With the brilliant and balmy weather of the Easter weekend a long distant memory, Wimbledon United’s 2019 Season got under way at Cottenham Park under heavy overcast skies and with a light two-sweater chilly breeze crossing the ground, in other words just like it always seems to be at the start of the cricket season. The pitch looked decidedly strange and clearly had not seen a roller for a long time, but winning the toss Gary elected to bat and sent in a new and untested formulation to get the innings going with Anand and Chaitanya taking to the crease.
Whitehead opened from the bottom end with a maiden, followed by Jones from the top end. Chaitanya managed a single off his fifth ball, whereupon Anand chipped a catch to mid on to get the innings off to a decidedly underwhelming start. Things got worse in Jones’ next over when Sameer nicked one high in the air behind and was well caught by the keeper Nelms running back. Progress was slow as Chaitanya and Rowan battled away and it was Jones who struck again in his fourth over inducing a nick to second slip by Rowan. Further top order strife occurred in the twelfth over when Farrukh provided Jones with his fourth wicket, caught at mid-on for just 3, and further damage was inflicted by Whitehead who followed up with a wicket maiden as he finally got through Chaitanya’s defences, bowling him for a dogged 9. All this mayhem left Wimbledon in a bit of a pickle on 21 for 5 at the end of the thirteenth over.
Mitesh and Hash proceeded to try and restore some sense of resilience to the Wimbledon batting but found it difficult just rotating the strike against Consort’s second string bowling pair of Barton and Bain letting alone piling on some runs. However the pair added 23 for the fifth wicket – this fell when Mitesh was caught at cover by Harper off Barton for 10. Hash was dismissed in the very next over, also for 10, bowled through the gate by a good ball from Bain, leaving a new pair at the crease in the form of a veteran John Hitchman and a 14 year old newcomer playing his first game for the club, James Kotze. John was immediately off the mark with a first ball four, hoicked down to fine leg, but the pair then had to spend a little time getting the hang of the pitch before making further progress. Young James was soon into his stride playing nice correct shots in attack and defence and in the next seven overs the pair added 28, taking the score to 78 before James hit a drive uppishly and was well caught at cover, having made a valuable 17 runs. Gary, lower down the order than normal at number ten arrived at the crease and took charge with some muscular hits as the bowling changes started to come into play. The score had progressed to 94 when a pig of a ball from Weaver took a deflection off the pitch and smacked into the foot of off stump to send Hitchman on his way having contributed 12 to the total. Pete joined Gary and the pair made some valuable hay off the Consort support bowlers, including the plucky Joanna Blake, a few boundaries taking the United score to 138 at the end of the allotted forty overs.
Caterers extraordinaire Sue and Dave had turned up trumps again to get the first Cottenham teatime off to a tasty and filling start and the traditional strawberry topped scones made their welcome entry. By the time the teams re-emerged on to the field the skies had largely cleared and when the sun came out it was quite warm, so meteorologically the day progressed to a very different conclusion than had been likely at the start.
Nelms and Harper opened the Consort innings against the pace of Pete Brown and Sameer Khan, Sameer in particular getting a real head of steam going up the hill from the Cambridge Road end. Both batsmen coped well with some penetrating bowling and had put on 24 before Sameer produced a fine delivery that hit top of off to dismiss Harper. Number three Weaver had made four when he faced Pete in his sixth over and was left in two (or possibly more) minds about whether to play a shot, didn’t and had his off stump rattled. The first ball of the next over, Sameer’s sixth, produced the next wicket as the ball flew into the air off Nelms’ gloves and was well caught high to his left one handed by keeper Hitchman. Gary and Farrukh took over the bowling duties from Pete and Sameer and Farrukh almost immediately induced Clarke into a slap towards mid-wicket, where Sameer took a simple catch. With Consort at 41 for 4 in the 14th over Wimbledon could sense there was a clear chance of getting on top.
Burton and Holister steadied the ship and added 41 in the next five overs as Gary and Farrukh continued their bowling spell, but it was the introduction of Rowan, one over before half-way drinks, that precipitated a game changing middle order collapse. In consecutive overs either side of the drinks break Rowan bowled Holister for 22, bowled Edwards for a duck and then bowled Bain, also for a duck. A score of 81 for 4 had gone to 89 for 7 in just five overs. Burton was still there however, battling away and trying to farm the bowling and encourage the lower order batsmen with a series of short term targets. Pete took one more over from the top end before Farrukh returned to the attack, now from the top end, as Rowan continued with his economical spell. Farrukh it was who made the final incursions as he bowled Blake for 1 and had Jones LBW for 10 to leave Consort teetering on 105 for 9, and with the second ball of his seventh over he finally got through Burton’s defence to nick the top of middle stump and close the Consort innings on 113 all out, Burton finishing as the visitors’ top scorer with 36.
This proved to be a most enjoyable match, suitably competitive but played in excellent spirit. A 25 run victory was a fine way to get the season rolling, based on a good bowling and fielding performance after key contributions from the lower half of the batting order. Farrukh deserves a mention in dispatches for his 4 for 23, including the coup de grace at the end, but the Man of the Match award this week recognises perhaps the key turning point of the game with Rowan’s three wickets and a final analysis of 7 overs, 3 maidens, 3 for 14. Let’s hope this sets the tone for the rest of the season!
|Innings of Wimbledon United C. C.||Innings of Prince Consort C. C.|
|Batsmen||How Out||Total||Batsmen||How Out||Total|
|1||A Nayak||c. Clarke, b, Jones||0||1||Nelms (w)||c. Hitchman, b. Khan||19|
|2||C Iyengar||b. Whitehead||9||2||Harper||b. Khan||3|
|3||S Khan||c. Nelms, b. Jones||4||3||Weaver||b. Brown||4|
|4||R Wije’dena||c. Barton, b. Jones||2||4||Clarke||c. Khan, b. Hasan||1|
|5||F Hasan||c. Edwards, b. Jones||3||5||Burton||b. Hasan||36|
|6||M Patel||c. Harper, b. Barton||10||6||Holister||b. Wije’dena||22|
|7||H Ahmed||b. Bain||10||7||F Edwards||b. Wije’dena||0|
|8||J Hitchman (w)||b. Weaver||12||8||F Bain||b. Wije’dena||0|
|9||J Kotze||c. Weaver, b. Bain||17||9||J Blake||b. Hasan||1|
|10||G Saxby (c)||Not out||28||10||Jones||lbw. b. Hasan||10|
|11||P Brown||Not out||20||11||Whitehead||Not out||1|
|Extras W12 NB7 B2 LB2||23||Extras W2 NB3 B10 LB1||16|
|Total (for 9 wickets) (40 overs)||138||Total (for 10 wickets) (32.2 overs)||113|
|Fall of wkts: 1-1(1); 2-7(3); 3-15(4); 4-20(5); 5-21(2); 6-48(6); 7-49(7); 8-78(9); 9-94(8)||Fall of wkts: 1-24(2); 2-37(3); 3-37(1); 4-40(4); 5-81(6); 6-87(7); 7-89(8); 8-92(9); 9-105(10)|
|Bowling Figures: Whitehead – 8/4/8/1; Jones – 8/1/18/4; Barton – 8/1/14/1; Bain – 8/1/36/2; Blake – 3/0/27/0; Weaver – 1/0/3/1; Clarke – 2/0/13/0; Harper – 2/0/11/0||Bowling Figures: Brown – 7/2/18/1; Khan – 8/1/27/2, Saxby – 4/0/31/0; Hasan – 7.2/0/23/4; Wije’dena – 7/2/14/3|
Result ~ Win for Wimbledon United C. C. by 25 runs
~~ Wimbledon United ‘Man of the Match’ – Rowan Wijegoonawardena ~~