Academy lose to Old Whitgiftians

Surrey Trust League
Old Whitgiftians 245 for 8 (40 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 223 all out (38.2 overs)
Old Whitgiftians won by 22 runs

Stoke’s Academy started the day knowing a win from one of their final two zonal games would ensure qualification for either the Main or Plate semi-final competitions. Defeat on a hot day to Old Whitgiftians by 22 runs means they must now beat Sunbury next week to ensure qualification, but matters are still in their own hands.

After a long session in the field for a number of the players the previous day fingers were crossed for a bat first, but captain Jack Raimondo returned with bad news of another lost toss.

One person fresh from not having been in action yesterday was Toby Tarrant, and in a spell of high class fast bowling he beat the bat repeatedly and took 3 for 16 from his eight overs – bowled in one spell to keep his troublesome groin loose.

Tom Frost started things with an opportunist stumping to account for Woodrow who didn’t return to his ground after being beaten for the umpteenth time. Ahmad edged to Will Gudgeon at slip for 14, then Frost took a regulation catch at the wicket to remove Shah for 4. 42-3.

Ayyub and Yoganathan dug in and batted patiently. On an excellent pitch they punished anything loose and moved the score to 111 by the 23rd over; the total boosted by a number of leg-side wides from the Stoke bowlers, a problem that has plagued them for some time.

The breakthrough was made by Jack Raimondo who removed Ayyub for 37; Jake Lavender taking an excellent catch at mid-wicket – the ball was travelling. MacDonald joined Yoganathan and a further 56 runs were scored in just seven overs. MacDonald hit 25 and holed out a deep extra cover where Alex Bond took a good low catch off the bowling of Will Frost.

With the platform set for a big score, and the extras continuing to flow, Yogahathan and home captain Patel went after the bowlers, before both fell to Ralph Coleman in the closing overs. Yoganathan hit to Gudgeon at cover for a fine 82 with fourteen fours and a six, and Patel was bowled slogging for 22.

There was time for James Whitmarsh to effect the run out of Daisey with a great throw from the deep having saved a boundary, and the other tailenders scrambled a few more runs from the remaining deliveries to close the innings on 245 for 8; a total that included 43 extras.

After a fine tea Tom Frost walked out with Bond to open the innings; the latter given licence to make a dent in the target. Although Frost was cleaned up by player coach Butt, (once of Croydon MO), Bond and Gudgeon posted the 50 by the end of the eight over with selective hitting.

Bond equalled his highest score for Stoke, making 27 from 22 balls; but slashed to keeper Daisey off first change Mann who posed problems throughout his spell with his height and aggression. Mann also bowled Gudgeon who made 21. Gudgeon hit the ball cleanly to suggest he is well on the way back from a sequence of low scores.

Spin was introduced and Whitmarsh tried one blow for freedom too many as he picked out Jackson at mid-on. James Trower hit Mann for a four but cut a ball from the same bowler to point later in the same over. Although Stoke were still in touch with the required rate, only five wickets were left at the 20 over drinks break.

A partnership of substance was desperately needed. Raimondo and Dom Morley stepped up and added 82 runs in just 13 overs with some good running. Raimondo survived a vociferous appeal for a catch at the wicket, but tucked into the change bowlers and registered his seventh score of fifty or more in the history of the competition.

Morley provided solid support, having to deal with beamer along the way. He was dismissed for 27 with three fours by the returning Mann who returned career best figures of 8-1-23-4.

As the asking rate increased, so did the desperation in the running. After a number of near misses that saw him diving and sliding into the crease, much to the amusement of his colleagues, Raimondo finally fell to a direct hit for 62 from 64 balls faced with nine fours. It was now 180 for 7 in the 34th over.

Lavender continued the fight and smashed 24 from 18 balls, but was the second of two quick wickets when he was bowled by the returning Butt. In the previous over Will Frost was unable to beat a throw from the deep turning for a second run.

Frost remained on the field to run for Tarrant, and although Tarrant hit a straight six and a four to keep Stoke in the hunt for a now unlikely win, runner Frost was run out for the second time in a matter of minutes – again going for a 2 – to close the innings on 223 with ten balls remaining.

The match was played in a great spirit, overseen by umpires Drew Patrick and Monty Chin who did well in the heat; but in the overall analysis, the number of extras and extra balls proved a decisive factor. A tuning of radars is required for next week, but hopes of lifting some silverware in the competition remain high.

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