Saturday 17th September 2016
Stoke D’Abernon 172 all out (39.5 overs)
Sheen Park 175 for 5 (33.2 overs)
Sheen Park won by 5 wickets
Stoke’s last home Saturday match of the season ended with a disappointing defeat to ten-man Sheen Park who chased down the target set for them with relative ease.
The match started well with Nico Spreeth and Andy Berry adding 56 inside the first ten overs, making light of tricky batting conditions with the pitch still holding a lot of the rain.
Berry was first to go for 24 when he feathered one to the keeper off Jajja; and two wickets fell on 70 and 71 when Spreeth, (31), flicked a ball that stopped on him to mid-wicket, then Will Gudgeon was adjudged leg-before in the following over.
Rod Thomson and Deepak Malhotra dug in and put together a partnership of 35 in ten overs. Malhotra took advantage of anything loose and made 27 off 26 balls faced before he was another victim of L.Ashbery, (3 for 15); and once again Stoke lost wickets in bunches when Thomson was another to fall to a catch behind the stumps, then Adam De Swardt picked out point without scoring. 107 for 6.
Stoke had decent batting resources and were grateful to Asif Ali and Tom Dennis for getting things going again. A stand of 37 in just under eight overs saw Stoke reach a total to bowl at; and it was then a question of how far they could go. Ali, (13 from 25), was bowled, and after a promising start Moumer Khara holed out on the boundary for 7.
Dennis continued to play very well, scored his runs all around the wicket and helped the total up to 172 before he was ninth out, falling to a return catch for 31. The innings closed three balls later with no addition to the score.
After tea bowling conditions were still favourable but the new ball bowling wasn’t the best. Naeem opted for all-out attack, hitting 29 of the first 32 runs scored in just four overs. He was second out having sold his opening partner down the river, (De Swardt doing well at mid-wicket), when he slashed at another rubbish delivery from Ralph Coleman and Malhotra did the rest behind the stumps.
No.3 and No.4 L.Ashbery and J.Ashbery batted cautiously at first with little scoreboard pressure and put together a good partnership of 78 for the third wicket, (the pair were particularly good at getting a boundary early in most overs to keep ahead of the asking rate), as subsequent Stoke bowling combinations also had reliability issues; hampered further when captain Duncan Elder pulled up during his first over, although he bravely stuck it out in the field to help his team.
Thomson finished the over, and the pace-off seemed to be the way to go prompting the introduction of spin at both ends. Spreeth and De Swardt got Stoke a foothold in the game after drinks when L.Ashbery, (43), chipped a Spreeth delivery to Khara at mid-wicket; then De Swardt took two quick ones, one leg-before, another a decent return catch.
120 for 5 and it became a matter of who wanted it most. Stoke’s fielding was a bit of a mixed bag; some difficult chances didn’t stick, a couple of more straightforward ones were grassed, and decent fielding on the circle was offset by runs leaked on the boundary. All this resulted in J.Ashbery passing fifty, a decent effort given the conditions.
L.Ashbery continued to move the board despite getting little help from the other end; but Stoke were unable to bowl enough balls at the beginning of what looked like a lengthy tail.
De Swardt completed his eight over allocation with figures of 2 for 25; but with fewer than 20 runs to play with and ample overs left Stoke needed wickets. A difficult chance behind the timbers followed by a yorker dug out that sped to the fine-leg boundary for four summed up the way the game was going; and then from nowhere No.7 Ahmed, who seemed incapable of getting the ball off the square at first, then found that he could hit the ball and clubbed successive boundaries to take Sheen Park to the brink.
J.Ashbery, (72 not out), completed the win when he cut the winning hit through the covers to complete the win with the best part of seven overs to spare.
Despite the early finish, sadly the opposition paid their tea money and disappeared without a trace immediately after the game leaving it to the Stokers to boost the coffers with a few drinks.
There is one more game next Saturday with a trip to Woodmansterne. A few players coming forward to help complete the XI would be appreciated.