Tuesday 13th August 2019
Stoke D’Abernon 100 for 8 (16 overs)
Opposition 100 for 4 (16 overs)
Who writes the scripts for Over 40s matches between Stoke and Weybridge?
A third last ball finish in their last four meetings – none of them contrived – on a sunny evening on the green in front of a decent crowd that included Malcolm Dickson and Gary Harkett in their number.
Kevin Morgan won the toss and the non-appearance of Andy Berry at the start meant everyone shifted up one place from their allocated number, and when said latecomer was eventually put down as a non-runner Ralph Coleman was hauled off the pitch from his umpiring duties to get his kit bag from the boot to keep Stoke at a full compliment. The bag was more mobile and probably would have contributed more but that’s another story.
Carel Ferreira, (17), and Justin Jones went off like a train; plundering 28 from the first three overs, (three of the first four deliveries Ferreira faced from Wyeth went to the very long boundaries); but both were dismissed to leave Geoff Vinall and Rod Thomson the task of keeping things moving.
They had mixed success against the son/father combination of Jonny and Oli Slipper; Thomson was bowled by Slipper Snr; then Vinall, (14), heard the death rattle as former Stoker James Howells bowled a straight one that, contrary to the batsman’s version of events, did absolutely nothing. Good bat speed, though.
Fraser Slater and Deepak Malhotra boosted the total with a stand of 31 but were made to work hard for their runs as Howells, (2-0-5-1), and Hall, (2-0-9-1), bowled accurately. They were separated when Slater, (11), was run out by a direct hit with no-one backing up.
Malhotra, (17), Andy Page and Mark Christie surrendered their wickets in the closing overs in the pursuit of quick runs. Harry Nawaz hit a four and a single to close the innings on 100 for 8. Under par was the verdict.
After a quick turnaround Morgan took the gloves, selected his opening bowlers then ‘encouraged’ Coleman into setting the fields and working out the rest of the combinations which, with help from Page and others worked out pretty well. With so few runs to play with one over spells to involve everyone was the way to go in case people missed out; but more by luck than judgement this approach, rather than regimented two over spells adopted by their opponents, proved an effective tactic; due consideration given to the slower bowlers bowling most of the first eight overs with a long cow boundary in play on one side before switching ends.
Vinall and Page bowled the first two overs and set a good tone; Page castling Ed Smith, (dreams of an Ashes call up turned to dust when it became apparent that it wasn’t THE Ed Smith), to get Stoke on the board; next bowlers Jones and Nawaz kept Weybridge behind the rate and the latter bowled Aitken to make it 17 for 2 after four.
Thomson and Malhotra shared the next four overs at a combined cost of just 20; Malhotra was unlucky not to get a wicket; Thomson doubly unfortunate that a shot cracked back at him didn’t stick but split the webbing on his hand, forcing him to leave the field and Stoke a man down for the last quarter of the match.
As the light started to fade quicker bowlers had their turn. Christie and Ferreira bowled well but late boundaries in each of their overs kept Weybridge in with a chance; Vinall completed his allocation with a tidy over to swing things back in Stoke’s favour only for Coleman, Ferreira and Nawaz to cough up a mix of boundaries and extras to leave Page with just six runs to play with going into the last over with dangerman Slipper still a the crease; his arrival prompted by a great throw from the deep by Malhotra to effect a run-out.
It would be remiss of us not to mention Ferreira, Jones, Malhotra and Slater all patrolling the boundaries with distinction to take the game deep.
No-one expected the game to go as far as it did at the innings change, and DLS, WASP, etc; never gave Stoke a price; but their ‘Ice Man’ Page did justice to the name given to him by the golden generation of a decade ago; a boundaryless five ball sequence left two needed off the last ball. It was creamed out into the deep but a rocket throw from Jones to the bowler saw the batsman stranded and an easy run out decision given meaning the sides had tied.
Another excellent advert for Over 40s cricket – for anyone reading this please don’t make these games into League as there are enough high quality in-game battles to satisfy demand there, and those out for a more sociable experience still get to play in a relaxed atmosphere.
The sides meet again at the Stoke Rec next Thursday, (22nd) – please make every effort to come and support this excellent concept that started with a few colts’ parents forming a team and ultimately going on to help with numbers for longer format games at the weekend, make tours happen, extend playing careers and create revenue.