New Captain sees Firsts off to a flying start - MSN CC 1st XI (162–5) Knowle CC 1st XI (160)

By Leah Smith in Cricket

Midsomer Norton got their season off to a winning start as new Captain, Nick Pang, put in a match-winning performance.

Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl, Pang was miserly with the ball and brutal with the bat in an accomplished five wicket victory over Knowle at Withies Lane. Chasing 161 for victory, Pang scored at better than a run-a-ball for his first half century of the season, supported by opener, Dean Clifton.

Pang opened the bowling with his accurate off-spin, taking 1–21 in ten overs to ensure Knowle’s batsmen were unable to settle early. Paired with former Captain, Nick Potter, with the new ball, the bowlers took a wicket apiece in the opening ten overs, reducing the visitors to 34–2. Chris Hampshire and Martin Cox then got in on the wicket taking act, before New Zealand leg-spinner, Ben Strang, took two wickets in three balls, both caught by Potter at slip.

Abhishek Patel was the lone form of resistance in the Knowle line-up. He batted patiently as men fell around him, scoring 58 from seventy balls before being bowled by Niel Brooks late on, as he attempted to accelerate. The final three wickets fell for just twelve runs.

Chasing 161 for victory, Alex Lear found the middle of his bat frequently in the opening overs, driving to the boundary as if facing a bowling machine. When he fell to a superb return catch by seamer, Oliver Haynes, for 25, Norton tumbled to 59–4 in a middle order collapse. The calming influence of opener, Dean Clifton, guided the home side to the edge of victory, scoring 58 from 78 balls. Clifton took his time to get an understanding of the wicket and it paid off, as two big sixes onto the clubhouse roof eased tensions for Norton. He fell trying one lofted drive too many, but by then Norton were within a sniff of victory. Pang was at his aggressive best in scoring an unbeaten 54 from 41 balls, sending any poor bowling rocketing towards the rope. It made for a perfect start to Pang’s tenure as Captain.

Following last weekend’s opening day victory at Withies Lane, Midsomer Norton Cricket Club’s First XI face a trip to Old Bristolians Westbury this Saturday. On the same day, the Second XI and Third XI will be searching for a first win of the season in home fixtures against Lodway and Bohemians respectively. Both games start at 1.30 p.m. The Sunday XI, looking to start the season with three wins in a row, have a home fixture against Hampset, starting at 2 p.m.

Charlie Matthews