Back at Cottenham Park for the return half of this annual double-header, the Wimbledon squad was keen to see if they could maintain their recent fine record against 54th and complete a double for the third season in a row. Conditions were heavily overcast though dry and mild, while the pitch presented a rather unkempt and wild appearance, ranging from bright green newly sprouted grass, particularly at the bottom end, through the recently more familiar dry straw coloured patches to – well – soil. The toss was won by 54th, who sent Wimbledon in to bat, 40 overs the tariff.
Dutfield and Wright opened the bowling against Rowan and Anand, and after a first ball four off Dutfield by Rowan OCA were instantly making inroads as Anand wacked Wright’s second ball to Wheeler at long on for a two ball duck and Rowan was bowled by the first ball of Dutfield’s next over. So United had to start all over with James Flannery and Imran Mangral both at the wicket after 2.1 overs. Quite rightly a period of consolidation followed, 54 runs being circumspectly added in the next 15 overs, whereupon James was caught by Musgrove at mid-off off Gary Cunningham’s first ball for 31. Sameer Khan joined Imran and the pair proceeded to compile the backbone partnership of the innings, Sameer’s knock characterised by some careful shot selection and placement, momentarily relieved by one fine six, while Imran once again demonstrated that he has lost none of his technique and gritty resistance during years spent in the sapping heat of Dubai. Imran had passed the fifty mark when Sameer was finally undone by Gary Cunningham, departing for a vital 39, the score having progressed by 94 runs to 152 for 4.
Jonathan Williams entered the fray and started with an uncharacteristic five dot balls before getting going with a boundary. United’s batting tornado did not last long, holing out to Wheeler at mid-on for 9, to give Gary his third wicket of the day. His successor, Greg, made just two before Gary bowled him as well, leaving United on 183 for 6. Imran had got to 87 by this point but he was next to go, a lofted drive off the third ball of Wightwick’s final over, the final over of the innings, landing in the hands of long-off Musgrove. Gary, in at 8, was immediately bowled first ball, leaving Wightwick with a potential hat-trick ball, this to be faced by Pete Brown. You’d normally expect Pete in this situation to blast the thing for four but no – somehow he managed to scoop the ball straight into the eagerly receptive hands of Gary Cunningham at slip, thereby unleashing an entirely understandable explosion of hilarity and congratulation. Andy Cripps took his place for the last ball and avoided a four in a row humiliation by blasting the thing for four – take note Pete! With that the teams retired to the pavilion for tea with Wimbledon finishing on 187 for 9 and warm sunshine having at last made an appearance.
In reply OCA opened with Wightwick and Wheeler, while Wimbledon entrusted the bowling endeavour to United’s opening pair of choice, Pete and Andy. What followed was perhaps the most miserly and effective opening spell of the season. Pete, starting proceedings down the hill as usual, contrived an absolute beauty with his fifth ball to make a mess of Wightwick’s stumps and continued in similar vein for the next six overs, while Andy contrived to send down no less than five continuous maiden overs, picking up the wicket of Wheeler, caught at mid-wicket for 1, in the eighth. Pete contrived another wicket maiden in his sixth over, bowling Neath for 8, leaving OCA reeling on 10 for 3 after 11 overs.
James and Anand took over bowling duties, James proving a little expensive without reward as his four overs went wicketless for 29, while Anand was immediately in business, a supremely idiosyncratic first over yielding two wickets, two no-balls, two dot balls and a four. He bowled Richard Cunningham with a fine delivery first ball and then his replacement McGregor for a duck with his fourth, but from there on his mojo went completely awol. 2 for 7 from the first over rapidly became 2 for 21 in his second, an assortment of no-balls, wides, fours etc. – Gary had no choice – ‘thank you very much, take a blow mate’. All of this mayhem left Howgate and Musgrove desperately trying to pick up the pieces from 19 for 5, and between them they succeeded in restoring some order and stability as they added 80 runs for the sixth wicket. This fell when Howgate played a high(ish) full toss from Greg into the hands of Pete Brown at mid-wicket. Gary Cunningham took his place and started punching a few fours but with the score on 121 Musgrove was completely undone by a clever slower ball sent down by Sameer Khan. With OCA one man short on the day things looked difficult and although numbers eight and nine hung around for a while the removal of Gary with the score on 131, thanks to a very smart caught and bowled by Andy, signalled the end was near. Dutfield was last man out, bowled by Greg for 6 and thus Wimbledon achieved their win with four overs to spare as OCA finished 46 runs short.
So another good team performance saw the season’s double achieved. Pete and Andy deserve a lot of credit for a blistering opening spell with the ball but the man of the match award this week surely has to go to the mainstay of the batting that enabled United to set a challenging target – well done Imran, with a superb innings of 87. This was a fine way to sign off his 2018 contribution to the side’s endeavours.
|Innings of Wimbledon United C. C.||Innings of 54th OCA C. C.|
|Batsmen||How Out||Total||Batsmen||How Out||Total|
|1||R Wije’dena||b. Dutfield||4||1||J Wightwick||b. Brown||0|
|2||A Nayak||c. Wheeler, b. Wright||0||2||D Wheeler||c. Williams, b. Cripps||1|
|3||J Flannery||c. Musgrove, b. Cunningham G||31||3||S Neath||b. Brown||8|
|4||I Mangral||c. Musgrove, b. Wightwick||87||4||R Cunningham (w)||b. Nayak||6|
|5||S Khan||b. Cunningham G||39||5||P Howgate||c. Brown, b. Dean||39|
|6||J Williams||c. Wheeler, b. Cunningham G||9||6||L McGregor||b. Nayak||0|
|7||G Dean||b. Cunningham G||2||7||P Musgrove||c. & b. Khan||40|
|8||G Saxby(c)(w)||b. Wightwick||0||8||G Cunningham (c)||c. & b. Cripps||22|
|9||C Phillip||Not out||0||9||S Wright||Not out||4|
|10||P Brown||c. Cunningham G, b. Wightwick||0||10||S Dutfield||b. Dean||6|
|11||A Cripps||Not out||4||11||~|
|Extras W4 NB1 B1 LB1||7||Extras W4 NB6 B5 LB0||15|
|Total (for 9 wickets) (40 overs)||187||Total (for 9 wickets) (35.4 overs)||141|
|Fall of wkts: 1-4(2); 2-4(1); 3-58(3); 4-152(5); 5-171(6); 6-183(7); 7-183(4); 8-183(8); 9-183(10)||Fall of wkts: 1-0(1); 2-6(2); 3-10(3); 4-19(4); 5-19(6); 6-99(5); 7-121(7); 8-131(8); 9-141(10)|
|Bowling Figures: Dutfield – 8/0/36/1; Wright – 8/3/20/1; Musgrove – 5/0/36/0; Cunningham G – 8/2/37/4; Wightwick – 8/0/34/3; Howgate – 3/0/22/0||Bowling Figures: Brown – 8/4/14/2; Cripps – 8/5/15/2; Flannery – 4/0/29/0; Nayak – 2/0/21/2; Williams – 2/0/6/0; Dean – 5.4/0/27/2; Khan – 5/1/20/1; Wije’dena – 1/0/4/0|
Result ~ Win for Wimbledon United C. C. by 46 runs
~~ Wimbledon United ‘Man of the Match’ – Imran Mangral ~~