SWINDON skipper Liam Tucker rued losing his first toss of the new Glos/Wilts Division season, as Biddestone took maximum advantage of a correct call and seam-friendly conditions to lay the groundwork for a six-wicket victory at the County Ground.
After plenty of rain 24 hours before the contest, the sides were welcomed by a lush playing surface in SN1 and both Tucker and his Biddestone counterpart James Mitchell were desperate to get the ball in the hands of their paceman first up.
As it was, Mitchell won the coinflip and watched his swing bowlers reap the rewards. Naeem Khan bowled 10 overs for just 11 runs, taking Paul Paginton’s wicket early on, while Dwaine Perry finished with astonishing figures of 4-0 from the 35 deliveries he sent down to a Swindon middle order that struggled to adjust.
The hosts were dismissed for 114 inside 43 overs, as Jake Goodwin top scored with 26, before Niel Bredenkamp’s unbeaten 46 propelled Biddestone to victory with 14 overs to spare.
“It was a bit of a baptism of fire, to be honest. We turned up against one of the better bowling attacks in the league and unfortunately the coin came down wrong and we were sent in to bat,” said Tucker afterwards.
“Obviously, with all the rain we had last week, it was a rather damp pitch and was rather difficult for batting in the first innings. The game was probably affected quite a bit by the toss of the coin but Biddestone bowled well. They bowled in decent areas and made things difficult for us so 114 was never going to be enough.”
Of the phenomenal spells bowled by Khan and Perry, Tucker said: “They both bowled from the top end and conceded very few runs. Dwaine’s figures were outstanding, to be honest, when you look at them - there’s not much you can say about four for nought. They speak for themselves.
“They bowled very good areas and made life very difficult for every single one of our batters. We never came up with a plan against it.”
While it was a frustrating way to start the new campaign, Tucker could still pick out positives from his side’s performance, including figures of 2-24 from 10 overs on debut from Matt Kidd.
“Matt was making his league debut and he was very decent with the ball. He came back in his second spell and got us an extra couple of points towards the end, which is good. At least we were scrapping around for the points,” said Tucker.
“I don’t think the problem was with the ball. We bowled in reasonable areas and if we’d taken the innings the other way round, they’d have been 114-4 in 30 overs and we’d have probably taken that. We just never got enough runs with the bat to compete. There were positives to take out of it. We got two or three of their better batters out and we’d have taken that if we were bowling first.”