Woking and Horsell 162 ao (45.2 overs), Addiscombe 128 ao (39.2 Overs)

The sound of leather on willow, the smell of talcum powder and the sight of a well upholstered Dale Winton lookalike could only mean one thing – that the cricket season is once more upon us.

After last year’s successful promotion to Surrey Championship Division Two Roger White’s side were hoping for an equally  efficacious start to 2013, something made especially important by the fact that the opponents were fellow promoted side Addiscombe.

After oiling his antiquated joints, skipper White went out to toss and after a predictable loss it was Woking & Horsell who were sent in to bat, with imposing opening duo Pete Day and Mark Worgan aiming to start the season explosively.

With Day and Worgan at the crease one would’ve expected some mid-May pyrotechnics, however the weather and some accurate bowling from Addiscombe opening bowlers Starnes and Mahajan left Woking’s batsmen indulging in block it  rather than rocket, with the promised early fireworks being more of a damp squib.

Still, with their patience holding Day and Worgan plodded through the early overs, building a good solid platform for what, with W&H’s strength packed middle-order, looked like it could be an impressive early season score.

Then minor disaster struck, as three wickets fell in quick succession, first Day, lolloping an ill-judged cut shot to cover,  then Worgan chipping a good length ball to mid-off and giving a  comfortable catch, with Pyle following the pair back to the pavilion, taking the home side from a promising 61-0 to 76-3.

This rather set the theme for the innings; dogged spade-work followed by mild disappointment. A description that the previous season could only have been applied to certain team members courting technique could now be applied to their batsmenship, with the disgruntled walk back from the middle replacing the lonely late night sojourn to the kebab shop.

Liam Monaghan, Angus Hargan, Indika Fernando and Aalok Jain all got starts before succumbing, as the innings faltered, with some crisp deliveries from Addiscombe spinner Barry Lineker gaining him five wickets and leaving W&H well short of the imposing target that seemed attainable early in the afternoon.

162 all-out and the disappointment in the dressing room was palpable, as memories of last season’s epic match at Addiscombe which saw Woking chase down 266, meant that Roger White’s team knew that a great performance with the ball and in the field would be required.

Free from oil change trouble this season Olly Guy opened the bowling with Fazli Hadi, with the combination of raw pace (Fazli) and left-arm swing and mad-eyed staring (Guy) troubling the Addiscombe openers Noble and Hurrion.

Guy beavered away and didn’t muff his chance of a break-through when the opportunity arose, as he produced a bit of wizardry from up his sleeve to dismiss Hurrion at slip and give his team the break-through.

Hadi then got in on the act, taking the second wicket with the score on only 32, however Noble, a veteran of last year’s stunning encounter frustrated the tiring opening pair and as the score passed 70 with no other breakthroughs, the game was getting away from the White’s boys.

To quote Sophocles, the Greek playwright rather than the clown from The Apprentice, “A man growing old becomes a child again”, and it was with a youth that belied their age that Woking and Horsell’s most venerable bowling partnership turned the game.

First French, resembling the “before” section of a just-for-men advert struck to make it 62-3, then White, the South African Fabrizio Ravnelli, saw for the danger man Noble after a catch from Jain.

Quickly it was 76-6, as French and White began to turn the key that would unlock Addiscombe’s resistance.  A run-out from Hadi and a third wicket for French ensured that despite a spirited effort from the Addiscombe tail, they never looked like attaining the 163 they needed to win, as muscle-man Liam Monaghan finished things off with a cheeky two wickets at the death.

All in all a good win for Woking and Horsell’s 2nd XI, one that was important given the opposition’s status as fellow newcomers to the division and doubly satisfying as it proved Roger White’s side’s ability to win when not at the absolute top of their game.

Top Batsman: Pete Day – 33

Top Bowler – Dave French 3-20

Champagne Moment – The return of the talc

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