Woking and Horsell won a thrilling game last Saturday at home to Epsom to push them up to 6th in the table with 4 games left. Having lost the toss and been asked to field on the warmest Saturday of the season, Woking were made to spend the afternoon chasing the ball around as the opposition batsmen took advantage of an excellent batting pitch at Brewery Road.

With the stifling heat and 3 of the seam bowling attack fasting for Ramadan skipper Damien Honey rotated his bowlers in short spells. This initially worked as Shazad Hussain picked up both openers in a 4 over burst before John Hargan and Honey picked up the vital wickets of Moore and Hudson, the latter to a brilliant one handed diving catch from Phil West. The game was nicely poised at 86 for 4 at the midway point and Woking tried to press home their narrow advantage by bringing the opening bowlers back into the attack to get into the tail. However, Epsom only lost 1 wicket in this time as Berry fell to Hussain and their overseas star Chandarsekera started to counter attack, despite a painful blow to where it hurts the most which left both sides in fits of unsympathetic laughter!

He received good support from Collin as the pair put on 80 for the 6th wicket before Honey removed them both in successive overs. The tail wagged for Epsom, scoring at a run a ball before Hargan returned to mop up the tail and finish with 3 wickets alongside Honey’s 3 and Hussain’s 4 wickets.

250 was the target set for Woking, a pretty stiff one considering their inability to chase scores over 120 this season, indeed it was double their previous highest 2nd innings score. The run chase almost got the disastrous start as Sammy Managei was dropped 2nd ball. Extra’s however, got off to a good start with a plethora of 5 wides and early boundaries saw Woking race to 44 off the first 5 overs. Unfortunately during this time both Managei and Jan Kreder had persished.

Hargan joined Toby Green and the pair put together what was probably Woking’s finest partnership of the season. Hargan’s innings was delightfully paced as after a slow start, he accelerated past Green and passed 50. With the score on 150, Green fell to Somerford for 42 and Tim Keene joined Hargan on his return to the 1st XI.

The pair put on 40 good runs before falling in successive balls to Honess and when Sharaz Hussain fell next over it looked like Woking’s run chase had fallen to pieces at 190 for 6 with 10 overs left and 60 still required.

However, with Qais Nawaz at the crease, anything is possible and after a couple of overs to play himself and despite feeling light headed from fasting, he found time to smash 3 sixes in an over off Collin. Giles Green stuck around for 7 overs and the pair bought the score within 14 of victory, but Epsom still had one last card to play. Chandrasekera returned for his final 2 overs of his allotted 10 and removed Green, Hussain and Honey in just 4 balls. With only West to bat nursing a broken finger the game looked up.

Nawaz then played his game changer, smashing a six which was still rising as it passed the surrounding street. 5 runs were required for victory in the last over with Chandrasekera the bowler. 3 singles were scrambled off the first four balls and before a dot on the 5th ball. However, with the field in West defied the pain to stroke the off spinner through the outfield and scramble the 2 runs for victory amidst delirious scenes amongst team mates and supporters to complete Woking and Horsell’s biggest run chase in over 15 years.

Honey was naturally delighted after the game, “It feels like we’ve stolen a victory to be honest, but we all know what Qais is capable of when he gets in. We’ve chased modest targets terribly this season but in a strange way we relaxed and played naturally but aggressively because the target was larger than we are used to. I’m delighted for John to score his first 50 for us in such a good win will boost his confidence and he is starting to show the promise that we all knew that he had. Such is the way this season has gone though, we are still looking over our shoulder at relegation and we lose 6 players for next week’s crunch game against Churt. However, a win would see us reach safety.”

Meanwhile at Streatham and Marlborough, Woking and Horsell 2nd XI secured their second successive promotion with their 11th win in 11 games this season, a truly remarkable record.

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