Match Report - Wick 3s vs. Battersea Ironsides 3s April 29th 2017
King's Field the Winner?
Cricket is a sport where the playing surface is of vital importance. Early season fixtures are more likely to be impacted by pitches that are not prepared to the full.
Both teams arrived at the King's Field looking forward to playing on what was by far the warmest day of the week. Inspection on the pitch showed a good covering of grass and rather a lot of green- the result of rain of Thursday and new growth. The Battersea skipper won the toss and it was no surprise that he invited Wick to bat first.
Opening batsmen Bilton and Simcock took to the field against a new ball pair who bowled with great control. It quickly became apparent that variable bounce was to be a feature of the match with some deliveries scuttling low whilst others reared to shoulder height from a good length. Wickets fell at regular intervals as the disciplined Battersea bowlers offered very few deliveries to hit. None of the Wick batters found attacking shots easy to play, with shots getting through the ball too early due to the lack of pace and bounce in the wicket. Deliveries that bounced more than expected appeared to be less of a challenge. Bilton, Dare, Basit and Dunmore fell to excellent catches. Only Phil Miles was able to occupy the crease for an extended time, and whilst he looked more in control than the other Wick batters, was unable to time the ball with any fluency. The innings closed at 68 after Graham Smith used his newly acquired bat to deliver a couple of lusty blows.
The skippers decided that 10 overs of the Battersea reply should be bowled before tea. Mo Basit took the first over up the hill and bowled a searing leg stump yorker to open the innings which demolished the batsman's stumps. With the next 5 balls being fast and challenging to the batsmen the thought came to mind 'can we defend this score?'. This thought was quickly discounted as the Battersea batters successfully countered the efforts of Basit and Smith and the pitch, despite the loss of a further wicket before tea.
Both teams enjoyed the offerings produced by Ken Gibson and his wife in the clubhouse and returned to the King's Field as the sun came out. Alex Dare had been introduced into the attack just before the break and was delivering sharply turning and bouncing off-breaks. His over after tea was quite remarkable: block, block, beaten, beaten, four, beaten. His next over started with a delivery that was going for a leg-side wide before turning sharply and missing off stump! A couple of lusty blows later and the batsman was stumped by Ben Houghton. This dismissal is one that offers promise for the season ahead; Dare was playing his first fixture for a few years and Houghton was keeping for the first time in 25 years. A single took Battersea to victory and the game was concluded, before 5pm.
It must be noted that Battersea appear to be a club moving forward; with 3s and 4s promoted last season. The side that visited the Wick will be worthy opponents for a full-strength Wick 3s during the season ahead.
Both sides rested in the bar, watching the 1s game as the clouds disappeared and a beautiful Bushy Park evening was enjoyed. The opposition commented on how they wished that their ground was as lovely. It had been a day to blow the cobwebs of the winter away and get out on the field. Despite the challenging playing surface everyone had taken something out of the fixture and was more prepared for league cricket next weekend.
Barnes CC v HWRCC 2nd XI – April 29th 2017
Some see pre-season friendlies as a waste of time - the threat of injury before the important league stuff begins, the inclement weather, the stench of last year's whites as the bag is opened for the first time since September (Ed).
But not here at the Wick. There were some new faces to check out, some off-season stories to tell.
And it quickly became apparent - the team spirit that served the 2nd XI so well last season remains. Especially when both the skipper and Ed Charlton were struck in the face by Barnes' answer to Alan Mullally. Cue raucous laughter from the boundary.
But let's go back to the beginning...
Collier stuck Barnes in to bat, wanting to get a good look at the bowlers. Thankfully a couple of the Barnes top five helped out by getting a half century and a rather good 140.
But despite the oppo amassing 273-9 off their 40... there were some impressive spells. Will Taylor (1-40) got some movement in the air and off the pitch and would have had at least one more victim but for some rather surprising teflon moments from the slip cordon.
Ed Charlton proved he's not a new ball bowler yet again, testing out Collier's leg side takes before returning for a much better second spell. James Adam impressed with (1-28) after he was politely asked to bowl normally! And Zeeshan Ahmed showed off his variations and with a better keeper and Blobs on top form could have taken a couple.
Sonny Patel took some tap from Barnes' centurion but also got two well deserved wickets and looks a real prospect.
Special mention also to Schalk van Vuuren who returned from nearly two years out after riding his bicycle under a taxi. The pace is yet to return but there were signs the old Prawn is not far from full fitness.
So to the run chase. Collier and Suggit opened up. Neither looked fluent ... and our friend from Yorkshire played and missed more times in five overs than Blobs did all last season - a splendid achievement.
The real star of the show was Haseeb Abbassi who smacked 57no and struck five sixes along the way.
Rory 'Blobs' Blanchard continued his decent early form with 39 before running himself out.
And of course Ed Charlton chipped in with an entertaining 25 which included being hit in the face and one of the worst shots ever to have been played (which went for 6!).
We were all out for 188 but for those of us playing our first game of the season - IT FEELS GREAT TO BE BACK. Bring on next week.