Match Report – Wick 4s vs. Kempton July 15th 2017

Kempton Beaten by Strong All-round Display

The 4s won for only the 2nd time this season in an enjoyable fixture against Kempton. The return fixture against this opposition had been called-off by the Kempton groundsman earlier in the season, so the 4s had little idea of the strength of the Kempton side. It turned out that Kempton were fielding 3 father and son combinations, who were the basis of the side on a regular basis. Thus, the Kempton team looked like a normal Wick 4s team, with some over 40s and three U13 colts. But this week Kempton were facing a Wick 4s team which was the strongest of the season so far, on paper at least. Moazam Ali Rashid, Dillan Goss and Will Strange were all making their 4s debut for the season. The team also included Haseeb Abbasi and Christopher Cole, along with regular players Phil Miles, Ben Houghton, Tom Simcock, Nabeel Shahpurwala, Abdur Rehman and Nick Dunmore.

The skipper won the toss and despite the drizzle, inserted the opposition. The first 3 overs saw Kempton get off to a ‘flier’ as 30 runs were posted. Christopher Cole took heavy punishment from his first two overs from one Kempton opener but responded magnificently to this challenge; the remaining 3 overs of his spell conceded a mere 2 runs and he captured the wicket of the batsman who had initially smacked his bowling. At the other end Nabeel Shahpurwala settled into what has become his usual exemplary line and length. Neither batsman found it easy to score and he beat the back on several occasions. Christopher was replaced by Moazam Ali Rashid having his first bowl for the 4s. Moazam’s bowling appeared to be the ideal pace for the slightly damp surface as the ball moved a little and gripped which created continuous doubt in the batsman’s mind. At the other end Nabeel was replaced by Abdur Rehman, fresh from a knock of 75 the previous week. Abdur also bowled at the perfect pace for the conditions of the wicket and runs became a premium commodity. Having conceded 30 from the first 3 overs, the bowlers now had the squeeze on Kempton and as drinks were taken at 22 overs the scoreboard read a mere 75.

Moazam claimed his first wicket with a slower ball; becoming not only the first Wick player this season to play for all 4 teams, but the first to take a wicket for all 4! Abdur removed the Kempton bat who looked most threatening when Christopher held a steepling catch a mid-wicket. Nabeel returned for his second spell and continued to put pressure on the batsman. During this period of the game the 4s Achilles-heel was visible, as several catches (some rather straightforward) were put down. However, the ground fielding was tight and the bowling accurate and Kempton were unable to accelerate their run-rate. A tiring Moazam was replace after 10 overs by Dillan Goss who bowled a lively spell which was rewarded with a wicket. At this point the skipper could finally turn to the spin of Haseeb Abbasi, as the ball was dry enough for him to grip. Haseeb bamboozled the remaining Kempton batsman during a 4 over spell of leg-spin and claimed 2 wickets. Christopher returned to take the final 2 wickets in consecutive balls and leave himself on a hat-trick in his next fixture.

Kempton’s final score of 161 reflected an excellent display in the field by the 4s. The bowlers had squeezed the run-rate out of the Kempton innings; with Nabeel, Moazam and Abdur the primary contributors to this phase of the innings. Christopher and Haseeb had then been able to take the wickets to ensure that the opposition were bowled out. Importantly, the pitch was now playing well, as it had dried out after the earlier drizzle.

Will Strange and Phil Miles opened the 4s innings and were met with a very accurate spell of bowling. Both batsman took singles but were unable to find the boundary for the first 5 overs, before Will delivered a couple of meaty straight drives. With the score in the 30s the first wicket fell when Phil was held at slip. The catch fell into the category of ‘excellent’ as the fieldsman had

snaffled the ball just above the turf. For consecutive innings, Phil had fallen to this type of catch; the cricketing gods are sure to turn soon. Tom Simcock strode to the middle and immediately set about playing himself in. The 2nd wicket partnership was dominated by Will who played in a more and more fluent way before falling for 39 to an overly aggressive shot to one of the Kempton U13 bowlers. Haseeb joined Tom and the run-rate continued to accelerate as both batsman found the bowling to their liking. Haseeb fell for a well-made 19 when he picked out a fielder. Dillan was next in and arrived at the middle with instructions from the skipper to ‘get yourself a nice little not out’. Dillan (22* at the close) achieved this but in a rather more aggressive way than the skipper had envisaged, striking several powerful straight shots to the fence. At the other end, Tom was now fully set and took full toll on bowlers who seemed intent on feeding his favourite pull shot. When the winning line was reached, Tom was 60* and had shown again how important he is to the 4s batting line up. The fixtures when Tom is available for the 4s (as opposed to the 3s) are those when the batting looks far more solid. With quite a lot of batting unused the 4s had comfortably reached the 162 set by Kempton to win, with 8 overs remaining.

This victory took the 4s above Egham and off the foot of the table; only 20 points behind Kempton. With player availability hopefully improving it has to be realistic to think that more victories will be claimed this season and that a final league position 1 or 2 places higher can be achieved.