As well as some notable individual performances in his team’s win against Dunmow, Braintree Cricket Club captain Nick Butler was pleased by the collective effort and sharpness of his players in their first outing of the season.
Braintree secured a 32-run win in their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship local derby, with a century for opening batsman Rob Jones and also a five-wicket haul for the skipper.
But as much as the stand-out displays, it was the way the whole team applied themselves that impressed Butler.
He said: “It’s great to see not only individual match-winning performances, which is what people talk about after the game but there were two or three different occasions, whether it be a catch or a great stop in the field, which changed the face of the game.
“That along with the character of the team was most impressive for me.
“I’m really happy to have got a win on the board first up.
“We’ve worked hard as a team to prepare for the season so it’s nice to see results of that straight away with some notable match-winning performances.”
Jones and fellow opener Warren Celiz put on a stand of 136 for the first wicket in the game and Butler said it is a partnership that he feels has the potential to do well this year.
He added: “It’s great to see them both do so well and they will be the root of any success we have this year as a positive and strong start is so important.
“They both play positively and have the ability to win a game so long may their partnership continue.
“It’s always good for confidence to get off to a good start and Rob batted exceptionally.
“Our whole top five have scored Two Counties centuries in the past so hopefully the rest of the boys can put in similar performances this year.
“I was pleased with how I bowled as well.
“I’ve worked hard over the winter on my consistency so it’s again nice to see some rewards for the efforts I have put in.”
Braintree now travel to Elmstead Grasshoppers on Saturday with a couple of important players set to come back into the squad.
Butler said: “We welcome Simon Jones and Barry Stephens back to the first this weekend.
“Both are big players for us this year, offering us depth in the batting but also very strong spin options.”