WHCC - 140 AO - A Mouzoures 48

Leatherhead 81 AO - J Bird 4-16

by Paul Fortescue

The author is very pleased to report that at no stage during the week did Hankins call. However, without having to manage this aspect of preparation, losing the toss, getting a duck, no wickets and dropping a sharp chance, the author is feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Not as unfulfilled as Munge however, who can amend the above list by dropping a dolly (this isn't Dulwich!) and having to leave the pitch injured, due to try to catch aforementioned dolly with his nose. Still, he did do a sterling job in the bar on Thursday night.

Leatherhead have a new second ground. They lease the ground from a posh school for £5 a year. They have to maintain the pitch, but the school only uses it twice a season. It was therefore something of a mystery why despite the square accommodating eight strips comfortably, we were using one that had just been repaired, and where the repair work was coming out already. Perhaps they've subbed Woking Borough Council to do the groundwork, but no, the showers were okay, so that can't be it.

Toss. Lost. Called Tails, did everything right, but just wasn't to be. Huge surprise as their captain, inserted us on a track with an obvious ridge in it.

It was Weybridge all over again, except perhaps that Weybridge, as we've previously discussed was one of those deceptive looking tracks. This looked like some explorer from the middle ages had just hacked it out of the jungle - well, a few days ago as the outfield had had a chance to grow long enough to be slow. There was a strange bloke loitering at funny intervals. We thought it might be the explorers 'Man Friday' but it turned out to be Couch on the sniff.

Some team changes this week. Losing Dunbar to someone elses wedding anniversary, Walker to his girlfriend's birthday. Gihan off to sulk playing hockey after his duck last week and beautiful Ben reselected for the 2's after impressing against Chessington - okay, turning up and obviously looking meancing as his only contribution in the scorebook is 'DNB.' In came Mouzoures, paying the penalty for top scoring for the 2's a fortnight ago. Ed Smith, because ..... well I don't know why actually, Qasier Nawaz, fresh from spanking Cheam around the Wheatsheaf  and  Woodsy Jnr, who made a similar contribution to Ben last week, without looking menacing. The skipper returned to make the contribution mentioned at the top of the article and Usman was also retuned to action.

From the first ball it was apparent that it was going to be a difficult day. Both Peter and Ed struggled was the ball passed them at any height from 2 inches to five feet above the ground. They went cheaply but not without a fight - Munge's arrival batting at 4 not coming until the ninth over. He was unfortunate to miss the straight one that declined to bounce over the stumps - such a ball later to be called 'Wide' much to Charley's discrete disappointment. The first partnership of note was between Mouzoures and Nawaz, who put on over 40 between them before Qasier was trapped going backwards. Given by the scorer!

Just shy of his fifty Mouzoures top edged (he claims!  To the deep square leg boundary and a comfortable catch taken well, with no facial features involved. Matt and Usman at the crease. Usman batted very well and very sensibly for 25, being done by Kearns (9-9 vs Sanderstead), and this pair did provide the comedy running incident of the innings, where both ended up at one end. The fielder threw down the stumps, at the same end and Usman sauntered back down the track. A missed opportunity for Leatherhead.

Once Usman was dismissed, wickets fell regularly - one per over for four overs, leaving Woodsy stranded. Couch and the skipper put on four between them, Couch making four of them. The innings closed on 140 from 40 overs, and whist tea looked very promising, the urn wasn't hot, so Leatherhead agreed to bat for 20 minutes before the interval.

Once again, W&H took the field with a determination that has set this 3rd XI apart and made the difference. Jayson bowled a fiercely aggressive spell before tea, removing 2 top order batsman. Woodsy was turning the ball sharply from the other end and Usman, at first slip was doing most of the wicket keeping! At tea, Leatherhead were 15-2 and the new ball was  till to be taken.

Tea did not disappoint. It looked good and was far less treacherous than the Weybridge wicket.

After tea, the skipper took the pressure off by bringing himself on to bowl. There are some days when you're just better off staying in bed.  Munge continued his great day with the drop off the nose incident. Woodsy continued to bowl well, having the number 4 caught well by Ed in the off side. Jayson replaced the skipper for the second of his three spells, aking another wicket and hitting the stoic remaining opener ( Peter Kearns) in the face ( with the ball). Kearns returned, still without a helmet to face Jayson bowling round the wicket. He was later run out after good work from Nawaz who looks an excellent fielder.

Charley bowled an excellent spell, 2-7 in 8 overs with virtually no opportunity for the batsmen to leave the ball. He is clearly related in some obscure way to Des ( think about it!) as he proceeded to launch an exocet from square leg to Ed at the bowlers end, which went for 4 buzzers. Bronwynne thinks he's Swedish (LBW Johnson!).

Ed bowled a tidy spell, and once instructed ' No leaves' forced the lower order to play at the ball to good effect. His spell ended with a double wicket maiden, and Bird, once again replacing the hapless skipper cleaned out the last wicket to finish the game. 81ao with Jays finishing with 4-16.

This was another good team performance. Andy Mouzoures and Jayson walk away with the stats and Qasier with the fielding points. The fielding wasn't as sharp as it has been but the strength in depth of the club is really showing. We look forward to confidence towards entertaining Sanderstead (at the Park hopefully!) next week.

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