After the long drive into the heart of Surrey, the Plough gathered at the delightful ground of Woking & Horsell. This is the second year the fixture has been played, and over a pre-match energy snack of coronation chicken crisps we reminisced on last year?s successful defence of 153 to win by 24, Tom & Matt both taking 4 for?s, and Tom also contributing 68* with the bat.
On to this year?s action. Leon lost the toss, but all were pleased that we’d been asked to bowl first.There was some chuntering that the captains had agreed a 40 over match starting at 14:00 given the long drive back to town. We fired ourselves up to keep things tight and get through the overs.
Tom & Aruran opened, and kept their openers under constant pressure. Good tight bowling kept the runs down despite the complete lack of swing. Leon, moved slip to short cover only for the next ball from Aruran to be edged for 4 straight through where Duray had just been standing. Thankfully, spirits were lifted as Barraclough snaffled a chip later in the same over. Tom then set to work on their number 3, who didn?t seem to have a clue. Sweat dripping from his brow, Tom ran in with his usual energy & anger, but edges went to gaps, the only half chance put down by Barraclough at silly point.
It was time to change things up. Hoskin replaced Tom, and bowled 6 overs for a miserly 11 runs, albeit some thanks to Lockhart diving full stretch to his left to tidy up the occasional loose delivery. The club?s form spin bowler Uncle Nige replaced Aruran and the day got going. Their number 2 (43) was caught by Barraclough and then the very next ball Nige bowled number 3 who had luckily made it to 24. The Plough?s spirits lifted and the chat in the field was bubbling as Nige prepared for the hat trick delivery. He did everything right: putting in a loopy, tempting, good length ball, but – despite bamboozling the batsman – unfortunately the door to this exclusive club closed for the day.
The fielding was top notch all day, with everyone attacking the ball, and notably Britto?s sharp arm keeping the batsmen honest, demonstrating that practice & hard work can improve anyone?s game.
Boyd chipped in by clean bowling the left hander, leaving him sitting on his arse after trying to smash Boyd out the county. Given the trouble Nige, and then Boyd, were generating, the captain went all in and replaced Scott with the Man of The Day. Duray put on a masterclass of slow bowling, taking 6-16 off 7, interestingly taking all his wickets off the last ball of an over. Surely these figures will be hard to beat this season. The innings came to a close with a fine stumping, 124 all out off 37.
Tea was a standard affair of unimaginative sandwiches & cake. Strawberries were a good touch. B- overall.
The Plough were confident of victory, but wary that good shots were plugging if hit in the air, or slowing on the soft outfield. The 124 was worth nearer 170. Britto & Barraclough opened and shared a partnership of 44 before Adam (17) picked out a fielder trying to move the game forward. Britto & Leon shared a 29 run partnership before also finding a fielder for 17. Britto & Nick kept up with the rate, and Britto brought up 100 with BIGGEST SIX of the season so far. Unfortunately, this went to his head and he holed out to long off the subsequent ball (44).
Lockhart got a good ball – maybe his performance with the gloves took a bit too much out of him – and was out for a second ball duck. He should have brought the ?7.50 bat that got him 29 at this ground last year. Duray clearly wanted more from the day, and swiftly finished things off with 18 off 18. Let?s hope his luck continued into the night.
The Nice Ridgway kept a perfect scorebook.
Strong cricket, contributions from all with bat, ball & in the field, resulted in a fun win, and tasty beers.
Come on the Plough!