Farnham 139-6 - R Shah 3-54

A new season starts and an introduction in how not to play cricket. Our match preparation was much flaunted by a late arrival and a visit to the optometrist for a contact lens problem, resulting in 7 players being available at start of play.  Having lost the toss W&H were put into bat on a rather damp and not so well prepared track. It was hard to believe this was a premier league ground when good length balls tended to rise through chest height to the keeper. It was therefore a day to dig in and work the bowling to enjoy the right batting result.  Unfortunately, other than Scott and Qais, we failed to do this and some of our batting resembled a 20/20 version of the game rather than the fill 50 over. Most batsmen contrived to get out and it was only through the diligent application of Scott and Qais that we got to an almost defendable target of 138. Scott showed his ability to adapt to the conditions by playing a sensible role in mixing patience with aggression and Qais took note by also showing good application and the ability we all know he has. I look forward to watching these two players go from strength to strength and give our batting line up more solidity.  Our fielding probably was the difference as we missed far too many chances – I gave up at 9 – but our bowling showed good promise. It was never easy for Farnham, taking 46 overs to reach the score, and the game was continually in the balance. I was further encouraged by the enthusiasm and appetite to win in the field. It would have been easy for heads to drop with the missed chances but the team stood strong and made Farnham fight for every run. Good signs for a season only just begun.

Our innings began with much promise. Afaque took advantage of some early wayward bowling to get us off to a good start, the first 25 runs coming off 5 overs. However, Afaque (19) was soon to fall trying to hit one over the top and was caught at mid on. Jerry soon followed after being caught behind. Peter Day started off very promisingly hitting the bowler over the top, whilst not off the middle it had enough to reach the boundary. He soon followed this with another four and beginning to look the part when he had his stumps rattled by a good Yorker length ball. Scott all the time was applying himself manfully and digging in. Riz and Roger did not add much to the score before getting themselves out rather than the opposition, and Qais strode to the wicket. At 52 for 5 we were not looking likely to post a competitive score but Scott and Qais had other ideas. Both batting equally well built a patient innings and took the score up to 121, enjoying a 69 run partnership. Scott delighted with a number of pull and cut shots whilst Qais neatly clipped a ball for 6, with little ease. Scott on 44 unfortunately fell to another of his pull shots to be caught at deep mid-wicket and the game took another turn. Unfortunately our tail could only muster another 17 to be all out for 138.

 After tea a rather pleasingly enthusiastic W&H side took the field. Opening with Saf and Riz it was not long before both bowlers were troubling the bat. A missed chance in Saf’s 2nd over and some good intimidating bowling by Riz played on the minds of the batsmen and Saf was soon to get an LBW decision with the batsman stuck in the crease. A few sharp missed chances went by before Scott palmed a sharp chance only for Qais to pounce and run out the potential danger in there batting line-up. W&H were nicely beginning to apply the pressure. Riz joined Saf in the book, trapping another batsman in front and we were well on the way to creating a good fight. Riz then struck again with another lbw and shortly after the drinks break to further encourage the team. The tables however began to turn as we missed a run out opportunity and Farnham began to gain some momentum. Whilst we tried hard we could not gain the upper hand through a number of bowling changes. The re-introduction of Riz claimed another wicket and with 48 runs still to get the game was nicely poised. Again we contrived to not take chances as Farnham moved closer to our total. Roger in his second spell picked up a wicket but with 8 runs to get we needed a miracle hattrick to pull this one back. Farnham ran out eventual winners.

 Whilst it was not the best start to a season the positives far outweighed the negatives. Scott and Qais displayed good form, mental application and good fight in the batting whilst our bowlers gave it all. The fielding was lacking but never faulted on enthusiasm and the team fought hard together. Riz showed he had a big engine having bowled 21 overs on the day. Next week will need more application at the crease and greater concentration in the field and that simply will deliver the 13 point result ... oh yes, and no mishaps or late arrivals.


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