Jonny Lawes smashed 105 and Gavin Gresse hit a career best 94 not out to turn a potentially difficult run chase into a destructive one at the Rec with a third wicket partnership of 144. Gav and Jonny shared a club record partnership of 144 – the highest 3rd wicket stand in the history of 2nd XI cricket at Stoke. What was most impressive about the stand was that it only encompassed 16 overs and put us totally in control of our run chase.
The first half of the match had been fairly even, with neither side able to gain a clear advantage during the Chertsey innings. Crispy won the toss and elected to field first expecting a bit of swing with plenty of cloud cover. Po opened up with a maiden before Bondi took 3 deliveries to find his range – the first 2 were wides, but the third hit the top of off stump. 2-1!
Beer, (32), and Peruter, (40), put on a partnership of 80 to frustrate us displaying several clean hits, but also several frustrating edges. Pagie and Jonny were brought into the attack and took wickets in 3 consecutive overs, with 2 lbws before Jonny bowled Houghton off his pads for 0. Jonny also claimed a 3rd wicket to finish with 3-42 before Taylor, (47), and Boast, (38), set about rebuilding the innings. Taylor showed good application and scored the bulk of the runs in this period of play.
Once Pagie had finished his 10 over spell, Richard was called into action with the ball for the first time since joining Stoke. He took a wicket in his first over, nipping one through Taylor’s defences to hit the stumps. Loveridge supported Boast for a while before Crispy brought himself on and took 3 wickets for just 17; a bowled and 2 smart catches for Gav and Jonny. 206-9 and still 10 overs left in the innings.
Boast found a worthy batting partner in number 11 Eagles and it wasn’t until the 49th over that the innings was concluded when the returning Po tempted Boast to play an aggressive shot into the hands of Pagie at deep mid on. 233 all out!
We left the field at tea with the feeling that we’d bowled too many 4 balls and although Chertsey hadn’t batted out their overs, we’d have to bat well to get the 234 runs required. The pitch was good though, despite the green tinge to it and there was confidence in our dressing room.
Despite being in the runs recently Ali Mac was put down the order at number 6 in favour of Falcon and Gav and the decision proved a prudent one as Stoke got the run chase off to a good start scoring 42 from the first 6 overs. Having helped hit Loveridge out of the attack, Falcon cut Peruter firmly to point only to see a good diving catch taken. Tufty came to the crease and put on 22 with Gav, hitting a 4 off visiting skipper Boast, before misjudging a leave to see his off stump pegged back. 64-2.
Having been a quite even contest until now, the game changed decisively in Stoke’s favour over the course of the next partnership which lasted only an hour and 16 overs, but was worth 144 runs. Jonny set out his stall to attack early on, hitting 2 of his first 3 balls to the boundary. Once Peruter, (1-35), had finished his spell, Richards was tried, but Gav struck 5 boundaries off his 2 overs, the 2nd of which brought up his half century in just 60 balls faced. Jonny really got going when Nuti was brought on to bowl, bringing up his 50 off just 37 balls with a 4 over extra cover. This paled in comparison to his 2nd 50 though, which took just 14 balls and included a broken roof tile on a neighbouring house resulting in Bondi and Big Bird being sent round to the residence in question to ask for our ball back. The ball after Jonny brought up his hundred, he was caught on the boundary, the fielder just managing to keep his balance inside the rope. It was a truly brutal assault on the visiting bowling attack.
With the carnage at the other end, Gav had moved quickly and relatively quietly on to 77 when JT went in at number 5. Whilst most players would have wanted a century of their own, Gav unselfishly told JT to simply help him win the game by getting the remaining runs as quickly as possible. JT late cut 2 boundaries, before Gav took 13 off the last full over and ran a single off the first ball of the next to win the match, finishing on 94 not out from 94 balls.
So 10 points from this game sees us significantly closer to safety in this division, but still probably needing another win from their remaining games. We travel to Chipstead next Saturday.
Scorecard Link : http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11138713