Saturday 5th May 2018
Travelbag Surrey Championship Division 3 – 2nd XI Competition
Ashford 2nd XI 194 for 9 (50 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 2nd XI 153 for 9 (50 overs)
Ashford 2nd XI won by 41 runs
Stoke’s 2nd XI paid for a lack of match practice as much as anything and fell to an opening day defeat at Ashford.
The home side chose to bat but were put under pressure early. Duncan Elder collected an early wicket when Evans hit a low full toss to Max Subba Row at cover; then Adrian Mills, (10-3-28-3), added three more to his career count when he took out Imran to a regulation edge to Andy Page behind the timbers, Gaurav to a good running catch by Jase Earl at mid-off, then Afzal to a stinging catch by Deepak Malhotra at square leg. 39 for 4.
A partnership between Waseem and Rao doubled the total, but they were made to work hard for their runs by good change bowling from Alex Bond and Ben Townsend; but the partnership was only broken when Rao was called through for an unlikely single and Malhotra got the ball into Page who completed the run-out.
Home skipper Waseem made it to 39 with a mixture of watchful defence and some pretty ugly hacks to various parts of the ground; but his luck ran out when he missed Malhotra’s second delivery and departed with the total on 84 for 6.
Stoke were in decent shape at this point, but this was as good as it got for them as the players began to feel the effects of not having had any lengthy time in the field since September. An untidy period either side of the second drinks break saw Gurpal gift-wrapped a half-century, and Mansoor benefitted from some uncharacteristically inconsistent bowling, adding 35 of his own to move the total to 155.
Eighth bowler Subba Row restored some order with a spell of 3 for 19 from six overs at the death; Page – who kept well – taking a good catch standing up, Earl a very nice effort at cow, then No.9 Josh was bowled. The returning Elder restricted boundaries at the other end and the innings closed at 194 for 9.
After tea Subba Row and Andy Berry began steadily against decent opening bowling, adding 47 in 14 overs; the highlights being some trademark square drives from the former and the match’s only six from the latter.
Things got a little more tricky after the introduction of first change Rao, though, who took out both batsmen in successive overs for 21 and 19, and six of his first eight overs only yielded eight runs. At the halfway mark Stoke had just 68 on the board for the loss of a third wicket when Malcolm Dickson failed to clear the infield.
Tom Dennis did well to get himself in on a sluggish pitch, but having made it to 31 he was lost to a good running catch on the circle just as he looked to cut loose. Earl and Page ran well until the latter dragged the last ball before the second drinks break on to his stumps, (114 for 5), and this left Stoke needing 80 off the last 14 overs; an equation that then went to 60 off 8 as the batsmen struggled to hit the required boundaries.
Earl made the innings’ top score of 33, but no other batsman reached double figures as Stoke opted to bat out the last few overs; Townsend smacked Rao back over his head for four to secure a bonus point late in the day.
The margin of victory didn’t reflect the difference in quality of the sides and much can be taken from the overall performance ahead of next week where Stoke are on the ‘Croydon run’ with a trip to Trinity Midwhitgiftians who won their opening fixture at Kempton.