Liphook and Ripsley - 204-3
WHCC - 163 AO - J Woods 100
by Charles Johnson
James Woods has a tip for Stephen Fleming on how to make a century - when you get to 99, score 1 more ! The 16 year old left-hander, already established in Woking & Horsell's struggling 1st XI league side as reliable wicket taker, realised his potential with the bat on Sunday by scoring a classy debut century. Pacing himself on a wet seaming track, Woodsy batted through the innings until tiredness and perhaps the excesses of celebrating the completion of his GCSE's got the better of him. Woking's skipper, the legendary Charlie Johnson, was full of praise for the youngster if a little disappointed to be left stranded when chasing victory.
"Woodsy has attracted admiration from his senior colleagues already this season, and he has now proved his ability. At the start he played beautifully from the crease, selecting his shots carefully, and his timing was superb in the difficult conditions. When the chase was on he used his feet well and found the gaps." Johnson added "It was a genuine ton. Liphook put out a strong bowling attack against us, including senior players from their Southern Premier League side and many of Woodsy's peers from the Surrey colts set-up, but he dominated them all".
Woking won the toss and sought to use the helpful conditions by bowling first. Playing through steady rain the seam bowlers found it difficult to keep their footing, and were unlucky not to get a breakthrough. Liphook batsmen rode their luck, chipping the ball around the infield and the odd loose delivery was crashed away. The spinners had even less luck, good spells with the now soggy ball by Oliver Guy and Woodsy went unrewarded. So many times the ball was spooned just past a fielder, and when a chance did go to hand or glove it was spilled like a piece of soap. The ground fielding was excellent however, there will doubtless be a shortage of washing powder in town this week, and Woking had done well to restrict Liphook to an achievable total of 204.
The batsmen set about the target positively, and opener Woodsy soon let everyone know he was in form with a couple of crashing boundaries and a sublime cover drive. After by a hard hitting cameo from Walker (14), the pace really picked up when Oliver Guy (25) joined Woodsy at the crease. Both batsmen punished full deliveries and Woodsy cantered past his fifty. When Oliver fell the youngest Guy, Harry, showed a brief glimpse of his own batting potential, and was unlucky to slip in the mud and be run out. The Woking tail did well to support Woodsy and keep the score ticking along, but wickets fell as we continued to play our shots, and last man Johnson went out to bat with 43 still needed. Worryingly, at the same time as Fleming was softing his wicket at Sophia Gardens with Woking 1st XI skipper Ian Meyer watching on, Woodsy was perspiring on 99.
Fortunately Woodsy was on strike, and was able to delight his proud parents by knocking a single off the next ball. The crowd gave him a well deserved standing ovation, even the sun came out. Attempting to hit his next ball for six it came to an end, and so did this match report.