GROVES skipper Mike Caulfield saw his ‘undercooked’ team fall to defeat in the opening game of the 2013 season.
The Ellesmere Pot outfit lost by three wickets to promoted Sandbach in Division Three of the TACS Partnership Cheshire League on Saturday.
Visitors Sandbach responded with 147-7 after The Groves had made 145-9.
New skipper Caulfield admitted his players had not quite been fully prepared for the start of the new campaign.
He said: “We were probably a little undercooked pre-season and it showed a bit.
“We were up with our targets in the first innings but lost our way a little in the middle overs and looked a bit rusty with the bat. But we put a score on the board and I wasn’t too disappointed with 145.
“There are positives to take, such as how much effort the lads put in and I’m really pleased with that.”
Groves lost the toss and were asked to bat. Mike Garvey (52) opened up with new signing Nick Woods (1), who was soon joined in the pavilion by Martin Flanagan (0).
Nick Brimble (11) and Garvey added 57 for the third wicket and some useful late runs were added by Damian Walters (16no) and Tom Garratt (12) as Groves reached 145-9 off their 45 overs.
After tea, Groves had Sandbach stuttering at 71-5. Flanagan (3-42) got his third wicket to make it 109-5 but Sandbach had enough to get over the line and claim the win.
The Groves are away to Disley on Saturday (1.30pm).
Capenhurst picked up 20 points at Rostherne in Division Three of the Cheshire Alliance. Winning the toss and bowling first, Capenhurst bowled Rostherne out for 57.
They then knocked the runs off for the loss of just one wicket.