Nestled behind hedges along a country lane on the outskirts of the village, the Braishfield ground is one of the more rustic in the calendar. Newport Inn CC has a proper village feel as well. They’re a welcoming lot. They won the toss and fielded first. Rishi and Guy came out firing. Rishi retired on 26, hitting three fours and a definitive 6 to finish; Guy made a good-looking 19 before being caught. The Skipper and Bard put on another 30: the Bard was caught behind off the bowling of a certain Jack Corbett, better known to The Racqueteers as the Prof; the Skipper batted with typical judicious aplomb and held onto his wicket. Extras, though, were the highest scorer, with 35 – wides counting two apiece. It’s one of the likeable aspects of the club: they give all their players a chance.
Newport’s reply was positive, their opening bat finding the boundary too easily for comfort and retiring on 25. Their numbers two and three scored 20 and 8 off just 12 and 13 balls respectively. Tom Talks took an excellent caught and bowled, and finished with excellent figures of 1 for 6; the Bard took revenge on the Prof by catching him at point, off Doctor Chris’s focused and economical bowling. It felt as if The Racqueteers might close Newport out, but a succession of late boundaries from their numbers 5 and 6 had our fielders in the deep diving and chasing too often in vain, and they passed our total with just two overs in hand.
An competitive but very amicable match was followed by a convivial drink – not in the famous Newport Inn, alas, which has been closed for ten years, since the death of its renowned landlady, but in the Wheatsheaf.