MOTTISFONT made a winning start to the new season with a good team performance at Bengers Lane last Saturday.

The visitors, who were relegated from Division 2 last season, won the toss and invited their hosts to bat first. After ten overs, with the score on 13 for 2, their decision appeared to be spot on.

Richard Blake joined Paul Fielder and they batted with maturity beyond their years as the score advanced to 83 before Blake (19) was caught.

They had wrested the initiative from the bowlers, and played shots all round the wicket, but the lush outfield prevented many worthy strikes from reaching the boundary.

Graham Collins (20) kept the momentum going, and after Fielder left for an excellent 65, the later batsmen ensured the team pressed on to secure vital batting points.

Making his Saturday debut for the Font, Darryl Evans hit the shot of the innings - a massive six, to the admiration of his colleagues - in his cameo knock of 18.

When they closed, on 184 for 8, Mottisfont knew they had set a challenging target, with many varied bowling options available on a pitch that was always giving the bowlers some assistance.

The Barnes brothers - Neil (3 for 15) and David (2 for 38) - settled into their usual stride, bowling with venom, and were richly rewarded. They removed the top order, all clean bowled, to leave Tadley on 36 for 5 with less than fifteen overs gone.

"Rubber" Lawrence then joined the attack, and his miserly style added to the visitors' woes. He took 4 for 17 off 11.3 overs, which included five maidens.

Peter Southwell bowled a couple of overs of spin, capturing a wicket through a smart stumping from keeper Kevin Barnes.

While skipper Ian Bradwell will have taken much encouragement from this victory, he knows that one or two new faces, preferably youthful ones, are needed. The absence of a second eleven and the varying work commitments of his players means that team selection will be a constant challenge this season.