1st XI edge out Godalming

Surrey Championship Division 5

Stoke D’Abernon 198 all out (48.5 overs)

Godalming 188 all out (49.5 overs)

Stoke D’Abernon, (9 points), beat Godalming, (0 points), by 10 runs

Just one place separated the sides in the table before the start of play, and the excellent contest that wasn’t decided until the final over was reflective of how well the sides, both missing first choice players, were matched. Stoke’s marginally better strength in depth on the day proved decisive in a tremendous advertisement for the division and the spirit of cricket.

The earlier start placed more importance than usual on the toss, won by the visitors who gave Stoke first use of their own strip. Jay Stevenson was an early departure in the fourth over when he chipped to square leg; but acting Stoke captain Jack Raimondo and Anthony Alleyne advanced the score at a run a ball for the next ten overs.

Alleyne smashed a boundary into the hedge to take the total to 73, but in retrospect this was not a good thing. Whilst the ball was being found, three wickets were taken with the replacement cherry with no addition to the score! Raimondo fell to left-arm spinner Agge for 13; Alleyne hit a full toss from Dawson to Agge in the next over for 44, then the returning Tom Frost became Agge’s second victim when he served up a catch to Churaman. The miserly Agge conceded just one scoring shot in his first six overs.

Rob Davis and Will Patrick re-built the innings with a stand of 42. Clearly short of match practice Patrick fought hard for his 16 runs but couldn’t keep out a yorker from fifth bowler Mayne. Another 33 runs were added between Davis and new arrival Will Lander before the latter holed out to Dukes in the deep, again off Mayne.

With plenty of overs left, Davis didn’t panic, and showed incredible patience in waiting for the bad ball. He hit four fours and two sixes, the second of which brought up a gritty half-century on his 1st XI debut; but he perished soon after when he was stumped for 54 by Thompson off Mayne.

Ian Hopton nursed the total up to towards the 200-mark before being last out for 15 with the total on 198. Dukes was the most successful bowler with 3 for 52 from 9.5 overs, but the stand-out bowler was Agge who returned figures of 10-6-16-2. As the pitch was drying out, work was needed to defend a total that appeared below par.

Early wickets and a squeeze on the run rate were the immediate requirements after tea. Lander and Toby Tarrant both stepped up. Lander took the wickets of Thomson and Dawson in his first over, the latter a catch for debutant Sonny Cott. At the other end Tarrant beat the bat repeatedly and conceded just fifteen runs from his opening seven overs.

First change Ralph Coleman collected the wicket of Mayne for 13 when he tried one hit too many and holed out to Lander in the deep. 26 for 3.

An attritional period saw Clarke and Hall move the score to 79 with some clever running. Hall was successful in hitting Hopton out of the attack, but dragged a ball from the returning Lander on to his stumps when he reached 30. In his next and best over, Lander terrorised Fargus and ended his misery by demolishing his stumps. This was a fourth wicket for the eighteen year old Academy product who returned final figures of 10-1-34-4.

No.4 Clarke was restricted to singles and it was left to Agge to try and push the score along. The latter obliged with a typically belligerent 40 with six fours and a huge six, but was leg before to the returning Coleman’s first ball of his second spell. 130 for 6.

Clarke and Harms added another 30 runs to remove any faint hopes Stoke may have had of a bonus point win, but the win itself started to come into doubt as Godalming continued to edge towards their target.

Intelligent field placements restricted the boundaries and the pressure told as Clarke danced down the wicket looking for the blow for freedom only to give Frost the easiest of stumpings off Alleyne. Clarke batted 40 overs for his 40 runs.

Alleyne’s good afternoon continued when he ran out Harms and Churaman in successive overs, the latter with a direct hit off his own bowling; leaving the last pair a difficult task of thirty runs off the last three overs. Good death bowling upped the equation to seventeen off the last six balls, a task that proved too great as, fittingly, Raimondo held the winning catch in the deep off Alleyne, (9.5-0-27-2), off the penultimate ball to complete a narrow victory.

The players exchanged their customary handshakes and found out minutes later that an incredible sequence of results elsewhere now gives Stoke an unexpected shot at promotion to Division 4 on the last day.

However, they need to defeat Dorking with a bonus point and hope that relegation threatened Croydon Municipal Officers pull off a shock win against Farncombe. Fingers crossed.

Scorecard Link : http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=10911095