Saturday 6th July 2019
AJ Fordham Surrey Championship – 2nd XI competition
Stoke D’Abernon 2nd XI 267 for 8 (55 overs)
Old Emanuel 2nd XI 223 for 8 (50 overs)
Match Drawn – ‘Winning Draw’ to Old Emanuel 2nd XI
Stoke’s 2nd XI were left to settle for a losing draw after posting a good total on a benign pitch at Blagdons. To have the opposition eight down after their fast start to the chase was a credit to their stickability.
With little sign of a full team of opponents at the toss, Peter Phipps chose to bat, and a slightly delayed a start led to some curious events; notably the home skipper keeping wicket and dialling up for players between overs, and latecomers arriving, (one in keeping gear), at periodic intervals leading to the discovery that the opposition had an unannounced substitute fielder on the ground for half of their fielding effort.
The opposition started with nine men; but the bowlers did well despite this massive disadvantage; and Stoke gave them a helping hand when Phipps drilled one to a fielder and called for an improbable run only to be sent back and find himself well short of the line. 15 for 1.
One man’s visible disappointment was another’s opportunity, though. Patrick O’Neill came in and played shots all around the wicket whilst Hamza Hafeez batted time to put Stoke in a good position. The latter made it to 36 before getting a good ball just before drinks. 106 for 2.
O’Neill continued to play positively; Alex Clinton got himself in and at 126 for 2 Stoke looked set for a big score. O’Neill checked out, stumped, on a run-a-ball 68 – a Stoke career best – with ten fours and a nicely timed six to the longer boundary; Jase Earl, (10), departed a few overs later; but Will Harris joined Clinton and continued to keep the board moving.
Harris hit the ball cleanly, many to what was now a full set of fielders that matched the teamsheet surrendered to the scorer, before skying one on 36. Will Thomson and Raja Singh departed in the pursuit of quick runs; but Ben Townsend, (12 not out), ran hard, Clinton made it to a Stoke career best 65 from 93 before being bowled just before the close of the innings; the final total being 267 for 8 after Duncan Elder smashed 12 from 8.
After tea memories, or rather nightmares, of an Old Emanuel 1st XI run chase at The Rec from 2016 came flooding back as Khan and Pandey smashed 34 from the first three overs. Khan’s first three scoring shots were sixes; Ben Townsend was unlucky to see a chance go down at slip but was rewarded for his commitment to pitching the ball up when Khan skied one and Hafeez showed great judgement to hold on to a steepler.
Thereafter it was a case of partnerships developing but then being broken at the right time in what was an evenly matched contest. Jack Townsend locked an end down with a spell of 6-1-14-1 that saw a difficult chance not stick first ball, but then a bonus wicket when Pandey tickled a rare leg-side delivery to Will Thomson. 62 for 2.
Abbasi tried to bat through and hope for assistance from the other end. No.3 I Malik made 39 before he was bowled off a bit of everything by O’Neill who settled nicely into what would be a 14 over spell. 115 for 3.
Yaqoub played positively, (5×4 and 1×6 in his 28), before he slipped and trod on his stumps trying to push off for a rare single; and Abbas’ progress was cut short on 11 when he was leg before to 7th bowler Jase Earl. 179 for 5.
Abbasi’s vigil ended on 40 when he was well caught low down at square leg by Harris to give Earl his second, and when O’Neill castled Hussain attempting a wild hack Stoke had a sniff at 180 for 7.
But there was a tail that continued to play positively. No.9 Khan clubbed the next 15 runs scored, eleven of them off O’Neill’s last as he would finish with 14-2-66-3; before holing out at cow to Ben Townsend in Earl’s next, (7-1-38-3); but hopes of a win and a winning draw were taken away by R.Malik, (11 not out), and Ahmed, (15 not out), who lifted the total past the winning draw target of 219; closing on 223 for 8 as Stoke ended with a field consisting of a large cordon of slips, a deep fine leg, no fielders on the circle in front of the bat, one at deep long-on and another at deep cow; something Gareth Townsend, who watched a large proportion of the second innings and was in his usual jovial form, admitted he had never seen before but will surely go into his manual in case Surrey are presented with the same challenge to close out a county game in the future.
With the two clubs beneath them both losing with few points, Stoke made a bit more ground on them ahead of a tricky run of fixtures; starting with a trip to promotion chasing Old Hamptonians next Saturday.