Sunday 11th June 2017
Stoke D’Abernon 148 for 9 (40 overs)
Epsom Methodists 149 for 5 (34.4 overs)
Epsom Methodists won by 5 wickets
An inspection of the scorecard makes this look like a routine ‘restrict & chase’ for the opposition, but it was far from that. Stoke can take a number of positives from this, notably the contributions from their younger players.
The team had a noticeable number of bowlers to sort into a batting line-up, so it was handy that Carel Ferreira came good yesterday to bolster numbers, save the captain from keeping duties and open the batting with Doug Gilbertson.
The pair made steady progress against generally accurate bowling, and made it to the first umpiring change at the 15 over mark with 44 on the board. Paddy Wilson, clearly keen for a bat on a good pitch, sent both openers back in the space of the six deliveries he would officiate on before being recalled from the field to pad up and go in at number six. For the record, Ferreira made 24 with three fours and a nice six; Gilbertson’s progress was halted on 16 just as Coach Handel arrived to see how his student was getting on.
There were a number of familiar faces in the opposition, but one new one, Goni, was very sharp for a fifth bowler option in a Sunday fixture. He yorked Thomas Dennis, then delivered a snorter to Stephen Finch who was well-caught by the keeper, the ball rising as it hit both the batsman’s and the keeper’s gloves.
74 for 4 and already, (unbeknown to them), the visitors were into the bowlers. Could any of them stand up? One who did was Wilson who timed the ball nicely in a career best equalling knock of 25, (all his other top scores for the club have been in weak 3rd XI friendly cricket); and he helped No.3 Chris Finch put together a partnership of 54 for the fifth wicket.
Wilson eventually checked out after being stumped, and Finch “Jnr” followed in the next over for 30 with no addition to the score. Ben Townsend nursed the tail through to a final total of 148 for 9 off the allotted overs, pulling the last ball of the innings through square for four.
After another magnificent tea from Jo, (Cornish pasties making it onto the table), Stoke needed either early wickets or tight bowling to turn their moderate score into a formidable one.
Ben Townsend bowled a great line and beat opening batsman Chandru repeatedly before putting him out of his misery and pinning him leg-before for a duck. At the other end, Richie Parrett bowled well without luck. A double-change saw Mills and Jack Townsend carry on their good work.
Townsend Snr struck next when Hasan edged to Ferreira. The odd streaky boundary made his figures look far worse than his younger brother’s. Mills bowled a great over, but got the hook to allow him to get the end with the more favourable breeze to help his swing, and to get Dennis into the attack.
Dennis bought into the plan superbly, castling M.Yelland for 34, then having an lbw appeal against Darke answered in the affirmative. 86 for 4, and game on in front of a decent crowd, and the biggest away support of the season.
Despite a good over from Dennis, (5-1-19-2), and a burst from the returning Mills, the next breakthrough didn’t come until the total reached 112 when Goni tried one big shot too many and was coolly held by Ben Townsend on the circle.
With so few runs to play with Stoke tried everything, including an exploratory over from Wilson; but Aldo steered the visitors home without further loss with 5.2 overs to spare. This final partnership was not without alarm though as Stoke kept going to the end; Ben Townsend, (8-3-18-1), completed a good day’s work that started with an age group game ahead of the main event, and Jack Townsend, (7-2-29-1), was unlucky not to take a second wicket in his second spell.
In the end Stoke were left to rue their lack of batting depth, but to get the score that they did with so little batting resource, then make the opposition fight for every run is something to be very proud of. The younger players, (U17 and 2 x U15), had combined figures of 20-6-66-4 and received high praise from the opposition after the game.
With the Stoke Molesey Ladies in action at The Rec next weekend, the Sunday XI are on the road with a trip to Sendholme to play Concorde.