2nd XI beat Merstham by 3 runs

Saturday 27th May 2017
Travelbag Surrey Championship Division 4 – 2nd XI Competition
Stoke D’Abernon 2nd XI 264 for 9 (50 overs)
Merstham 261 all out (49 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 2nd XI won by 3 runs

Back to back wins for Stoke’s 2nd XI with this 20-point haul, but they made harder work of this one than they should have, although Merstham contributed a lot to this match.

Batting first having been inserted, Stoke made a fast start. 48 of the first 52 runs came in boundaries; Andy Berry, (28 – all fours), and Alastair Curran, (16 – all fours), got the board rattling round after the early loss of Malcolm Dickson.

55 for 3 in the 9th over, so Steve Wade and Jase Earl opted to bat time and they profited from their patience; Merstham choosing to bowl out their best two bowlers before the drinks break – only three bowlers were used in the first 26 overs as the other opener returned. The bowling after that left a lot to be desired and partnership of 110 resulted; Earl finally falling for 37 when he was out in Feist’s solitary over that saw him turn his arm over eleven times.

Roddy Kelso maintained Stoke’s positive approach, making 17 in a fifth wicket stand of 56. Stoke were well placed at 257 with Wade approaching his century, but he was lost to a run-out with the total on 237. He faced 122 balls for his runs and hit 17 fours.

Andy Page and Tom Dennis took the score past 250, but Stoke then lost a cluster of wickets in the pursuit of quick runs; three of them with the total on 257, leaving the last pair to nudge the total up to 264 for 9. 44 extras helped the cause.

Stoke maintained scoreboard control throughout the early part of the defence of their total. Duncan Elder bowled Powell for 16; but wickets were hard to come by despite good opening efforts by Earl, Jack Townsend and Thomas Dennis.

Ralph Coleman broke the deadlock with the total on 80 in the 19th over when Pasha chased a wide one to give Page a catch at the wicket, and off the first ball of the next over Kelso took a great catch off Elder at backward point to remove Drewett who was starting to up the rate, having hit most of his 39 in boundaries.

Dennis and Curran kept the new batsmen honest and drinks were taken at 99 for 4 as Curran collected the wicket of Beckford; but a change of approach from the visitors after the re-start started to tip the balance of the match their way. Feist and Preston put on a partnership of 75 for the fifth wicket, and with wickets in hand, the pair going well and the pitch still playing true, 99 off the last 13 overs was very achievable.

Dennis appeared to regain control for Stoke when he picked up both set batsmen in his penultimate over; Feist, (41), picked out Curran in the deep, and after the batsmen crossed, Preston was castled for 37. 168 for 6. Dennis would finish with 10-0-40-2.

A couple of good comeback overs from Townsend saw him collect the wickets of Sharp, bowled for 16, and David who was well held by Earl attempting a six to the short boundary. 220 for 8 in the 45th, but Aslam ended the same over with back to back sixes.

With the asking rate now 7s rather than 10s Stoke were stuck with the conundrum of limiting boundaries or singles. Although it was becoming a very long day, the right amount of time was taken to set the right fields, the boundaries dried up and Earl took the 9th when Maplesden edged to Page with 24 still needed.

There was still a nervy finish as chances didn’t quite go to hand and a run-out chance was missed; and Aslam was still scoring runs at the effective rate. Stoke didn’t help their cause by coughing up 45 extras. The penultimate over started with 19 needed…the equation fell to 4 off 7 balls.

There was then some discussion as to the number of balls bowled. Eventually it was revealed that there was a no-ball earlier in the over, so after the players re-took their positions, Aslam, (36), targeted the short boundary off the extra ball to finish the match there and then, but skied it and Dennis showed superb calm & technique to take the winning catch and keep himself inbounds.

So finally Stoke are on the right end of one of these narrow encounters, winning by 3 runs. Arguably they should be going into next week with a 100% record, but for now they are back where they finished last year, 4th in the table. They will attempt to end one of only two remaining 100% records left in the division next Saturday when they travel to Ewell.

Scorecard : http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/website/results/2897554