Woking and Horsell 166 AO

Leatherhead  122 AO

Report by Des Cooke

Spirits were high amongst the team for the first league game of the season away to Leatherhead. As the team assembled at their ground, it was clear that the state of the wicket and out-field was by far and away the worst we had played on so far this season. The only way of determining the wicket from the outfield was from the length of the weeds growing on it. This was Matt Allen’s first game in charge this season and he started well by losing the toss, and W&H were put into bat.

Nick Moon and Amrender Singh opened the batting. Singh batted with his usual aggression but the slow pitch was making it hard for him, as a result he was lucky not to be stumped and dropped twice in the first few overs. Moon at the other end also found the conditions hard and eventually missed a straight one, bringing John Dunbar to the crease. Dunbar and Singh amassed a partnership of 62 runs albeit with wildly differing styles. Some indecisive calling eventually resulted in Dunbar being run-out. Des Cooke came out at four, but may well find a higher number next to his name next week after blocking out 10 balls and then being given out lbw for 0. Matt Allen came to the crease determined to improve on his pair of ducks from the previous week, and immediately looked the part by smearing the ball into the car park narrowly missing his teammates cars. Singh’s luck eventually ran out and one of the home team managed to keep their hands together long enough to hold onto the ball. He was finally out for 70 runs, his second 50 already this season. Jayson Bird was next out proudly holding his brand new Kookaburra bat, unfortunately his attempt to put the ball into orbit brought his short innings to an ignominious end. Graham Mattocks came to the crease with apparently the same disregard for style and common sense and was also bowled playing a shot that at best can be described as cavalier. Allen at the other end was still hanging around and playing some fine shots, including another six into the balcony of the pavilion. He eventually fell to a stumping after apparently going for a single before hitting the ball. The well-known W&H 3rd XI batting collapse was now well in evidence having gone from 96-1 to 139-7 in just 15 overs. Some late and highly unorthodox resistance from David Fowles and Chris Murphy brought the score to 166 all out.

The bowling attack was opened by the formidable duo of Chris Murphy and Graham Mattocks. Graham was amongst the wickets first having the Leatherhead opener caught at point by a diving Des Cooke. This partnership was to prove to be extremely profitable in the long run. Gribbler weighed in with a wicket of his own when the no.3 middled the ball straight to David Fowles who took a sharp catch. By now Allen had replaced Gribbler at the field end, and after some indifferent bowling bowled their other opener. Mattocks meanwhile was continuing to toil away up the hill at the bowling green end, and his deceptively slow pace and swing was causing the batsmen some problems, causing another batsman to spoon the ball to covers. Cooke eventually replaced Mattocks, and immediately joined the party by taking a wicket with his second ball. Allen at the other end however was beginning to “receive the treatment” and wisely brought himself off to be replaced with the vastly experienced John Dunbar, who proceeded to bowl 6 overs for only 5 runs, including 4 maidens. Smithy also bowled very boringly tidily with 0 for 4 off 4 overs. By now it was clear that W&H needed to claim the final 3 wickets to claim the match and Gribbler and Mattocks returned to the attack. Both claimed another wicket each. Mattocks finishing a marathon 15 overs taking 3 wickets for 25 runs. Cooke was brought back with 6 overs remaining and eventually claimed the last wicket with a slow full toss to finish with figures of 4 for 34 off 8.2 overs. The team were delighted to claim 13 points from their first league game of the season, and join the other W&H sides in celebrating victory.

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