Match Report – Valley End vs. Wick 4s 18th May 2019
Cole and Kemp lead ‘old school’ 4s to Victory
Valley End is undoubtedly the most picturesque of the grounds that the 4s visit. This season, the players who enjoyed their day out in rural Surrey were rather older than is usually the case for 4s fixtures. In recent seasons the players in the Wick 4s have included between 2 and 6 Colts; a key part of the youth development philosophy of the club. The week, there were no Colts available, due to GCSEs, A Level and school cricket commitments. So the 4s team included the following cricketers (ages in brackets) – Houghton (48), Kemp (52), Weare (57), Higgins (46), Steans (54), Dunmore (48), Cole (47), McMullan (56), Maniyar (28), McMahon (27) and Cathcart (47) – giving an average age of 46.35 years! With no records to the contrary, this is the oldest team that the Wick has ever sent out into League cricket.
In stark contrast to the Wick 4s, Valley End fielded several Colts, alongside two former Kempton players who have moved clubs over the off-season. 4s skipper Dunmore called correctly at the toss and duly inserted Valley End – a decision based upon the fact that the 4s had batting to number 9 and were potentially rather light in the bowling department.
The skipper’s assessment of the 4s bowling resources was to prove to be incorrect, as the bowlers were able to control Valley End from the outset. Aquib Maniyar, in his first spell of the season, bowled 8 overs unchanged and picked up two deserved wickets. Ross Cathcart once again was miserly – 7-1 off 5.3 overs – and stifled any early attempt at run scoring. In his first bowl for the club, Mark Steans produced 4 very tight overs. The bulk of the pressure was applied to the Valley End line-up by Richard Cole and Tim McMullan (combined age 103). Cole hit his line and length immediately and was rewarded with 4 wickets, all of which were bowled. At the other end McMullan collected two wickets, conceding only 13 runs in 7 overs, including an excellent catch by McMahon who clung on to a chance from a fierce cut shot. Cole should have been rewarded with a Michelle (5-fer or Pfeiffer for younger readers and those from overseas territories) but a simple chance was shelled by club Chairman Kemp at cover. McMahon spun the ball and was rewarded with a wicket. During the innings Duncan Higgins, making his first appearance in League cricket, saved several boundaries with excellent fielding in the deep. The nature of the dives that Higgins produced indicated both his level of fitness and flexibility.
The 4s bowled Valley End out for 128 in 36.3 overs. The innings could have finished earlier if catches had been held. Whilst Weare held two opportunities at cover, 4 chances of various degrees of difficulty were shelled. Something to work on for future weeks. Valley End were led by an excellent 64 from their number 3, who played with maturity and skill (4 sixes) to hold the innings together before being last man out. Over an al-fresco tea that included both pork pie and excellent sandwiches, (7/10) it was announced that it was the young man’s 17th birthday. Well batted indeed.
Kemp dominated the 4s chase, scoring an excellent 67. Batting with complete control, Kemp never looked in trouble, and hit 12 boundaries during his knock. The only slight concerns that the 4s had were when Kemp tried to run out Weare (17) and when he managed to run out Steans (17). These blemishes mattered not to the final result of the match. The 4s reached their target in the 26th over for the loss of 6 wickets; the final two of which had fallen to wonder-catches, as both Kemp and Dunmore (11) were dismissed by superb one-handed grabs.
It had been a lovely day, at a lovely ground. The 4s ‘old school’ team had dominated Valley End and totally deserved their victory. Future weeks will undoubtedly see far younger 4s sides, but the writer of this report feels that the performances of Cole and Kemp will be repeated later in the season by these two protagonists or other member of the older 4s players.