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Match Report – Wick 4s vs. Egham 4s 11th May 2019

Frustration for 4s as Egham Claim Spoils

As the 4s enjoyed one of Ken’s super teas, conversation was jovial. An excellent batting display had accumulated 173 runs after an aggressive/unexpected/unnecessary (delete as applicable) decision by the skipper to bat after winning the toss. The King’s Field wicket had been ‘up and down’ as expected in early May and it was anticipated that the surface would yield further wickets. Two hours later the 4s trudged from the field, having taken 7 Egham wickets, but with the frustration of defeat. It felt like a game that should and could have been won.

The 4s batting effort was based upon a series of partnerships. The 2018 pairing of Houghton and Miles opened proceedings against one lively and one youthful Egham bowler. A stand of 20 was broken when Miles (7) did well to edge a ball that bounced significantly. Dipesh Marjaria entered the fray for his first outing in League cricket for the Wick. A classy left hander, Marjaria (5) looked in complete control during a stand with Houghton of 28 before he too was undone by extra bounce. Houghton, by now in control of the innings and scoring freely when the bowlers were loose, was joined by Steve Weare (9) in a stand of 33 before the latter was deceived by a ball that didn’t bounce. Next man in was Mark Steans, making his debut for the Wick. Steans is a long-standing Wick Colt coach and after a 20-year absence has finally decided to return to the field. After a few deliveries it was obvious to all that these years had left in place considerable batting talents. After a stand of 38 Houghton was unluckily dismissed for an excellent 49, run out at the bowlers’ end backing up, when the bowler deflected a well struck Steans drive onto the stumps. Houghton’s innings had spanned nearly 30 of the 40 available overs and had provided a perfect platform. Skipper Dunmore joined Steans and provided some acceleration to the scoring rate, though the pair were slightly hampered as Steans had tweaked a hamstring. A stand of 46 was broken when Dunmore (17) was bowled by a delivery that didn’t bounce. Steans, in partnership with Mandeep Singh (0) and Jacob Povah (1*), took the total to 173, and finished with an excellent 42*.

Ross Cathcart and Jacob Povah took the new ball for the 4s. Povah bowled fast and with far greater threat than during 2018; whilst Cathcart bowled with unwavering accuracy at off stump. Cathcart picked up the first wicket of the innings LBW, and then proceeded to beat the bat more than the Egham batters managed to lay bat on ball. At the other end, Povah also beat the batters with pace, and was unlucky when a sharp catch behind was spilled. After 10 overs the openers took a rest and the feeling was that the 4s were in control despite only picking up one wicket. Ollie Marjaria and Mandeep Singh took up the attack. Marjaria bowled 8 excellent overs of off spin; beating the bat with turn and bounce and only bowling two poor deliveries. His final figures of 36-1 did not do justice to his bowling. At the other end Singh bowled his away swingers, which seamed but didn’t swing. In the 20th over of the innings, Singh picked up wickets from consecutive balls from excellent catches – Cathcart took a high swirling chance running around from deep cover, then Dunmore dived at square leg for a one-handed grab from a full-blooded pull stroke. Egham were 65-4 from 20 overs and the 4s were bowling well, but with no luck.

The next passage of play saw Egham take the game away from the 4s, and frustration slowly took hold as the primary emotion. Tom McMahon entered the attack; Povah, Singh (bowling leg spin) and Cathcart had second spells as the 4s hunted wickets. The Egham batters began to play more shots and the ball went in the air; sometimes to the boundary, but also near to the fielders. The 4s bowlers continued to create chances – Cathcart (14-1) beating the edge repeatedly; McMahon (44-1) deceiving with flight, spin and change of pace; Singh (37-4) producing prodigious turning leggies; Povah (38-0) bowling straight and full. Fielders did not drop any clear-cut chances, but 4/5/6 half chances were created as balls dropped just over or just in front of fielders. If any one of these chances had been taken, the result could have been different. Equally, it is unlikely that the ball will pass the outside edge as many times in a 4s game this season.

Egham reached their target with 5 overs to spare and 3 wickets in hand. On the balance of the match, Egham deserved to win, but the nagging frustrations remained for the 4s.

Next week the 4s travel to picturesque Valley End.