This week the First Team was away to Datchet who were second in the League at the start of play.
In total contrast to last week, the weather was set fair and a lovely sunny day for cricket. Datchet won the toss and had no hesitation deciding to bat first.
As is customary, Simon Stanway bowled an excellent line and length and found great support from Mo Choudhry who in his first over took his first wicket followed by another in the very next delivery. Stanway then followed up with his first wicket in the third over and by the end of the fourth over, Datchet had been reduced to 4-4.
Choudhry and Stanway continued to take wickets at regular intervals as Datchet found themselves on 34 for 8 with the opening pair sharing eight wickets. A ninth wicket partnership of 30 runs between Chris Peploe and Oliver Birts helped Datchet to take their total to 68 as Harris and Clark took a wicket each to end the innings on the stroke of lunch.
It was now the turn of AJ Woodland and David Burnell to face up on the Datchet wicket. The First team’s opening pair made light work of the chase putting on 57 before Woodland was out ‘caught & bowled’ for 39 off the bowling of Peploe. Burnell finished undefeated on 29 as the First Team achieved its target in the 17th over with a comprehensive win by nine wickets.
CATCHES ALSO DRAW MATCHES
These traditional games are sometimes criticised for producing boring draws. This match was a draw, but anything but boring. When Paul Orton delivered the final ball, Chesham needed three runs for victory with only one wicket in hand, so all four results remained possible. But just one bye was scored from it leaving Chesham on 222-9 in pursuit of 224 for victory.
There were three specific incidents of note that prevented the Second Team from being defeated.
There were two excellent catches. With eight runs an over needed Chesham launched a serious assault on the Second Team bowling led by Luke Dawson and 92 were scored from 11 overs. But with just over five overs remaining, Dawson smashed Lawrence Snookes to the long on boundary and it seemed certain that the ball would go for six and bring him a 32 ball half century. But Toby Wastling standing just inside the rope jumped, palmed the ball forward and stretched out to catch it one handed.
Then from the first ball of the final over with six runs needed, James Anderson edged hard and wide and the ball would have reached the third man boundary had it not been for Andrew Dixon behind the stumps diving high to take the catch as it passed through the vacant first slip area.
The third incident was perhaps even more unusual. Todd Bamber was in at number four in the sixth over after Tom Weymes and Snookes had both openers back in the pavilion with only seven runs on the board. On the way to making 59, before being bowled by Shelvin Gumbs, he drove Wastling hard, aerially and straight and four would have been scored if, despite him trying to take evasive action, the ball had not hit umpire Michael Knox and only one added to the total. He received a painful blow on the forearm and play was delayed by several minutes while he recovered.
Snookes ended with three wickets, the last being a perfect yorker that bowled Henry Moore.
The foundation for the Second Team’s total of 223-8 was laid by the 17-year-old pair of Solly Woodall and Scott Rolfe who put on 71 for the first wicket. Rolfe demonstrated his range of shots early on as he clipped the first ball of the third over through the leg side for four and straight drove the next to the boundary. He was out trying to force the pace nine short of what would have been a well-deserved second century of the season.
Shelvin Gumbs gave the innings some impetus with 49 from 39 balls including three sixes, one landing on the pavilion balcony. After he was out the expected late push for runs didn’t materialize and the final total ended up being twenty or so runs short of what had looked likely earlier.
THIRD TEAM FRUSTRATED AT WRAYSBURY
The Third Team travelled to Wraysbury last Saturday. Sent in to bat on a green wicket, the thirds lost Adam Partner, but a good fightback from Ant McCormack, Will Darraugh and captain Chris Curry kept the scoreboard ticking over.
With the loss of prolific run scorer Benn Kempster for single figures, Harvey Graham stood up and scored a scintillating 103 not out. He was well supported at the other end by Ed Pike who scored 42 as the Third team finished with a competitive 248-8 from their 52 overs.
In reply Wraysbury came out swinging, taking the attack to the new ball pairing of Jake Seagrave and Nick Grant. However, their aggressive approach saw the home side lose regular wickets, and with the likelihood of Wraysbury winning the game quickly slipping away, they began to bat for the draw with almost 20 overs remaining. Spinners Sanjoy Bassi and Ed Pike bowled well, putting pressure on the defiant Wraysbury batsman.
The second team were left needing just one wicket from the final five overs, and despite some close chances the Wraysbury batsman survived to bat out the draw. Grant finished with four wickets and Pike with three, whilst Miles Doe was impressive behind the stumps.
FOURTH TEAM MAKE IT A DATCHET DOUBLE
The Fourth Team welcomed Datchet to our London Road ground last weekend, captain Andy Grour lost the toss again and were invited to bat first. On paper this was one of the strongest Fourth teams of the season so confidence was high at the start.
On a wicket that offered a bit to the bowlers the Fourth Team were reduced to 51-5 off from 21 overs with opening bowler Omar Arif picking up four wickets. Fortunately on this day the Fourth team batted deep and John Graham with 28 and Ian Ridley coming in at nine scored an unbeaten 32 to the Fourth Team scramble to 162 all out off 51 overs.
In reply the Fourth Team got off to a great start when Alan Sheppard took a stunning catch off the hostile James Gurnett in the third over to dismiss opener Rhys Williams without scoring. But when Gurnett damaged his ankle and had to leave the field and with John Graham hobbling badly things, the game felt it was turning against the Fourth Team.
With Datchet comfortable at 60-1, Nick Wale sparked the game into life running out Datchet’s premier batsman Theunis Jackson by hitting the only stump he had to aim at. Pace off the ball started to cause Datchet problems , youth and experience in the shape of Harry Grinham and captain Grout backed by excellent catching and fielding turned the game round.
Grinham and Grout choked the Datchet middle order as they lost five wickets and slumped to 117-7. The evergeen Ian Ridley picked a couple of wickets and reduced Datchett to nine wickets down, and it was let to Toby Seagrave to pick up the final wicket as he induced Gurmehar Sumra into a false shot and was caught by Kumar Krishna to end the innings and give the Fourth Team victory by 14 runs.
SUNDAY TEAM SNEAK THRILLER
The Sunday team had an exciting win against Saracens in a match that went down to the very last ball.
For the second Sunday in a row, Nick Grant won the toss and elected to bat at London Road, and the openers cashed in on a favourable batting wicket. Solly Woodall and Josh Camm put on a 177 run opening stand, until Woodall retired after a well compiled 114. Camm struck his first half century of the summer as he nudged and nurdled his way to 74 before he too retired. Chris Curry and Hannah Davis finished the innings strongly, as the Sunday side posted 242-5 off their 40 overs.
Ben Bezani and the experienced Ian Ridley took the new ball, and Bezani was first to strike in the fourth over picking up Richard Young who was well caught by Camm. Grant turned to Curry with the side in need of wickets, and his wily off spin proved effective, picking up two important scalps of both Gary Hitch and Stuart Hitch both to good catches from Solly Woodall.
Natalie Gurnett and Davies were economical, the latter bowling with impressive control to give the Saracens batsman limited scoring opportunities. Gareth Darby wound back the clock with an important spell late in the innings, and the ever-reliable James Wheeler put on a masterclass behind the stumps.
Saracens required 27 runs off the final two overs, however Grant and Ridley held their nerve to see the Sunday team home by just three runs.