WHCC 133 a/o. Alan Taylor 42, Albert Hall 30

Worcester Park 94 for 9. Nick Challen 5 for 14

by David Fowles

Saturday night was subject to a deluge of rain but at least the morning had been kind and the wicket was soft but not damp. Smithy had recounted his batting exploits from the day before and regaled us with tales of injuries due to the popping and lively wickets on the Saturday. The pitch we were to play on looked like it may hold a few demons for the batsmen but I was confident that out team of all-rounders would prevail and so on winning the toss I decided to bat first.

Peter Smith opened as usual this time with Peter Grafton who was apprehensive and low in confidence but wanted time at the crease. Things started well and despite the low run rate we were handling the opening bowler’s in swinging deliveries well. In the 10th Over though Smithy played down the wrong line and was bowled off peg by the dangerous in swinger. Dave Gianotti’s 97 not out at Twickenham (before the fantasy league started) seems a distant memory as once again he struggled against accurate swing bowling and he soon joined Smithy. Peter Grafton was caught trying to push the score a long a couple of overs later and Graham Mattocks played the same shot with the same result an over later.

At 23 for 4 we were struggling for the second game in a row and the only hope was with our middle order and a weakened second string bowling attack. Albert showed his usual dogged persistence and good running to keep the score ticking along and was supported well by Steve North who looked good before being caught on 17. This bought the team senior statesman (Alan Taylor) to the crease to partner young Albert and the pair of them put on 61 for the 6th wicket. Once again Albert had a good knock going and let his concentration slip, but his 30 at a key time was invaluable on a wicket that wasn’t going to allow many runs to be scored.

At the other end Alan was rolling back the years and complied 42 runs including 6 fours before being bowled the next ball after Albert. Sadly none of the lower order could offer much support and stay in with Jayson and we soon crumbled to 133 all out.

We all knew that although the score was low all we had to do was keep the bowling tight and chip away at the wickets and we could win especially as we had plenty of time and overs to do it in.

Beavis and Butthead opened the bowling and the South Africans were soon giving the openers some problems and 6 maidens out of 15 overs and a wicket each was exactly what was needed. Fowles and Challen were bought into the attack principally to keep it tight and keep Smithy from having a bowl (we only had 133 to defend !). Our bowling continued the tight theme with Nick looking like taking the wickets while I kept plugging away controlling the run rate. Once Nick had warmed up with four maidens in six overs he started to make in roads into the wickets column and finished with 5 for 14 off 12 overs. I could only manage a single wicket at the other end but despite bowling 15 overs on the trot into the strong wind it only cost 2 runs an over.

This left the opposition on 73 for 8 with 10 overs left which I handed to Mattocks and Bird fully expecting them to clean out the tail in no time. Jayson did manage to clean bowl one of the rabbits but the last wicket pairing doggedly hung in there to earn their team a draw.

Next week finds us away to Horsely and Send where we have bowled well and won in the past so if the batting returns to last years standards we will be difficult to beat.

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