England Deaf crash to MCC loss
After their wonderful exploits in Australia over the winter, the England Deaf team were brought crashing back down to earth in their first outing of the summer - a 109-run defeat to the MCC.
In the annual fixture which England Deaf have dominated in recent years, the hosts, who handed Jake Oakes and Sam Crichard debuts, lost their way with the ball after an encouraging morning session.
In sunny conditions at the picturesque Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, MCC batted first and rattled up a daunting 284 for six from their 50 overs.
The visitors' innings was built around Michael Foster's unbeaten century which saw him steadily accumulate before lunch before pushing through the gears as England Deaf began to wilt in the field.
Foster's innings aside, England Deaf did little to help themselves with five chances - some simple - going to ground.
There were some bright moments with the ball, however, notably James Dixon returning to claim two wickets and Paul Allen's economic 12 over spell down the hill which deserved more than 1-44.
In reply, England Deaf never looked like threatening despite Umesh Valjee carrying his bat for an unbeaten 75.
Recently crowned England Disability Cricketer of the Year, Valjee had not batted all season due to work and family commitments but showed little signs of any rust to survive a sharp burst from lively MCC seamer Jan Bothma.
If his innings was a virtue of watchfulness, his team-mates were perhaps guilty of some wayward strokes as they were eventually dismissed for 175.
Michael Weathersby and Dixon tried to add some late impetus but they both fell during the early evening rain.