Match Report – Wick 4s vs. Egham June 24th 2017
Hitters Win the Day for Egham
Those of us who are cricket lovers know that one of the great joys of the sport is that the result of a fixture is never certain. One team can appear likely to win, but the result is not a certainty, as the performance of one or two players can turn a contest on its’ head. This match was an example of the vagaries of cricket; the 8-man Egham side chased 173 to win in a mere 26.1 overs. Two batsman ‘hit’ their way to victory with a stand of 130 against the Wick 4s.
On the morning of the fixture the Egham captain had offered to concede the fixture, as he had been let down by 3 players overnight. This offer was rejected as the 4s had a team assembled and playing a game is the whole point of Saturdays. With only 8 batters in the opposition, the 4s opted to bat first thus reducing the risk of the game being over quickly. As a team the 4s produced their best batting display of the season. During the early overs, Ben Houghton and Phil Miles provided a solid start to the innings against an Egham attack with pace and decent control. A third wicket stand between Tom Simcock (30) and Abdur Rahmen (40) was the bedrock of the innings; with both batsman showing excellent shot selection. Keeper Joe Hennessy entered the fray at number 7 with 15 overs remaining in the innings. Joe played a mature and controlled knock; holding the innings together whilst over 50 runs were added, before being dismissed for an excellent 11 in the penultimate over whilst looking for a big shot. Extras were the second highest scorer of the innings – Egham has slowly unravelled in the field, especially their keeping and ground fielding.
Over tea the 4s felt confident of defending 172. An attack of Simon Boughey, Nabeel Shahpurwala, Ross Cathcart and Cameron Bose was likely to take wickets at regular intervals. The reality of the Egham innings was rather different. Opening bowler Boughey took an early wicket at which point the Egham batters started to swing. Some orthodox shots were included, but many blows were aimed between the fielding positions of mid-wicket and cow-corner. The swishing blades missed the ball repeatedly and the ball was hit in the air. The quartet of 4s seam bowlers all beat the bat on numerous occasions; five hard/difficult chances were spilled by the 4s. More occasional bowlers were tried, but to no avail. A second wicket fell to the returning Shahpurwala, but the game was quickly over.
The Egham team were full-some in their thanks to the 4s for playing the fixture which could have been cancelled. The 4s were down-hearted, frustrated, angry.
Reflecting on the fixture 48 later has provided some perspective. It is very rare that two batters who play in the manner of the Egham pair will both ‘come off’ at the same time. The 4s bowlers created enough chances to deserve wickets. Whilst the 4s dropped catches, the ground fielding held up well under pressure. The batting display was the best of the season – this is the part of the game where the 4s are weakest and improvement is most welcome. The over-riding emotion is hard to define, but reflects the joy of playing cricket even when the game is strange and not kind to the team. On balance the 4s had bowled, fielded and batted as a team better than Egham; but Egham had won the fixture due to the performance of two individuals.