and the Light Cavalry Overture! Adrian Cameron strode to the crease in his black 20:20 kit, wondering what all the fuss was about. The runs came steadily at first and then in a torrent as Cameron hit the boundary with gusto, mid-wicket to long on being his favoured arc. Lees contributed a few at the other end, settling for singles to get his partner on strike. The 100 was passed in the 34th over and then 60 runs came in the last six overs as Cameron continued his onslaught. He scored his maiden 50 and continued to finish on 72 not out, with Lees there at the end as well on 52 not out. Roach was the stand out bowler for St Austell, but Steve Jarman also kept a tight rein on things finishing with 1 for 24 from his ten overs.
At tea Gunnislake were probably the happier side, but it’s a funny old game and there was still much to pay for. What cunning plan did St Austell have to reach their target, how were Gunnislake planning to bowl them out?
St Austell’s cunning plan seemed to be to mimic Gunnislake, losing early wickets. Seven for one became seven for three and then 11 for five. The damage was done by an opening partnership of old campaigner Paul Lees and bright young thing Kai Murray-Dustan (debutant 1): all bowled. Lees relied on pinpoint accuracy, Murray Dustan on pace and a bit of movement, but the results were the same. Peacock and Bradbeer began to rebuild the innings a bit, until Peacock was bowled by debutant two David Gray’s leg breaks, quickly followed by his father for a duck, well caught at mid-off by Dave Warner. With only ten players the end looked in sight, but Bradbeer and captain Roach would not give in without a fight. Forty runs were quickly added with Gray and then Dean Organ (debutant 3) taking some punishment. Get a grip captain said someone, but Organ spared his blushes, surprising the batsman with a straight ball. One wicket to go, and we must ponder did Bradbeer give up, or was he fooled by cunning variation from Organ? Either way, the ball was skied, Organ took a caught and bowled and St Austell’s resistance was at an end. 81 all out and Gunnislake’s season was off to a victorious start.
Special credit must go to Adrian for a career best score to set the scene and to Kai for an excellent spell of opening bowling. A bit more help clearing up after the match next week would be appreciated! But a good week’s work and a few will sleep soundly tonight.