Sunday 16th June 2019
Excellent availability after last weekend’s sheets came in led to us investigating a second Sunday fixture. As appears to be the norm the pool of 25 available fell back to 18 once the fixtures had been booked(!) but planning ahead for this we booked in Battersea Eagles for the game at Stoke knowing that if we did have any availability issues, our good friend Khalid Harris would probably be able to bring a spare or two – after a ring around of our own for extra resources we sent an XI to Thames Ditton, (although the curse continued as only ten showed!), and gave Stoke debuts to two loan signings at the Rec.
So two medium strength teams fell back to XIs of lesser strength at the time the coins were tossed, but the sides were not without ability and despite losing both games, this was an overall success as had we not gone for the extra game half a dozen or so guys would not have got the chance to play and we got to meet a couple of newbies who should bolster player numbers.
So to the cricket…
Battersea Eagles 194 all out (40 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 111 all out (33.5 overs)
Battersea Eagles won by 83 runs
Stephen Finch took charge of this one, lost the toss and was asked to field. Geoff Vinall carried on his good form with a couple of early wickets. A third strike later on to finish with 8-1-36-3; plus wickets for Jack Townsend, Rod Thomson, two for loanee Imran Wasim, a pair of run outs and a batsman retiral meant that Stoke managed to bowl out their opposition for the third week running, this time for 194; 51 of them scored by Khalid Harris himself.
Sadly the reply never got going. Alistair McMillan, Ben Townsend, Finch, Carel Ferreira and Wasim were all back in the pavilion with just 18 on the board. Rod Thomson dug in to give the score some respectability; and Vinall clubbed a first career six in a 12 ball cameo that saw him score 20.
Thomson Snr was last man out for 33 from 71 balls, and enjoyed spending time at the crease with son Alex who was left stranded by dad on 12 not out in his first appearance of the season.
An 83 run defeat was the final result, but thanks to everyone for committing to this game and to Khalid for sourcing us a couple of guys.
Thames Ditton 288 for 4 (40 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 152 for 6 (40 overs)
Thames Ditton won by 136 runs
A tougher mission for the away side who had to leave a couple of league quality players originally selected for this fixture at The Rec. This led to the sensible decision to field first on winning the toss.
Mashood Naeem and debutant Andy Butler, (thanks to Raja Singh for sourcing him), did well against the openers. The latter claimed a first wicket on debut when home skipper Annable Jnr feathered a wideish delivery to keeper Singh; but this paved the way for a partnership of 169 for the second wicket between League players Pickup and Dixon.
All the bowlers kept going and created numerous chances, some tricky, others more straightforward; and Dixon in particular made use of the lives he was given, plundering a 58th career century, (one of these a triple less than a month ago), eventually checking out on 125. Short of League runs, Pickup helped himself to 65 before being well caught on the line by Butler to give debutant and late call up Vinnie Peters an entry in the fourth column.
Naeem, (8-0-32-2), returned to claim the wickets of Piriou for 10 and Dixon to a good catch by Saud Ahmed; but Dixon’s younger brother then used the licence he was given to the full in the closing overs, helping himself to an unbeaten 44 as the innings closed on 288 for 4.
It would remiss of us not to mention how well the Stoke fielders did given the shortage of a fielder on the large playing area; no heads dropped, everyone encouraged each other and James Morgan bowled two commendable spells at very difficult times in the innings.
A successful chase was always going to be a tricky task; and Stoke made a bad start when an under the weather Hamza Hafeez tickled one down the leg-side and was held by the keeper standing up to complete a pair for the weekend. Moumer Khara got the board moving and hit a nice six, but when he played on for 24 from 26 balls faced, and Ahmed was adjudged caught behind two overs later; Stoke were in a hole at 37 for 3.
Repair work was done by Singh and Peters and they constructed a patient partnership of 72 that lasted until the 33rd over. Peters was naturally cautious in his first innings for years – he bowled tidily too and with games will be a real asset. Singh dealt with the good balls and put away all the bad ones on route to a Stoke career best 48; unlucky to fall to a one-handed grab by the fielder at backward point.
Naeem swotted his first ball for four but was stumped two balls later; and when Peters was held in the deep for 21 from 65; this presented the chance for father & son combo Kevin and James Morgan to bat out the remaining overs which they duly took; adding 29 at just under a run-a-ball. Morgan Jnr played well for his unbeaten 16 and Morgan Snr, a relative newbie to cricket himself, nudged his career average closer to double-digits.
So, not the most exciting of run chases for the spectators, that included a pair of Parrett brothers in their number late in the day; but thanks to Thames Ditton for their traditional excellent hospitality and tea, for offering us the game, (and waiting for us whilst we re-loaded the team), and for playing it the right way.