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Doctors beat Sedgemoor Unison by 5 wickets
Unison 45 all out

Doctors 46 for 5

Hope once again triumphed over experience as these two hardy perennial teams braved a cold, grey evening at the start of another season.

Bridgwater Doctors had declined to join their colleagues from Weston-Super-Mare in taking strike action on May 1st but their strike bowlers were less inhibited on May 2nd and gleefully took advantage of a desperately damp pitch affording lavish movement off he seam and unpredictable bounce. Unison chose to bat first and made a purposeful start with 12 runs from the first 11 balls, but from the 12th Gary Stone, who had looked in ominous early season form, pulled Mike Smart straight into the safe hands of Steve Witts at square leg. The top order batsman then suffered a nightmare as Sam Powell kept a vice-like grip on scoring from one end and Smart blew them away at the other. Batsman after batsman perished to injudicious cross-batted strokes as the fielders held the catches and Smart returned figures of 5 for 14 - his best analysis for the Doctors. There was no respite for the visitors when the change bowlers came on as Witts took on the Powell role and Peter Reed (3-5) emulated Smart. Brian Buckhurst had an almost faultless game behind the stumps, standing up to all of the bowlers, and effected a lightening fast stumping to dismiss the dangerous Duncan Harvey. The only Unison batsman to reach double figures was G.Hake (10) but he could find no one to stay with him and his was the penultimate wicket to fall. Jeremy Budd made a promising debut in a new role as an off spinner and although Dan Rich (2-3) was left with little to do he removed the last two batsmen with the minimum of fuss in just 9 balls.

The target of 46 was by no means straightforward as Stone began bowling big, hostile off cutters and removed Keith Powell’s off stump in the first over. When Phil Barker was run out, looking for a non-existent single in the next over, Doctors were 0 for 2. Stone (1-2) and Nigel Osborne maintained an impressive line and length and when Osborne (1-10) bowled Budd in the 8th over the home side were struggling at 14 for 3. Worse was to follow when Charles MacAdam was run out by an excellent direct hit from cover point and Buckhurst unluckily played on to Steve Rybaruk ((1-11) and the game hung in the balance at 23 for 5. The stand that decided the contest was between Dave Rooke and Sam Powell who demonstrated the virtues of playing straight, hitting the ball hard and running well between the wickets. So emphatic was their performance that there were 3 overs in hand when Powell (10 n.o.) hit the winning run. Rooke’s 18 not out would have been worth many more on an easier pitch.