Match Report – Wick 4s vs. Egham May 13th 2017

A Match Full of Firsts

As the sun set over Bushey Park, Wick men and plus 1s enjoyed the FIRST social of the 2017 season. For those members of the 4s who were in attendance, this marked the final FIRST of a day that had been filled with many FIRSTS during a very enjoyable fixture away to Egham.

Upon arrival at Royal Holloway Sports Ground the 10 players of the 4s were met with two FIRSTS; sight screen and pitch cover not being part of 4th XI cricket at others venues. The team sheet contained three players making their FIRST appearance of the season; Ben Stephens, Tom Dunmore and Zarun. The latter is a Kingston University recruit (many thanks to GT for finding him). Nick Dunmore, in his FIRST game as skipper, won the toss and Egham were duly invited to bat given the rain that had fallen all morning.

The opening salvos were controlled by a new opening pair Simon Boughey and Tom Simcock, having his FIRST bowl for a while. The bowlers were supported by excellent ground fielding, with Rob Ritchie to the fore in his specialist position at backward point. The Egham batters showed limited appetite for risk, but possessed a good deal of luck, with Boughey finding the edge of the bat on 4 occasions. The initial breakthrough was achieved with a run out by Dunmore senior which had been preceded by an inelegant dive. The next 25 overs saw a steady fall of wickets which included a FIRST wicket in senior cricket for Tom Dunmore and FIRST Wick wickets for Chris Wakefield. At 70 odd for 5 after 30 overs confidence was high amongst the 4s. The next 10 overs saw a change in the weather as the sun come out and in nature of the contest as the home side responded. Egham’s #3 returned to the fray with a runner to protect his damaged heel and decided upon counter-attack. Ben Stephens and Nick Dunmore bowled a variety of medium, slow and very slow deliveries to try to stem the flow; Dunmore took his FIRST Wick wicket. However, the pressure started to tell on the 4s and catches were spilled. The assault was finally broken by Phil Miles who trapped the aggressive #3 LBW. This was a FIRST wicket for Miles in League cricket for the Wick, his previous 3 victims coming in friendly matches. The returning Boughey and Simcock finished off the Egham innings at a total of 166.

Tea was taken inside the Sports Centre, in a concrete changing room. The venue was odd and perhaps a bit off-putting, but surely a FIRST for the Wick players. 165 appeared to be a target that a strong-looking batting line-up could achieve, especially as the pitch was true and lateral movement has stopped some 2 hours previous.

Opening batters Ben Houghton and Phil Miles strode to the middle; by the conclusion of the first over Miles had been dismissed by an in-swinging yorker that rearranged the timbers. Zuran looked elegant and wristy whilst making 20 before he too was dismissed by a Yorker; though one that didn’t swing. Ben Stephens, coming in at #4, took a while to find his timing and sensibly opted to play himself in. Egham’s young leg-spinner bowled a good spell which included one over where he ripped 3 deliveries past the Stephens’ outside edge. At the other end Ben Houghton was showing the temperament and technique of an opener; playing watchfully to the good balls, leaving well and hitting anything short. Having spent the week watching YouTube tutorials, Houghton had kept tidily and with minimum fuss during the Egham innings, apart from one unnecessary demolition of all three stumps when attempting a run out. As the partnership between the two Bens’ developed the wicket-keeper batsman looked very secure. The innings reached drinks and the 100 was brought up. Stephens had now found his timing and the scoreboard was ticking over at a good rate. Houghton succumbed to tiredness and was trapped LBW, which brought Tom Simcock to the crease fresh from

8.3 overs and 3 wickets. Egham’s skipper continued to rotate his bowlers but Stephens was now dominating proceedings. Well struct boundaries took him to his FIRST 50 since July 2014 and a big 6 over mid-on concluded the match.

The Wick 4s had won their FIRST game of the season!

And so, to the FIRST social of 2017 including Thai green curry and beer. Later in the evening as the dancing began Ritchie, Houghton and Dunmore shared an ale or two and reflections were drawn at the bar. A team performance where everyone made telling contributions. A match played in a good spirit by two teams who whilst playing to win were playing to enjoy an afternoon of cricket. Having Ben Stephens in the side had been valuable to the whole team and his runs had secured our innings. One can only hope that the 4s see Ben again this season. Tom Simcock’s bowling was a welcome revelation. With bowling resources in the 4s looking thin on the ground until our University team-mates return, Simcock will undoubtedly be asked to bowl on a regular basis.

And a win, a FIRST win……