HIMBLETON’S first foray into Worcestershire County League Division Two ended with a narrow defeat at home to Coombs Wood.
In a thrilling low-scoring encounter which swung one way and then the other, it was the visiting team’s relentlessly accurate seam attack which brought them victory by 30 runs.
Having won the toss, the Meadow Boys were beginning to rue the decision to put the visitors into bat as the score rattled to 90-2 from 22 overs when a rain delay forced the players off.
But this delay reinvigorated the hosts as Rob Perrins (3-56), Mike Rogers (3-13) and Jamie Alford (2-25) ran through the visitors’ batting line-up.
The trio’s accurate swing bowling was backed up by some fine fielding and Coombs Wood were finally dismissed for 142.
That gave Himbleton 47 overs to reach their target and they seemed very well placed at 73-2, thanks mainly to a controlled attacking innings from Rich Pretty (42).
However, in a mirror image of the first innings, the drinks break gave Coombs Wood renewed purpose and their seamers Naeem Abbas (5-29) and Wasim Ashiq (3-24) turned the screw with a nagging line and length supported by a tight ring of fielders.
The Meadow Boys could not regain the momentum of the first half of their innings and wickets fell regularly leaving them 30 short when the final wicket fell.
Himbleton skipper Stuart Dickenson said: “As predicted it was a tough introduction [to Division Two] and a tight game.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t get over the line but I’m very encouraged by the level of the team’s performance.
“The way we bowled against such a strong batting line up was really pleasing.
“Runs will be harder to come by at this level and it’ll be a steep learning curve but I’m absolutely confident we’ll improve week on week.
“Coombs Wood will be challenging for the title so on that basis it won’t be long before we start winning.”
Himbleton travel to Enville on Saturday.