Exactly 602 days since our last Cornwall League match, and apparently also a little over 52 million seconds, Gunnislake were able to take to the competitive cricket field once again. The venue was Launceston Cricket Club and the occasion was a resumption of local rivalries in Cornwall Division 6 East.
A dry spring has been good for getting an early start to cricket, and the outfield was showing tinges of brown, more reminiscent of August rather than mid April. A few older faces were missing, Paul Bunn having retired from Launceston, and Barrie James contemplating a similar decision for Gunnislake. However, the old boys reunion was enhanced by Callington‘s second team playing on the main ground. Before the match all four teams held a minutes silence for both Geoff Hills, a stalwart of Launceston for many years and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. You were in good company there Geoff!
And so it was on to the contest between the youth of Launceston (with a smattering of experience) versus the aged Gunnislake squad (with a smattering of youth). Gunnislake opened with Ian Mill and Adam Emmerson, Ian’s knees still defying medical opinion, while Launceston’s attack was spearheaded by James Law and Oliver Sheldrake. Gunnislake made a steady start and soon the run rate was up to a dizzying five an over. Judicious defence and powerful hitting saw a steady climb in runs, with Emmerson leading the way. He reached his half century shortly before the first drinks break, by which time Gunnislake had accumulated 105 for the loss of no wickets. Finlay Worth, who came on first change, was the pick of Launceston bowlers, with some fine left arm swing bowling.
Gunnislake tried to up the tempo after drinks, but Ian’s knees were beginning to complain. He perished in the team cause, caught at mid-on, bringing Kevin Beare to the crease. Emmerson then missed a straight one, attempting a pull to one that kept low, and was out LBW. The chance of another century chance had gone, although 81 is a good start to the season! Brian Martin ran himself out and Kevin Beare, having survived a close stumping (truth be told an action replay would likely have done for him), was bowled off his pads by Finlay Worth. Dean Organ also missed a straight one and Launceston were making a game of it; would Gunnislake throw away their good start? But new signing Joe Organ kept his head, steadied the ship, and shepherded the team to a final total of 220 for 6. Launceston went through eight bowlers, with Finlay’s father briefly reliving his youth with a miserly three over spell at the end.
220 seemed an excellent total, but as they say it’s a funny old game, and rumour had it that Worth Senior (AKA Kevin) was good enough to play for the Launceston first team….. What secret plans did Launceston have to retrieve their position? It appeared to be old hand Simon Wilton, but he slashed at a wide ball straight to Mill at slip, who took an excellent catch at head height. One ball of the innings gone and Launceston were nought for one! Then in the fifth over Joe Organ got his second wicket and the score was 11 for 2. 13 for 3 became 18 for 4 and then 20 for 5. Launceston were in trouble, and Gunnislake began to believe. Enter Kevin Worth, and indeed he did not look like a number seven. But a leading edge to Jake Beare’s bowling, led to a steepling ball into the offside, which father Simon Beare managed to cling on to while running around and back from mid-off. The danger man was out and the Beare dynasty had struck once again. The Launceston tail folded meekly, leaving wides the top scorer and a single batting point to show to Launceston for their efforts. All the bowlers chipped in for Gunnislake, in an excellent all round team performance.
And so the campaign was off to a winning start. From second in the league (based on alphabetical order), we rise to top, with the maximum 20 points from the match, while Launceston claim four. A good match played in great spirit, which is just as well, as the League format means we play each other four times this season!
Gunnislake 220 for 6 (A. Emmerson 81, Mill 33, J Organ 29n.o., K Beare 20; F Worth 2 for 29) Launceston 70 all out (J Organ 2 for 3, Pook 2 for 11, J Beare 2 for 29).
Gunnislake (20 points) beat Launceston III (4 points) by 150 runs.