Bird takes flight as Scott's men make it 2 from 2
Ivey also bags 5'fer in 5 wicket win
The 2nd XI, now under the leadership of new skipper Aaron Scott after Brad Winsley led a team of renegades to an opening day win, made it 2 from 2 with a confident win in the leafy and on this occasion drizzly suburbs of Chelmsford.
Once again the 2's seam attack looked threatening on a damp wicket, Danny Gillham and Daryl Forward taking the new ball, Forward looked sharp until a twinge forced him out of the attack, but his burly partner had no such injury worries and on the back of 4 wickets last week, Gillham unleashed some early pent up rage following Fullham's 7th successive unsuccessful playoff game (how sweet was the 8th...?).
The early wicket of Lynn was Gillham's reward, but after some heavier rain, a slippery seam led to some ill-directed bowling and the home batsmen started to get on top, Farrow and Fisher starting to time the ball nicely.
A rain break came at the right time for Scott's men and after the resumption, the bespectacled bossman turned to the off-spin of Winsley and the 57 varieties of Ivey on a pitch that had started to grip. That turned out to be an inspired move, as Winsley quickly picked up Fisher for 26 and new man (another Lynn) was snared immediately by Ivey.
There are few better bowlers at this level once there's a scent of a batting collapse and Ivey was at his shark-like best as he ran through the middle order on his way to 5-42, Winsley providing fine support with 2-41 as Broomfield lurched from 68-1 to 128-9.
There was also a wicket for seamer Lee Jones, who bowled an exemplary linie und länge on his seasonal bowling bow and with Gillham returning knock over the last man, the 2's were chasing 139 to win.
With conditions becoming difficult for the bowling team, Scott and Alfie Boland unveiled some attractive strokes to proceed to 39-0, however both fell in short succession and when Danny Gillham jnr fell to a 'worldie' at mid-off, the wheels could well have fallen off at 54-3.
They didn't however as Afzal Hussain returned to the fray after a couple of year's absence and looked like he'd never been away, driving the fielding team to distraction with his wide range of scoring strokes as usual largely unveiled at a ratio of 1 shot to 1 ball faced.
At the other end the diminutive Hussain was joined by the statuesque figure of MLP Bird, who rumour had it had been netting intensively with one of his barristers. If that rumour was true (and we are talking here about a man who considered walking to the shops twice as training for the London marathon) then the hard yards paid off, as Birdy looked as good as he has in years. Probably ever.
Hussain's 46 from 45 balls (true to form he got out after 5 successive dots) saw the team to within sight of the line and although Billy Chapman's seasonal reappearance lasted 4 balls and 0 runs, Bird was not to be denied, an innings featuring scoring shots to all parts ending on an unbeaten 41 from 35 balls, as the 2's got home off the 4th ball of the 24th over.
Scott's men move on to play another team with a 100% record, Little Baddow 1's, at M&B next week and despite a likely Gillham count of nil, the 2's look to be a match for anyone at the lower level after their relegation from Division Two last season.