On a warm May afternoon the 3XI travelled to a welcomed close fixture in Ansty.
The debut toss did not go as planned for skipper Bushell as he failed to call correctly and got put into bat on a soft wicket.
Racking his brain to work out his batting lineup he first called on Jon Platt and Rich Gacsall to open up the innings. A steady start insured to some tight bowing from Abbott and Herbert kept the run rate in check and finally got the breakthrough in the 18th over with Platt (32) getting a bit edgy on a big shot skying to point. 64-1 off 18. Platt displayed patience in his innings putting away the rare bad balls with some nice cover drives. Rich had struggled to find his timing and normal aggressive strokeplay on the slower wicket but was still hanging around.
Drinks came and went with the score now 74-1 (a good start considering the wicket and the depth of batting to come). Jordan Cornford had joined Rich at the crease was starting to look the aggressor hitting a nice 6 before playing one big shot too many like Platt falling to the cut shot. Aaron Lockwood joined Rich and started a bit slowly struggling to find his timing and getting used to the low bounce. Rich brought up his 50 with a succession of some 4's and 6's finally finding his groove.
When Rich Finally fell for a well earned 66 in the 32nd over with the score on 135 the target was set by the skipper for the remaining batsmen to get to 175 in the remaining overs to set a very challenging target for Ansty to chase.
Skipper Bushell came and went without troubling the scorers for a captains innings, frustrated he went back to willing on the remaining batsmen and Aaron who was now finding his stride, he brought up his 50 in the penultimate over a very good knock for a very talented young cricketer, also helping to get to a final score of 185-6 off the 40 overs.
Aaron (51) topped of a top innings by getting red ink as well.
A superb tea was enjoyed by all but the task at hand now was taking to the field and looking to defend a good target.
Sagar opened the bowling with a very loose 4 ball (the WD40 obviously not fully loosening him up) however it didn't take him long to strike ... 3 balls to be exact breaking through the defences of opener Jarvis.
St. Andrews debutant Luke Norris complimented Sagar with some tight overs and both bowlers were unlucky not to pick up further wickets.
Bushell replaced Norris and picked up the 2nd wicket in his 2nd over ending 6 overs 1 wicket for 17 runs. This might have been more if he as skipper was to be foolish enough to have 3 slips in place with 3 out of 4 genuine edges falling out of the reaches of Platt in the slips and Aaron Behind the stumps.
Cornford had replaced Sagar and struggled to find his line and length in his first 2 overs.
Knowing that he might need to find additional overs from somewhere the skipper made the bold move to take off Cornford (just after he found his rhythm in his 3rd over) and brought on Platt for some spin before drinks, with the fielding restrictions in place it was a very bold move indeed. After the first over going for 12 runs it looked like the gamble may not have paid off however in Platt's second over he moved to his more normal round the wicket action and started tying up the in form batsman pushing him back and back and back so much he...despite middling the shot he also middled off stump as well with a stroke of luck for the fielding side but an unfortunate stroke of luck for Chapman (42) who had to head back to the pavilion.
Drinks were taken and at 72-3 the game was still evenly poised with St Andrews only being 2 runs and 2 wickets ahead at the same point in their innings.
Like much of last season Aaron dropped his gloves and gave a bit more added youth and athleticism in the field with the anticipation of having a bowl as well, unlike last season Bushell didn't don the gloves for this game leaving it to the more experienced Platt, with Bushell still in the bowling attack and more overs left to bowl (despite Platt(2 overs 1 for 15) taking the key wicket)
Much to the surprise of everyone Bushell didn't bowl himself out and brought back the threatening Norris for his second spell, starting where he left off he looked to take his first wicket for the club however luck was not on his side as a couple of chances were dropped and fell short and wide of players.
Cornford had resumed from his end after the drinks break and Platt's mini spell, he threatened with some late in duckers that were kept out by the opposition batsmen.
Lockwood had now replaced Norris (8 overs 0 for 31) who got targeted by Layton (39) and immediately brought in some excellent line and length bowling. He was the bowler for both run outs who kept a cool head to take the bails from excellent pieces of fielding from Jason Charlton and Jamie Smith respectively.
The pressure put on by all fielders caused the batsmen to push for extra runs which proved costly for them.
Bushell for most of the innings kept a ring field inside the circle to cramp up space for runs and to risk the big shots on a low slow surface. Only towards the back end of the innings were sweepers put out to prevent the boundaries from the heavy hitters.
In-between the two run outs Lockwood struck himself, another shuffle in the field this time saw the right man at the right place as the Lefty Mullins (8) tried for a lofted on drive that landed safely into Charlton's mitts for the first catch of the innings after a couple of attempts.
Cornford (9 overs 2 for 34) finished off his spell by bowling 2 excellent inswinging full balls that removed the dangerous looking Layton and Peberdey. With Cornford bowled out Bushell had another decision to make, did he bring himself on that had been relatively inexpensive, did he bring on Jason Charlton to try and spin the tail out, or did he go with his gut and go with the immense experience of Sagar...But in-between the end of Cornford's final over
Of course it was Sagar and with like his first over of the innings he struck with his first and final over of his second spell with a great catch taken high over the head of sub fielder (Jim Platt) at fly slip, any other fielder there and it would have gone flying for another boundary.
A chat ensued between Bushell and Sagar (5 overs 2 for 17) as he looked tired but he as always was willing to bowl that just one more, but a quick chat with Lockwood asked him to pick up the final wicket so he didn't have to bowl another over.
And with that Lockwood stepped up bowled just 2 balls of that over taking a wonderful diving catch away to his right finishing on figures of 3.2 overs 2 for 10 runs
Ansty fell short by 45 runs due to some excellent bowlers and 100% commitment in the field chasing every ball and not giving up and putting their bodies on the line to stop the ball getting past them and as skipper that's all i can ask for.
A good contested game played in good spirits on a nice sunny May bank holiday weekend.