Minch started life in the GCCL Division 5 with an away trip to Gloucester and embarked on a close game against Upton St Leonards
Skipper Pete Wallis won the toss and chose to bowl on what was a naturally damp but nonetheless good looking wicket. Wallis led from the front along with veteran John Turton with his slow left arm at the other end. Opener Allen (26) found things easy going early on hitting a few boundaries. However Turtons quicker ball got through and bowled him and Minch applied the pressure. Turton got another quick wicket of skipper Ridley for 5 and the veterans 9 overs went for just 18 runs, miserly as ever. Opener Harkin stuck around for a while, but the run rate dropped considerably as Minch applied extra pressure through second change bowlers Marcus Cole and Jaime Waring. Cole had Dwight LBW for 8 and Waring removed Harkin (30) with a slower ball, well caught by Pete Raphael. Minch sensed hope of a low score, but number 5 Nixon had other ideas and went on a counter attack. With 1 particularly short boundary he hit numerous well struck 4’s and 6’s as Minch toiled slightly. But he couldn’t find a regular batting partner and Dave Gordon was persistent from the top end and took 2 wickets, including finally Nixon for a very well played 68. Cole got his 2nd wicket and a mix up led to an unusual run out by Dave Cruickshank as Minch clawed it back at the end, debut man Hamish Stopp also taking a sharp catch on the fence. Wallis returned to tighten things up, and was unlucky not get a wicket. USL finished with 169 for 9 from their 45 overs, Turton 2 for 18 and Cole 2 for 20 the pick of the Minch bowlers.
In reply Minch knew that a steady approach of careful batting would get them home. So used to 40 over cricket of the Stroud league, the extra 5 overs gave Minch more hope of reaching what appeared a tricky but reachable total. Openers Alex Waring and Dave Gordon, so effective last season, started where they left off building a 31 partnership from 7 overs. But Gordon got a low ‘grubber’ and was bowled for 8. The experienced Pete Raphael at no.3 looked in fine form, putting away 2 early fours before stepping across his stumps to be undone LBW by young Ridley. A partnership pf 46 between Waring and Ross Britton steadied the ship for Minch, Britton (19) also looking fluent at the crease before getting a fine Yorker from Ridley senior. When Alex Waring departed for a solid 42 again to Ridley LBW, Minch looked to young duo Aussie Hamish Stopp and Will Price to guide them home. They added 20 quick runs before Stopp was cleaned up for 13. Price played his usually hard hitting role, combined with some excellent running between the wickets. Jaime Waring at 7 provided some support and the 2 added 30 for the 6th wicket. But with the target in sight at 159 for 5, Minch lost 3 quick wickets. Price a very well played 33, Marcus Cole 1st ball and Dave Cruickshank for 1. With the light fading and USL sensing some hope, pressure was on, but Turton and Waring saw things home, Waring guiding the ball to the boundary for a win by 2 wickets and 3 overs to spare. A tough but enjoyable start to the County League campaign for Minch, but a game played in great spirits throughout.