WHCC 95 AO

Esher 99-2

By Paul Fortescue

Two years ago the 3's bowled Esher out for 24 and the Esher chairman wanted 3rdXI cricket moved to Sundays or scrapped altogether. Last year they beat a weakened 3rd XI by 9 wickets with Fortescue and Smith putting on the top partnership for the 10th wicket.  Cricket is a game of such contrasts. On a day when arguably a strong 3rd XI was put out by the club, we produced easily the worst display of the season. W&H turned up, bent over, and let Esher and their first name terms panel umpire have their wicked way with them as the winning streak came to a rather abrupt end.

Clearly the lack of an entourage was to blame. There was no travelling caravan of supporters and sprogs this week. In fact, the only caravan in evidence was a long line of crestfallen batsman trooping their was back to the pavilion, to use the term loosely. Munge hinted at attending, but probably turned up once it was all over. Worgan Snr did make the long journey, missing the first 2 overs and Mark's innings along with them, but otherwise the only spectators were a rather strange family gathering who though that Coronation Rec was a place worthy of a picnic hamper.

Having lost the toss, and been shocked to be inserted W&H set about chucking it tucking in on a good looking wicket. Worgy missed a straight one, which was later adjudged to have cut back into him; Andy Walker chopped one he thought to be a no-ball onto his stumps. Paul Gorgolis defended stoutly but hen chased the sucker ball all the way to gulley. Qasier played one beautiful drive through the of side, before falling to an injudicious shot. Usman was out........but we don't know how. It might have been LBW or it may have been caught at short leg. The score was 24-6 at the start of the 9th over. Then came the promise of a decent partnership between Curtley and Ian vd Walt, who took the score to 49 before Curtley was undone to be caught at slip.

Deano was bowled round his legs, the ball pitching in a footmark to make it 49-7. Another promising, embryonic partnership, between vd Walt and Dunbar, was curtailed by another 'one shot too many' and Ian started the long walk. 57-8  in 17 overs. Esher, for the first time started to show signs of worry - not as you might expect at the sight of Fortescue throwing his toys miles and miles, but because they sensed an early end to the innings and the tea hadn't arrived.

Fortescue and Dunbar took the score to 72 before another poor shot accounted for JD and brought Wearny to the crease. The 10th wicked putting the total up to 95. Tea still hadn't arrived.

Esher did to us, exactly what we've been doing to teams we've played. They bowled well, keeping the extra's in single figures and didn't drop anything. I'm going to bleat about their umpire again, but in truth, it made no difference.

Tea. Very average. Nice to have it brought around on trays by the opposition, and there were plenty of sugary things for Worgy to tuck in to, but an absence of plates means we can only score thus a 4. Would be a total shambles in the rain.

We had a 45 minute session before tea. Curtley started with the mandatory 3rd XI full toss - 4 runs, before cleaning the opener up and prompting the first fight of the afternoon. A couple of balls later, the number 3 middled the ball onto his pads, caught by Andy Walker and given not out by the umpire. ******* ****** ******** **** is all I can say. It wasn't even a faint nick. The click was so loud a bloke from the earthquake monitoring station rang up to check what was happening. The team were fantastically well behaved and nobody showed any dissent whatsoever, which was remarkable - although not quite as remarkable as not giving it. The batsman was later heard boasting.

Whilst all this was going on, Wearny was building up a decent head of steam from the other end. Clearly motivated today, Wearny chucked his bat when he was dismissed and bowled an excellent, aggressive spell. Scant reward was the single wicket, taken at slip by Gorgolis. After middling Curtley, the left hander showed his class by paying and missing so often to Wearny that the skipper was prompted to chirp up ' Crickey, this bloke looks like he's batting for us.' The batsman's near immediate response was to miss some more, and then hit the ball repeated in the air.

We dropped 5 catches and didn't bowl well on the pitch and in the circumstances, but most of all we batted like drains. There will be a lot of enforced changes next week and a much improved performance will be required if the good start to the season is not to be wasted.

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