Victoria Park Community League clubs get 2020 season underway
- Credit: Archant
The Victoria Park Community League started the 2020 season with a new format of 27 teams across four divisions and the cup abandoned for the first time since 1995.
Newly promoted Wapping Dolphins took on Bansko Bears in the curtain-raiser on a sun-drenched Friday evening, with ECB and league Covid-19 restrictions in place.
And after choosing to bat, the Dolphins saw skipper Dudley Spiers and Charlie Wright charge out of the traps with some quality strokeplay and fast running as the pair continued their form from last season.
Both retired out after fluent half-centuries and the Bears fought back with Giaco Bridget and Jared van de Berg taking a wicket apiece.
Sam Gilliat was caught on the boundary by Tom Curtis for 14 and Gibbins was trapped leg before for just three but Pete Baillie added much-needed late runs, hitting three fours and a six as he finished unbeaten on 29.
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Wapping Dolphins closed the first innings of the season with 185-2 and Bansko lost Olly Meikle early, after a slight nudge from his hand to the keeper Wright.
But another fine knock from Will Arnold, who had a fantastic 2019 season kept the Bears in the hunt as he finished unbeaten on 50, leaving the match perfectly poised.
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Curtis continued to threaten with a dogged 23 before being superbly run out by a direct hit from Bobby Watson and a crucial spell from Giliat removed Van de Berg for eight.
Matt Seddon dismissed Andrew Tate for five to leave the Bears facing an uphill battle and, despite some hefty smacks from Bridget (25) and an enjoyable 23 from skipper Chris Salter, they came up short on 162-4 ahead of a date with Homerton next week.
League secretary Gary Horseman said: “We’re so relieved to get the season underway and a little pleased with ourselves that our meticulous planning and lobbying behind the seasons over the last few months, has left us or fully prepared and ready to go.
“We’d like to thank the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Victoria Park management team and Middlesex Cricket for their support in getting the season up and running.”