Woking and Horsell 234 (50 Overs). Worcester Park 235 (47.3 Overs)

So after a morale boosting season opening win it was off on the road in week two for Woking and Horsell’s 2nd XI, that road being the A3 to be specific, a road embedded with the tire rubber of generations of Woking cricketers off to do battle in the wilds of South London, in this case Worcester Park.

A much changed side from week one saw former two’s stalwart Jamie Williams return to the side with Shiraz Hussain, who was ruled out from last week’s curtain-raiser through injury. Hussain and Williams’ return meant two things; the renewal of successful batting and bowling partnerships from years gone by, and a preponderance of beautiful, if impractical sports cars.

Also joining the side this week were seamer Jonny Ayling and batsman Vaibhav Bhade, as skipper Roger White aimed to bolster a side missing Liam Monaghan, Aalok Jain, Fazli Hadi and Will Pyle from week one.

White is nothing if not predictable when it comes to his tossing habits, and after calling wrong Mark Worgan and Williams donned their pads to open the batting.

Having formed a successful partnership of contrasts in the past, the W&H opening pair begun their partnership like they’d never been apart, with Williams taking to 2nd XI cricket once more with the ease of a Geordie asked to go twelve rounds with Kauto Star.

Worgan, despite testing Worcester Park’s catching skills early on, raced away as the pair took the score to 81-0.

Again there was a failure to build on a promising start as Williams (34) succumbed LBW to medium-pacer Chris Turner and Vaibhav Bhade quickly followed, edging to slip for 0.

With the loss of two wickets it should’ve been the time to knuckle down and dig in, but Worgan couldn’t resist the urge to attempt to bring up his fifty with a maximum, caught in the deep for 45.

The score was now 92-3 and the innings had begun to look a little like the opening week’s disappointing effort, with the pressure on Woking and Horsell’s middle-order to improve upon that fitful procession.

Pete Day set upon this task with a voracious appetite, racing to 21 off just eleven balls, off the twelfth however he was left disappointed to find himself back in the pavilion, another LBW victim of Turner with the score on 110-4.

So now all the weight was on the substantial but youthful shoulders of Angus Hargan and the slighter build of Indika Fernando. Quick scoring at the top of the order meant an imposing total was still a possibility, but after that opening week collapse it looked a distant prospect.

Hargan though after a nervous start began to show his talent, but they were so afraid, and for Fernando, every delivery, every over seemed to last eternally.

There was something in the air and runs were tight, but the shots were bright, as Fernado and Hargan took control gradually.

As the partnership built runs started to come more easily, with Hargan taking charge as the score progressed past 200, and the pair passed the hundred partnership. After an inspired innings of 65, Hargan’s innings came to an end after a mix-up left him standing at the wrong end with an indignant expression unseen from a Hargan since the great milk and Thai green curry famine of 2011.

From there Indy marshalled the pensionable middle-order of White and French along to a score of 234. A decent total with the bright spot the maturity  and class shown by Angus, although Worcester Park’s fast outfield and benign pitch meant that the game was far from over.

After tea bowling responsibilities fell to Jonny Ayling and Olly Guy, who aimed to restrict the home side’s openers and turn the batsmen’s 234 into an even more imposing target than it had seemed.

The Worcester Park pair of Fell and Davies matched Woking and Horsell’s endeavour however, and despite a gut-busting effort, in particular from Guy, the score was on 89 before the first wicket, literally Fell to first-change bowler Shiraz Hussain.

A middle overs battle then ensued; with Worcester Park always slightly behind the rate as the experience of Dave French and White, alongside Hussain began to tell as they used their wiles to attempt to snuff out the opposition batsmen.

Wickets tumbled at regular intervals, but not so swiftly that the tide ever turned decisively in the away team’s favour. After calm thinking from Worgan resulted in a run-out and left Worcester Park 160-5 meant that five wickets had gone down for 71 runs, it did look as though things had begun to slide away from Worcester Park and into the grasp of the Woking side.

The game though had another twist in it, as Burrows and Drake rebuilt the innings with some dramatic shots and the odd slice of luck, as the flying edges and aerial shots just out of the fielders’ reach that had been a feature of both teams’ play increased in frequency and put the home team in command.

Alas, by the time the partnership was broken by an inspired run-out by Vaibhav Bhade, it was too late for Roger White’s team, who had battled hard but just been a little short in the games key moments.

It was a frustrating loss for Woking & Horsell, one which left the return journey back down the A3 peppered with if onlys, but with Worcester Park holding their nerve when under pressure they ultimately got a hard earned and deserved win.

Best Batsman – Angus Hargan, 65

Best Bowler Olly Guy, 0-40, Shiraz Hussain, 1-40

Champagne Moment: Vaibhav’s run-out

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