Sunday 26th June 2016
Stoke D’Abernon 218 for 7 declared (43 overs)
Surrey Cryptics 124 for 7 (42 overs)
It wasn’t as epic a block-out as Atherton & Russell in the 1990s but Stoke’s Sunday XI had to settle for a draw after dominating pretty much all of this match; their bowling attack containing a lot of the same unable to force a win.
Batting first on finally winning a toss, Steve Wade and Ollie John took 12 off the first three overs before the latter made an incorrect assumption of the standard of Sunday fielding and was beaten by a direct hit having pushed one straight to the fielder at mid-on.
Wade and No.3 Jack Kirchner kept the scoring rate healthy, and moved the total to 66 with some nice shots and good running. The elder of the Kirchner brothers struck the ball cleanly in his 24 before edging a drive to the keeper and walking.
This brought mid-week signing Majid Sialvi to the crease. He might have been unable to get his paperwork completed in time to play in the previous day’s League match, but as a batsman he was very organised; working out how to play on the sluggish surface, scoring off bad balls and picking the right deliveries to go hard at.
The result was a 3rd wicket stand of 91 in 16 overs. Sialvi scored 55 of them off 57 balls with seven fours; a knock that came to an end when he hit sixth bowler Muldoon to Cloke. 157 for 3 was soon 158 for four when Geoff Vinall, who made the move across from the Over 40s squad to the Sunday XI, pulled a filthy long-hop to mid-wicket; but the run rate remained good as debutant Will Yeeles made 10 from 12 including one four that nearly cleaned out the umpire.
Wade had reached a half-century of his own with his seventh four but was limited to just one more boundary and a plethora of singles as he started to tire and the field spread. He eventually checked out on a season’s best 65 from 104 balls faced with the total on 176.
With quick runs needed to get to a declaration, James Trower hit 26 from 20 balls faced. He lost another partner in debutant James Mitchell along the way; but Ben Townsend hit some lovely shots in his 9 not out, notably a couple of square drives in the final over that would have gone for four on a quicker outfield. The batsmen were called in on 218 for 7 after 43 overs.
After tea, Mitchell and Townsend took the second new ball and bowled well without luck. With plenty of bowling resources, short spells were the order of the day and the second wave got Stoke on the board.
Taylor & Hogben had posted an opening stand of 32 before the former was leg-before to John, then the latter dragged on a ball from Luke Kirchner.
From then on runs trickled along without the rate never accelerating to cause any concern, but chasing wickets was proving a challenge. This changed shortly before the drinks break, though, when Ralph Coleman ran through the middle order.
Greenway edged to Yeeles who did a good job behind the timbers, left-hander Edwards was bowled and Hennicker-Smith suffered the same fate the ball after clubbing a four over the crowded in-field. Drinks were taken 81 for 5 ahead of the mandatory last 20. A pretty much even timed game meant Stoke would be giving 42 overs back to the opposition.
The first ball after the resumption brought the sixth wicket as No.3 Cloke, who had toughed it out for 16, turned one to the leg-slip area when Yeeles made a great diving save; confusion as to where the ball was saw Stoker Peter Andrew call him through then send him back and he was beaten by a direct hit.
In his first long-format game for some years, Vinall bowled a controlled line and length in his six over spell. He was rewarded with the wicket of Andrew, bowled for 2, and Stoke had seventeen overs to polish off the tail.
The pitch lost its nip, however, and Stoke met a pair of batsmen determined to bat the rest of the overs in Seeckts and Muldoon which they duly did in an unbroken stand of 37. Multiple bowling changes were tried to force the win; but the lack of variety in the Stoke attack was becoming a problem.
Townsend rattled off three successive maidens that challenged the batsmen, (he finished with very commendable figures of 7-4-13-0); John tried a variety of over & round the wicket, length & short balls; the Kirchner brothers, (Luke entering the field of play after a late call up to an afternoon school T20 match); and Mitchell all had short bursts; but the batsmen saw the game through with little alarm; not even an assortment from Trower in the final overs tempted them out of their bunkers.
Timed cricket matches can sometime end this way and the absence of a pie-chucker in the ranks didn’t help, but the Stokers kept going to the end and made the visitors earn their draw, an honourable result with both sides having fun on the field along the way as always.
Next week Stoke welcome Old Ashfordians to The Rec.