HAVERFORD, Pa. – After some initial difficulties, Haverford's exceptional batting performances carried the Fords to a convincing victory in their 25-over season opener against Germantown Cricket Club.
The Fords were on the field first, with sophomore all-rounder Gulesh Shukla and co-captain Daniel Van Beveren opening the bowling. The swing bowling tandem was then followed by the scintillating paceman Malcolm Thompson and co-captain Kaito Nakatani, before being rounded out by the bowling debutant Emile Givental.
Haverford got off to a great start in the first few overs after Nakatani, displaying his usual defensive prowess, took a brilliant catch at point. Nevertheless, the Fords labored their way throughout the remainder of the first half of the innings as they found it difficult to keep extras at bay.
The early struggles did not impact the Fords too much, however, as they quickly regained momentum after Germantown's third batsman edged a brutish bouncer from Thompson straight into the safe hands of wicketkeeper Matthew Leibold. Haverford then swept past the middle of the Germantown order with series of catches taken from first-year Samuel Monks—making his debut for the college—at mid-on, returning senior Zachary Cho at mid-off, and Thompson at slips.
With wickets falling in quick succession and Haverford's now-focused bowling giving the opposition very little to hit, Germantown was intent on getting runs on the board through taking risky singles, but Haverford's infield remained resolute, particularly with another debutant in Simon Babb and sophomore James Garland pulling off a slew of excellent short-range stops to keep Germantown at bay. Germantown ended its innings at a total of 129 for six wickets.
After the break, co-captains Van Beveren and Nakatani opened the chase for the Fords. The technically-sound duo demonstrated why they were slated as openers as they showed great discipline at the crease, masterfully executing defensive shots on good bowling while capitalizing on bad deliveries to give the Fords a steady stream of runs. Nakatani would be eventually dismissed in the fifth over by one of Germantown's opening bowlers for a total of seven.
Leibold then joined the in-form Van Beveren in the middle, and the two seniors were able to successfully pick the gaps between the Germantown fielders. The partnership got the Fords up to a total of 58 before Leibold was caught on a cut to covers.
The floodgates later opened for Haverford as the power-hitting Givental was introduced to the fray. Givental, well-known for his ability to hit boundaries with ease, made the most of Germantown's spin-heavy bowling, demolishing short-length deliveries well beyond the boundaries of Cope. Givental and Van Beveren brought the run total to 118, before Van Beveren's brilliant day of batting was cut short when he edged a ball right to the wicketkeeper of Germantown.
However, the Fords' red-hot batting performance was to continue, as Thompson replaced Van Beveren and provided additional power at the center. Thompson tied the game at 129 with a six and saw out the last delivery that failed to find the line, sealing a well-deserved victory for Haverford in just 20 overs.
This opening day victory will be a great boost of confidence for the Fords, especially after the departure of five graduating seniors that had made a great impact to the team.
Haverford will carry this momentum to its historic derby against Penn on Sunday, in a match scheduled to start at Cope Field at 12 p.m.