Sunday 16th July 2017
Byfleet 395 for 4 (40 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 172 for 4 (40 overs)
Byfleet won by 223 runs
With good availability in addition to the Trust League fixture, Stoke’s Sunday XI got an extra game this weekend despite having no call on any of the younger players with the exception of the promising Sameer Khara.
We subbed in for what we found on arrival to be Byfleet’s League opposition. Unfortunately their players came prepared for a League game, (one of them wasn’t even aware we were a replacement friendly opposition until tea!), and given the quality of the home side, (current and former Overseas players in their number), negotiations at the toss saw the hosts bat first.
Adrian Mills was the standout bowler for Stoke, bowling his eight over allocation in one spell for the concession of just 43 runs, and got the deserved wicket of Ahmed, (20), who was well caught by Moumer Khara at slip.
Stoke’s joy was short-lived, though, as Tyler and Barnard, (http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/601491.html & http://sdacc.play-cricket.com/website/player_stats_widget/batting_stats/3828926?rule_type_id=179), put together a punishing partnership of 106 in a little over eight overs; one of them yielding 32 as Barnard rattled off five of the six sixes he would hit off successive balls.
Barnard, (72), was well held in the ‘deep’ – a very tempting and difficult to patrol 35 yard boundary on the pavilion side – by Moumer Khara to give Faizan Mirza a first wicket for the Club; and this brought current Overseas Gandy to the crease. He had already taken a hundred off our 1st XI a couple of weeks ago so found this Stoke attack a very inviting prospect. Fast feet and hands, and very wristy, he played some great shots, although was dropped when he didn’t pick a slower ball, and raced to 57.
Tyler was also dropped, but had reached a century by this time and would ultimately retire on 122. Gandy’s wicket, a great catch by Rod Thomson off Moumer Khara, and a short stay by Hussain who was castled by Ralph Coleman, saw Stoke get a look at the middle order with 12 overs to go.
No further wickets were taken, though, as No.6 Rannie made an unbeaten 93 with ten fours and four sixes as Thomson involved as many bowlers as possible. Rannie shared an unbroken stand of 106 to close the innings. No.7 Pelling who made just ten of them.
All the bowlers and fielders did their best in a difficult set of circumstances, and the over-rate was good to shorten the fielding stint. An excellent tea saw Stoke discuss how they would approach their batting effort and said plan was carried out.
Things initially didn’t go to plan as Doug Gilbertson and Sanjay Goswami were early departures, Gilbertson unable to do much with one that got big on him and Goswami was bowled a few balls after he appeared to be caught off the back of the bat.
Moumer Khara got the board moving with some nice shots, benefiting from the short square boundary. Mirza was initially watchful but always found the right ball to hit. He made it to 26 by the last over before drinks, (arguably he could have got more if he ran the first one quickly), but he checked out when he hit slow left-armer Deven to cover. 89 for 3.
Khara rattled off more boundaries to reach his fifty, and then his highest score for Stoke. In partnership with Thomson the score moved to 124 before Khara was run out for 73 when he failed to run his bat in and was beaten by a direct hit from backward point to the bowler’s end.
Credit to Stoke here for continuing to play in their own bubble and not look at the scoreboard or contemplate the ridiculous asking rate. Despite having men around the bat in the closing overs Thomson, (23 not out), and Raja Singh, (26 not out), batted the remainder of the innings, adding 48, and much can be taken from this in the trip to Ewhurst next weekend.
Byfleet were excellent hosts; Barnard and home captain Jones in particular made a lot of time for the Stoke players at tea and after the match. One of those days when two sides who are not evenly matched brings inevitable consequences, but every Stoker can be proud of their contribution to this match and for playing the game with a smile.