Preparations had gone far too smoothly, no drop outs and ten of the players were at the ground before the meet time. So inevitably the obstacles started to fall in front of us. Old Woking CC was the chosen venue for our 20/20 Frank Binks campaign to start and the ground was locked and no sign of the groundsman! Eventually we got the keys only to find that no pitch had been cut and there was not a chance that we could play on any of the old ones. Fortunately the oppo’s captain and Saturday Woking player Jack, knew that their regular ground, the Wheatsheaf was now available so via a stop at the leisure centre to pick up the keys and a stop at W&H to pick up a scoreboard we headed over there.
Whilst at Brewery Road, we bumped into Cy who had popped down to take part in the advertised fielding practice. Never a stranger at missing meet times is Cy, but missing it by 24 hours is perhaps a new record for him! Therefore he joined the merry band and by new start time we had not only 11 players but 2 umpires (Billy and Cy) and a scorer (Henry ‘run machine’ Cameron – remember him – back for one night only in Woking to say hello and have one last crack at the women of Woking – “they’re just not like any other women”).
Despite worries of huge puddles on the outfield, we agreed to play a slightly reduced 18 over a side smash and Jerry and Malcolm were sent out to look to continue their recent good form. Which they did in some style – 50 came up in only the 5th over, Jerry fell for 19 and Malcolm was joined by Steve. Shots continued to be played around the ground as totally unfounded rumours spread that Shazad had been bribed to bowl long hops to his Saturday team mates.
The running between the wickets had been ok till now but Malcom was slow to pick up on a quick single and was run out for 32. Jack, by far the pick of the oppo bowlers, embarked on a probing spell which saw him pick up 3 wickets. John Hargan hit a few boundaries before a wild swish sent the ball high into orbit. No one seeming more surprised to see it caught than the catcher, except maybe Saf sledging from the sidelines.
At 101 for 6 with just over 6 overs left there were fears of a typical W&H collapse and a total of 120 to defend. Fortunately we had 2 new boys at the crease and not old timers who feel the glass is always half empty like me. Charlie (35) and Dilbert (25) (sometimes known as Digby) played themselves in with 1s and 2s then let rip with some big boundary hitting including 3 huges sixes which enabled us to reach a very healthy score of 157 for 6 off our allotted 18 overs.
Remembering what happened last year when Qais single handedly won the game for the oppo we knew that we still had to perform at our best in the field to force victory. Henry Peters, taking the first over ahead of three 1st XI opening bowlers, set the tone with a brilliant 1st over – a maiden! In fact his whole 4 over spell was superb, bowling to a good plan, pitching the ball up and bowling at the stumps putting the pressure on the batsmen. He is certainly a great prospect.
I snared a couple of wickets through slogs at the other end and with Charlie picking up a wicket in his first over, it left the score at 45 for 4 after 8 overs and the game seemingly won. However, at this point Qais strode to the crease and under strict instructions from the Saturday skipper to bowl him into form anything could happen.
Fortunately we ignored those instructions and he became the 2nd of Charlie’s 3 wickets and the 2nd of Ando’s 3 catches. A few healthy slogs took the score up towards the dizzy heights of 80, but it says much of the stature of this young lad in the senior sides now that John’s excellent spell went almost unnoticed – 2 for 9 off 3 overs. Charlie’s 3rd wicket it should be noted was an incredible diving effort by Malcolm.
All that was left was for Ando to bowl his first over in UK for nearly 3 years and a useful one it was too and Dilb’s to pick up the final wicket as the oppos 11th man had done a runner!
92 all out was the final score and the fact that the overseas opening bowler was only required to bowl 3 balls was a measure of how well the youngsters bowled. A special mention too for Conor behind the stumps who kept his spirit up, not to mention his bravery taking a few hits on the body for the cause on a pitch which made life very difficult to keep to spinners on (to such an extent that the oppos keeper stood back to one of theirs!).
All in all a cracking performance and a very happy skipper! Thanks to Billy, Cy and Henry for umpiring and scoring and Saf for supporting