Winter is certainly not coming. In fact, it could not have been further away on the hottest day of 2019 as Reed’s 2nd XI travelled away to Sawbridgeworth. It was a pre-league friendly raising the curtain on a new season.

The hosts elected to bat first on the impressive looking square, but it was a decision that looked misguided after Sawbridgeworth’s opener fell fourth ball to a diving catch by wicket-keeper Marcus J.E. Baker off the bowling of Karl Ward. After a slight re-building effort, the second wicket, again caught by Baker this time off Rupert Martin, saw a collapse as Martin then claimed his second wicket next ball thanks to Stuart Smith’s catch as well as Alex Kelly also taking two in quick succession, one LBW and another making Baker’s third catch.

Were it not for Oakes (104) then the hosts would have been far off course. As it was, his aggressive innings later supported by Black (34) took his side to 181 all out in the 35th over. Reed captain Matt Bowles claimed 3 wickets including that of Oakes athletically caught at slip by the ever-green veteran Peter Baker. Julien Fynn was the other performer with the ball, taking two wickets, both bowled.

Reed’s response started in the worst possible way with a wicket falling to the first ball followed by the loss of Marcus Martin to a one-in-a-million catch. Rob Willoughby played a dogged innings and waited for the right balls to dispatch making 57. But none the less some good bowling by Sawbo tied Reed down. A spirited innings of 51 by M.J.E. Baker lower down the order gave a bit of life to the chase but it was still not enough as Reed lost by 36 runs.

Report submitted by MJEB.