The first XI entertained Marshfield at the SCG on Saturday and batted first in good conditions with a solid start seeing them to 64 before the first wicket fell. Good partnerships thereafter built the score well with Stroud’s bowlers finding it tough. Nabi Ahmadzai, close to his best with figures of 10 overs 1 for 31 prevented Marshfield from getting away properly. Nabi was well supported by Chris Job in the middle overs but it was a great display of death bowling from Mike Anderson, (8 overs 4 for 44) that kept Marshfield to 230-9 from their 50 overs. The chase began slowly with the loss of Callum Gegg early for just 9 but Taylor Ireland and Ewan Gegg got about the chase with a partnership of 50. Wickets in clusters continued to hinder the chase as Stroud slumped to 140-6 but then a brilliant partnership of 70 between Angus and Louis Gegg gave the home team hope. Louis fell in the penultimate over for 75 with the scores in the balance but then two more wickets in the over all but sealed Stroud’s fate. Ten were required in the last over with 9 wickets gone and Nabz managed six of the first two but confusion in the middle saw Gus run out with Stroud still needing three.
The second XI travelled to Witcombe for their start. On winning the toss they were advised to bat first by a magnanimous opposition so did just that. James Uys and Luke Benneyworth started positively until Uys nicked off for 18. This brought skip Tom Richings to the crease and he and Benneyworth continued well until the latter had one keep low and was lbw for 31. With drinks approaching Stroud stumbled somewhat, Jamies Lomax and Baldwin and Chris Smith all falling cheaply. Some lusty blows from Matt Smith got them back on track and with seven overs left Stroud passed 160 but with seven wickets down. Viv Menon (26) and Charlie Mead (12) saw them one run past the 200 off the 40 allotted overs. In reply, Witcombe never really got going with wickets falling steadily. Baldwin was the pick of the bowlers getting his first five-fer for Stroud and finishing on 8-1-28-5. The hosts were all out for 73.
The third XI welcomed neighbours Eastington and were sent into the field. They made quick progress initially, some wayward stuff from Kyle Laws and Joe Osborn helping them along the way. Aaron Collins did keep it tight at the other end but wickets were hard to come by. Even Sukesh Koshy pouching the usually prolific Will Beese for eleven failed to slow the runs. Nick Reynolds carried his bat well for 66, supported by Jay Patel (41) and Brian Wright (55). Kyle Laws’ excellent run out of Roger Beese helped matters. In reply Stroud started well with the evergreen Keith Daniels passing fifty with his opening partner Koshy. When they both fell (for 58 and 62 respectively) things slowed up markedly. Only Aaron Collins with 29 offered any resistance as Stroud came up seven runs short.
The fourths went to Hawkesbury and were soundly beaten in double-quick time. Only Cal Rainey (14), Brian Mercer (19) and Fred Barlow (20) made it into double figures as the visitors stumbled to 85 all out. In reply Hawkesbury knocked off the target for the loss of only two wickets with 19 overs remaining.
A brilliant all-round performance saw Stroud Ladies (124-2) beat Hawkesbury Upton (95-3) to get off to a winning start to the season. After losing the toss and and being asked to bowl a superb fielding display kept the home side’s score low whilst taking wickets. A strong opening partnership then laid the foundation for a convincing win. Notable performances were returned by Mopsey Voss (25 runs from 14 balls) and two wickets for Katherine Marchant.