Taunton Cricket Club made the perfect start to their league season on Saturday when they thrashed Old Bristolians by 148 runs at Gypsy Lane.
Tom Abell started the season as he left off in 2013 with a well-made 62 at the top of the order, while his former schoolmate George Cook bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 47 at the death of the Taunton innings.
Skipper Jack Cooper helped himself to a four-wicket haul in his first game in charge and there were also a pair of wickets apiece of Cook and debutant Graham Fitt.
On Sunday, vice-captain Ben Orr was nursing a slightly sore head but still managed to hail a fantastic all-round team performance.
"A fantastic start to the new season. Really chuffed for all the guys as it has been a while since we started the first game of the season with a win," he said.
"With a number of debutants in the side this victory really is the perfect spring board for our league season.
"Special mention to the performances of George Cook, Tom Abell, the skipper and this year’s overseas Chris Davenport, who seems to have settled really well.
"Hopefully we can take this momentum into week two at Knowle, and then beyond."
Captain Cooper’s reign got off to the worst possible start when he lost the toss and saw debutant George Webber removed for a duck with no score on the board.
But that was the to be worst of the afternoon for the hosts as Abell and Australian Davenport set about rebuilding the innings on slightly greener than usual Gypsy Lane pitch.
The pair made batting look easy considering the extremely wet weather that had around for the past couple of weeks, as they added 80 runs for the second wicket, and it was perhaps a touch surprising when Davenport fell to Rupert Swetman for a well-made 44 on debut.
Abell brought up his half-century before departing for a handy 62, but with skipper Cooper (12), Si Stewart (12) and Rob Hake (14) all perishing as they looked to up the run rate, the home side’s innings needed some late impetus at 156 for six with eight overs to go.
And that is exactly what they got from distance runner Cook who struck a couple of lusty blows on way to 47 not out to leave Taunton with a respectable 216 for eight at the halfway stage.
The home side carried this momentum into the second innings as they blew away their opponents who managed to muster little more than a whimper in response.
Cook (2-14) and Abell (1-11) took the new ball and quickly had OBs reeling at 30 for three before Cooper introduced himself into the attack and ripped through the middle order.
Taunton’s skipper helped himself to an impressive four for 11, dismissing his opposite number James King when 'veteran' wicket-keeper and part-time philosopher Jon Kerslake rolled back the years to take a superb one-handed grab diving away to his right.
At 37 for seven the game was over as a contest, but there was still time for debutant number three Graham Fitt to make his mark with a pair of late wickets, while Matt Dare also got in on the act to dismiss the visitors for 68.
This was an unusually limp showing for the boys from Bristol, but that should not detract from a magnificent showing by the home side.
A 148-run win was certainly the perfect start to the season for the Taunton outfit, but they are sure to face much sterner tests than this as the weeks go by.
© Cricket World 2014