Global warming is bad.
But not if you bat first in the early stages of the Cockspur Cup. Runs, runs and more runs were the order of the day as we saw records fall by the wayside.
In Group 3 Skelmanthorpe scored 422, the majority of which was scored by one man, Max Joice, with 234. Our researchers are hard at work in the ECB archives to see if this in fact an all-time record.
In Group 12 Osterley lost after scoring 297, Ickenham providing the successful chase with 301 and 8 balls to spare.
Tournament favourites Waltham were sensationally knocked out in the biggest giant killing of the first round by Buckingham Town, leaving Group 13 wide open.
On April 15, Clifton (Lancashire) hosted Newton-le-Willows in a very early curtain-raiser. Clifton batted first but there were no signs of rust as opener Q Malik made 102 and steered his side to a daunting 244-5. Newton-le-Willows were never in the hunt and with D Dempster taking 4-27, were dismissed for 118 giving Clifton victory by 126 runs.
Two more matches were played on Sunday April 22 including a high scoring match at Golbourne where Birkenhead Park scored 237-7 (T Hunter 74) and Golbourne opener D Tyrer played sheet anchor in reply, scoring an unbeaten 86. However the run chase fell 13 runs short with the last pair at the wicket.
Wavertree and Astley & Tyldesley were not quite so lucky with the weather. Astley & Tyldesley batted first and were bowled out for 98 with Ian Jenions (3-15) and Christopher Guy (3-23) doing the damage. Wavertree’s reply was rain affected and they reached their revised target of 77 in 14.2 overs to win by eight wickets.
Bridgewater, who played Bath in the last 16 in 2005, start this campaign at home to Clevedon. Group 11 sees an intriguing tie at Ventnor – for two years running, they have been denied promotion to the Southern League Premier Division due to their ground not meeting the required grading. They start their Cockspur Cup campaign with a home tie against Alton, a Premier Division side who include Paddy Heffernan, the Southern League Chairman, amongst their members.
In Group 14, Harold Wood have had to switch their tie to their opponent's ground at Southgate as their pavilion was burned down by vandals in October last year. Playing on a County out-ground may hopefully provide some consolation for the team at this difficult time.