HAVERFORD, Pa. - Coming off their first undefeated season since 1991, the prospects of a strong fall season for Haverford appeared to be bright. Though the departure of four graduating seniors was sure to be felt, Haverford could take confidence in the fact that Saturday's starting XI was made up of 10 players returning from the successes of the previous academic year.
After rain canceled the opening fixture against the British Officers Cricket Club, the in-form Fords were met by a strong visiting Columbia side. Despite the performances of the previous season, Haverford failed to continue the momentum into the new campaign and fell by 46 runs in the 30-over match played at Cope Field.
Columbia won the toss and elected to bat. First year Gulesh Shukla, on his debut for the College, took the new ball. Shukla was rewarded for the pace and accuracy of his deliveries with the first wicket of his Haverford career inside the first over, a quick good-length delivery catching the gloves of the Columbia opener and flying to the gloves of wicketkeeper Charlie Lynn.
The second wicket came in the seventh over with the introduction of co-captain Andrew Cornell. A poorly timed shot from the Columbia batsmen flew to co-captain Nathaniel Rolfe who took an easy catch at point. Despite a couple of missed opportunities, Haverford would have been pleased to restrict Columbia to 52-2 after the opening 15 overs. In the second half of the innings, wickets began to fall. Bowling success would be found for Ethan Flicker, Daniel Van Beveren, and Cornell, but Columbia's quickly picked up the pace of their batting, too.
On an afternoon to forget, the Haverford bowlers struggled to clamp down on unnecessary extras and several key fielding mistakes allowed Columbia to increase the run rate in the second half of their innings. Despite four wickets from Cornell and two from Flicker, Columbia finished their 30 overs at 149-8.
Haverford started their innings knowing a strong batting performance resembling those of the previous campaign would be needed to chase down Columbia's total, especially on the slow outfield of Cope Field. Rolfe and Jack Morgan were selected to open the batting for the home side.
Haverford started conservatively and Rolfe soon found himself caught behind for seven. His fellow captain Cornell entered at number three, but fell soon after, caught behind as well. Flicker came to the crease to help steady the batting after uncharacteristic early collapse from this Haverford side. Partnered well initially by Morgan who scored 16 runs before being bowled, Flicker continued to bat well as his partners in the middle quickly fell. Flicker's hard-fought 24 off 41 balls, a couple of strong shots from Malcolm Thompson and a powerful six from Emile Givental were the rare highlights from an overall disappointing day as Haverford were bowled out for 103 in 24.4 overs.
The following day's fixture was forfeited by the visiting Penn side. Haverford returns to action this Saturday against Temple and Sunday against the Penn Alumni XI. Both matches will begin at 12 p.m. at Cope Field.