Saturday 6th May, Whiteley Village 3rd XI vs Chertsey

(by Dominic Wood)

As they say in football, it was a game of 2 halves. And as they say in cricket, it was a game of 2 innings (and 2 halves).

Being the first game of the season and playing the team who were runners up last year, we knew it was going to be a tough first outing, but the first half of the first innings went absolutely our way.
We pinned Chertsey back with some superb bowling from each end. Dobzey beat the bat time and again, flight and guile too good for the Chertsey openers, and should really have had more return for his efforts, but equally a spell of 9 overs, 4 maidens, 1 for 14 runs were fantastic figures and no less than he deserved. Joseph Horsey backed up admirably at the other end with consistent line and length, giving little opportunity for the batsmen to get a start, and saw them scoring at less than less than 3 an over in the first 10 overs. Captain Roberts, injured in a 3rd ball dive in the slips and missing for a couple of overs to get his leg strapped, then stepped up with the ball and delivered a crushing spell that tore into the Chertsey heart, at one point taking a wicket an over, and finishing with 4 for 33 runs off 9 overs. Imagine what he’ll do off a proper run up instead of a “hobble-up”! At the half way point Chertsey were 89 for 4.

The second half of the first innings saw Chertsey fight back, batsmen 5 and 6 slashing this way and that, scoring 49 and 50 respectively, bringing respectability to their score line as they finished on 210 for 5.

So we started our innings knowing the score was in reach with positive batting and no better example of that than Matt Rowley who cut the second ball of the innings for 6, followed the next ball with the same stroke for 4 and again for 4 on the next, punishing the wayward length of the opening bowler.
Backing up Matt in the opening partnership was Ken who frustrated Chertsey’s other opening bowler by nonchalantly playing and missing and heard by yours truly umpiring at square leg responding to the bowler’s vocal discord with a calm “I think you think I’m a better batsman than I really am!”. Also heard at one point from Ken was a song about sailing up the Ganges which I couldn’t really work out but nevertheless Ken did his job well, taking the shine and hardness off the ball and scoring 24 valuable runs.

As if his bowling hadn’t been good enough, Smiler arrived at the crease and backed up Matt admirably with good positive stroke play, putting away the bad ball with some delightful shots and keeping the scoreboard ticking over nicely.

As Smiler departed with the score at 137-2 but with Matt still looking strong and with plenty of overs in hand, confidence was high for us to finish off the game. However, as is so often the case, momentum is crucial and as Matt’s superb innings of 72 finally came to an end, we entered the second half of the second innings and never quite managed to get fully back in control, losing some cheap wickets and staying only just in touch with the run rate, never ahead of it. And so it was that with Paul Taylor batting at 10 and Joe at 11, the final over came with us needing just a few precious runs for victory, and the final ball came with us needing just 2. “Bat on ball and run!” was the cry from the boundary, exactly what the boys did, and were desperately unlucky not to clinch it, Paul run out by a whisker on the second of the 2 required runs, leaving us with a draw but feeling in the end, as they say in football, like we was robbed.

Some great individual performances, a great all round team effort, and certainly plenty to look forward to for the rest of the season.

Man of the match – Matt Rowley