There was a great sense of anticipation as the team arrived at the Surrey Warriors’ home ground in Chertsey.
Memories of a feisty, well fought victory over them a week earlier were still fresh and the pitch’s beautiful setting was sure to provide the perfect stage for this fixture’s return leg.
Having lost the toss we were put into bat, with openers Matt Hickson and Adam Barraclough introduced onto the pitch by a blast of terrible pop music in a failed attempt to create an IPL-esque atmosphere by a small group of vocal home supporters.
Surrey Warriors’ opener was a man who had claimed a week prior (after a few jugs at DSG) that he could bowl at speeds in excess of 140kph. These rumours were swiftly put to bed when Hickson smashed him for three fours in the first over, leading to him being taken off after his first six deliveries. However, the quality of the opposition’s bowling attack soon became apparent when Hickson left one that jagged back and tickled the top of the leg stump bail before Barraclough was (perhaps controversially) given out LBW.
The Warriors’ often unplayable bowling accuracy quickly became the theme of an innings which would see 3 more of our batsmen bowled in the same manner.
Skipper James Tisato put in a gutsy shift, scoring 30 with the bat, before he was caught out by an unfortunate low bounce.
Tom Lonnen also made a good start before he was bowled by a delivery that brushed the stumps so gently that his batting partner Ben Hamilton hadn’t realised, calling Lonnen through for a quick single before he had noticed that a bail had been dislodged.
Suddenly we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a sub-par score at 104-8 with 13 overs remaining.
This was until Ben and Ashish Paul put on a heroic 60 run partnership that managed to drag the team total to a defendable 167 at the halfway stage.
After a swift tea break the team took to the field with great intent, epitomised in the third over of the innings when Lonnen picked up two well deserved wickets in two deliveries. The second thanks to a trademark stunner of a catch by Duray Pretorious at gully. Skipper Tisato placed men around the bat for the hat trick delivery which went crashing into the new batsman’s front pad, appearing destined to strike middle stump halfway up. The entire team was sent into an eruption of appeals only for a debatable umpiring decision to deny Lonnen what would have been a spectacular and thoroughly deserved moment in the game.
This didn’t deter the team though, with opening partner Liam Gray striking in the very next over.
The pair finished their fantastic opening spells with the opposition five wickets down. Archie Fiddes managed to take two wickets and Ashish Paul was extremely unfortunate not to add to his wicket tally this season.
It appeared as though the tail had been exposed before a 50-run eighth wicket partnership saw the game turn on its head yet again.
Just as an element of doubt began to creep into the minds of the fielding team, Barraclough dismantled the partnership with two well taken wickets, setting up Lonnen to bowl the oppositions No.10 and claim himself a well deserved player of the match award in the process.
It was a great game played at a beautiful venue, against an excellent group of guys who stayed behind afterwards and provided drinks for the entire team.
A well deserved victory.