“Hmmm – a bit gloomy today” I thought, as I parked the car and walked beneath the shade of the oak trees, “with a definite hint of rain in the air”. Ever the optimist of course, but sure enough, as start time neared, the heavy overcast could contain itself no longer and a brief shower sent players scurrying, delayed the start and spiced up both pitch and outfield, thus rendering the new ball more akin to a bar of soap than an appropriate item with which to open the bowling. Skipper Gary, back in harness, had of course already won the toss and elected to field, so things were set in that respect and Wimbledon just had to get on with it.
A Sattaur and Dhillon opened the batting for the Casuals against the bowling of Greg – down the hill – and Rowan – first uphill warrior for the day, but the ensuing onslaught was anything but casual. Finding it almost impossible to judge line and length Greg’s first over went for 15 – while Rowan fared little better from the other end as his first over got clattered for 12, all 27 runs scored by Sattaur. The next two overs went for a combined 12 – play actually ground to a halt for a few minutes as the hunt for a towel to dry the ball proved unsuccessful – so after 4 overs Casuals were on 39 without loss. Greg’s third over disappeared for 16, including an aerial howitzer that went for five no-balls, whereupon Gary thought “time for a change”. Sameer Khan and Alex Herbert were summoned to the popping crease to try and stem the flow.
Alex’s first over got a bit of a mauling but Sameer‘s line, length and speed had absolutely the desired effect and respect was re-established (well, anyway – established). It was Sameer who made the breakthrough, a slower delivery inducing Sattuar into prodding up a simple caught and bowled opportunity which Sameer took with ease. At the end of ten overs therefore Casuals were placed on 75 for 1 (and in theory at least heading for a potential 300). Sameer and Alex plugged away as the scoring rate dropped, V Patel taking Sattaur’s place and scoring only two singles in his first 20 deliveries. Farrukh came on, together with Rowan for a second attempt, and the score had risen to 120 before the next wicket fell, thankfully that of the remaining opener Dhillon, who had just completed an excellent fifty, bowled by Rowan. From here-on in the scoring rate declined markedly and the wickets began to fall at regular two or three over intervals. V Patel was eventually dismissed thanks to a brilliant catch at wide long on by Sameer, diving forward, while James Flannery, having a day behind the stumps to remember (and maybe forget – thanks to the tricky conditions) engineered two stumpings to dismiss B Patel and P Sattaur for ducks. Some late order belligerence by the towering Stockbridge pushed the score past 180 and the final wicket fell with Casuals just north of 200. While a decent target had been set this was nevertheless something of a relief after the earlier blitzkrieg.
While another of Sue and Dave’s teas went down well in the pavilion, outside the weather was slowly but surely turning for the better and conditions were fair as Anand and Sameer began the task of overtaking the visitors’ score of 204. Anand was clearly on something of a mission (maybe just on something) and smacked his first ball straight into and then thankfully out of the midriff grasp of mid-off, taking a single in the process. Reaction at the boundary’s edge recalled that famous picture by Munch. Sameer was altogether more circumspect, although managed to send one away for four. Anand played through the next over, sent down by Ma Stockbridge, (no – not his mother!) but the final ball saw him trapped smack in front to be given out LBW to peremptorily terminate his mission and get the innings off to a faltering start. Alex Herbert joined Sameer but apart from one shot for four could fare little better and was soon bowled by Casuals’ other opening bowler P Sattaur in the seventh over – a wicket maiden.
Batting sensibly and well within himself, choosing wisely between balls to defend and those that deserved a hard despatch, Sameer by this time had gained a measure of control and had made 25 out of 31 with a series of boundaries as he was joined by James Flannery for the third wicket. As Sattaur and Stockbridge gave way to a succession of second and third string bowlers Sameer and James built steadily towards a significant partnership.
Under slowly brightening skies and hints of sunshine, Sameer went through a quiet patch mid-innings, while James stepped up with more boundaries, but as time wore on and the bowling threat declined, haymaking increased proportionately until both batsmen were almost scoring at will. Sameer secured a fine century and James went past fifty as the target was fast approached. In the 27th over young Jack Hern, who had been brought on for the second half to make up the last fielding place, tried his hand at bowling and was treated respectfully – for the first five balls at least – the sixth was despatched with vigour by James for a no nonsense six to take United past the Casuals total and secure a comprehensive 8 wicket win. The pair had done the business with an unbroken partnership of 176 (looks like that’s the third wicket partnership record for the season neatly parked).
A comfortable end was thus secured to what had started as a potential nightmare and things would have been more difficult if Casuals had not been without one or two of their more experienced bowlers. All credit to the Casuals’ team for keeping their spirits going in the face of some imperious hitting. However a win is a win, and a century is a century, so the Man of the Match Award this week is a bit of a no brainer as having excelled with both bat (121 N.O.) and ball (8 overs yielding 3 for 12) Sameer Khan takes the honours.
|Innings of Cuddington Casuals C. C.||Innings of Wimbledon United C. C.|
|Batsmen||How Out||Total||Batsmen||How Out||Total|
|1||A Sattaur||c. & b. Khan||41||1||A Nayak||lbw. b. Ma Stockbridge||1|
|2||A Dhillon (c)(w)||b. Wije’dena||54||2||S Khan||Not out||121|
|3||V Patel||c. Khan, b. Hasan||20||3||A Herbert||b. P Sattaur||4|
|4||Sa Patel||b. Hasan||5||4||J Flannery (w)||Not out||61|
|5||E Vincent||b. Khan||15||5||H Ahmed|
|6||B Patel||st. Flannery, b. Wije’dena||0||6||G Saxby (c)|
|7||Ma Stockbridge||c. Nayak, b. Herbert||27||7||F Hasan|
|8||J Sattaur||st. Flannery, b. Saxby||0||8||C Iyengar|
|9||P Sattaur||c. Flannery, b. Khan||0||9||R Wije’dena|
|10||Mi Stockbridge||Not out||7||10||C Phillip|
|Extras W16 NB11 B6 LB2||35||Extras W NB B LB|
|Total (for 9 wickets) (37.3 overs)||204||Total (for 2 wickets) (27 overs)||207|
|Fall of wkts: 1-75(1); 2-120(2); 3-133(4); 4-140(3); 5-151(6); 6-187(7); 7-188(5); 8-188(9); 9-204(8)||Fall of wkts: 1-5(1); 2-31(3)|
|Bowling Figures: Dean – 6/1/63/0; Wije’dena -8/1/39/2; Khan – 8/3/12/3; Herbert – 8/0/40/2; Hasan – 7/0/41/2; Saxby – 0.3/0/1/1||Bowling Figures: P Sattaur – 8/1/48/1; Ma Stockbridge – 6/2/26/1; A Sattaur – 4/0/26/0; Sa Patel – 2/0/25/0; J Sattaur – 3/0/33/0; E Vincent – 2/0/28/0; B Patel – 1/0/10/0; J Hern – 1/0/6/0|
Result ~ Win for Wimbledon United C. C. by 8 wickets
~~ Wimbledon United ‘Man of the Match’ – Sameer Khan ~~