The rarity of a Saturday match report! So, let’s make it a good one.

The 1’s returned to Charlton Road after a torrid 3 weeks. 3 successive heavy defeats, albeit to some of the leagues stronger opposition, had reigned in expectations after the jet-propelled start to the season. After the debacle at Risinghurst a week previous, the order of the day was a competitive, fighting performance, regardless of the end result.  

With the wounds of last week’s batting collapse still fresh and his two seam bowling aces back in the pack, there was no surprises when skip won the toss and elected to field.

Wilbury , fresh from the arrivals terminal from Thailand, and Mabbs showed no signs of ring rust as Will picked up opener Ale for a duck and Mabbs trapped number 3 Berry LBW for 4. Chaz and Tom Faraday, on home debut, were then introduced. Both bowled well and looked dangerous, Tom getting his reward by removing Strong LBW for 11 for his first one’s wicket and a jug.

Scott and Jonny came on third change, and when Scott bowled Mehmood and Sunderland in consecutive carbon copy full and straight deliveries he was running in on hat-trick ball. Sadly not to be, a leak down the leg side (thankfully pitied by the umpire and not wided !) . More importantly the score was now 112-6 and hopes of a sub-150 chase seemed realistic. 

Alas it was not to be, as number 6 Andre bludgeoned his way to a more than run a ball half century, providing evidence that this two-paced pitch perhaps required power more than precision to bat on. He was well supported by number 8 Iqbal for a key 63 run partnership at a vital time. Chaz was re-introduced and after getting the key wicket of Andre, single handedly cleared the rest of the tail, ending with a well bowled 4-43. This included a first Saturday catch for Wednesday favourite Jordan , who kept brilliantly all day. Words were exchanged as Chaz cleaned up number 11 Maguire for a goldie. “Miscommunication” he claimed, and thankfully nothing more than handbags at dawn, but enough to secure Chaz a pig’s award. After all was said and done, the score was an imposing 218 with no more than the expected 43 overs to get it in.  

Col and TPL began the chase in solid and watchful fashion, fully needed and understandable after the last few weeks, before TPL can count himself a bit unfortunate to chop on to Maughan for 15. Col looked back to something near his fluent best and rebuilt with the solid and watchful Jordan who came in at 3. The two passed the magical 40 mark, “more than last week” we were cheekily reminded by Simons scorer’s screen. By the time both had fallen, Col to a leading edge to mid-wicket for a well-made 36 and Jordan caught and bowled by Maughan, in later stages of his marathon 14 over spell, there was concern about the steadily increasing run-rate. So current and former skip set about bringing that down and both played positively, combining big shots, including Jonny putting one on the clubhouse roof, with sharp and clever running between the wickets. The 50 partnership and 100 mark were both passed, and the 200 initial target for the winning draw was now back in site. Jonny would ultimately fall on his sword, well caught on the boundary by Maguire for a more than useful 46. Summs looked to keep up the momentum and did so, before falling in similar fashion chasing the boundary for 10.

The game was now finely balanced at 153-5 after 36 overs. 47 needed for the winning draw, 66 for the win from 42 remaining balls and there was many a tactical discussion on the side lines, do we go for it at the risk of losing? or conserve and secure the draw to stop the rot of recent defeats. Correctly the former was agreed upon. Scott came to the crease to join Spenny, and with a track record of scoring runs quickly, perhaps the right man at the right moment. With the field now extremely spread it was decided more aerial routes were required, Spenny and Scott both dispatching Sunderland for big sixes, including Scott putting one out of the ground, earning the prestigious vibes award. As Spenny fell to a top edge skyer to the keeper for a vital 41, we were now in the driving seat at 172/6 from 38. Wilbury and Scott continued the attack, and aided by dropped catches and bickering in the field the winning draw was all but secured as Scott planted his 3rd six back over bowler Ale’s head. After Wilbury was finally caught out for 7, Mabbs was now in the middle and attentions were turning to going for the win. 11 from the final over required. For second time in the day Scott had visions of his name in lights but for second time in the day these did not materialise, Sunderland getting his yorker right as he advanced down the pitch, Scott gone for 30 from 16. Mabbs and Tom weathered the last 4 balls, sealing a successful home debut for Tom. A winning draw means 20 points in the bag, 13 for the visitors, probably fair after a largely evenly matched game.

A good hard working team performance and a positive result, if not tinged with slight regret having come up just 7 runs short of a memorable comeback victory.  

The ones next game is away at Abingdon Vale 2 which marks the halfway point in the season and will almost defiantly be more entertaining that England vs Switzerland which takes place at the same time!

Up the WAGS

 By Scott Saunders