4s Defeat Staines & Laleham on a Day of Firsts
|Opposition:||Staines & Laleham CC 4th XI|
|Venue:||Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club|
|Man of the match:||Tom Dunmore|
|Prat of the match:|
The final match of the season resulted in a very impressive 4th XI performance. On a very flat King's Field surface the team scored a massive 256-4, before dismissing the opposition in 17 overs. The match included several note-worthy FIRSTS which are described in this report.
The initial FIRST was a week before the fixture when the decision was taken to select the youngest 4th XI since the writer joined the Wick. Three U16s made their FIRST appearance in League cricket - Harry Crawshaw, Victor Griffiths and James Flint. They were joined by fellow U16s Kiran Lathia-Hamblin and Alex Morjaria, along with U15 Tom Dunmore. U18s Jacob Povah and Zak Collier were tasked for the FIRST time with taking more senior roles in the side. In another FIRST for the season, there were a mere 3 over 40s in the team - Ben Houghton, Mark Steans and Nick Dunmore.
Having won the toss, the Staines & Laleham skipper invited the 4s to bat. Houghton was joined by Morjaria, with the latter opening the innings in a League match for the FIRST time. The initial overs were straightforward for the 4s pair, who ran 1s and 2s at will, whilst looking very comfortable. With the score on 26, Morjaria (7) hit the ball straight to mid-off, hesitated and then called for a single …… a direct hit ran him out by a distance. This was the FIRST dismissal for Morjaria by this method, and hopefully the experience has taught him a lesson about running between the wickets. Batting at 3 was Crawshaw, who appeared a trifle nervous during his initial few minutes at the crease. After a successful season in friendly cricket and with runs behind him, Crawshaw quickly settled into his FIRST league innings and set about dispatching the bowlers when they bowled too full. Houghton continued to pick-off the bowlers with placement and running, whilst his younger partner struck boundaries. After an excellent stand of 45, Crawshaw (19) was bowled playing all round a straight delivery.
Steans came to the crease at 4. The 2 senior 4s batters dominated the match during a superb stand of 105. Steans took his time to find his rhythm and timing, with few attacking shots finding the middle of the bat during his initial half hour at the crease. At the other end, Houghton began to increase the scoring rate with powerful shots off both front and back foot. A feature of Houghton’s batting this season has been an increased range of attacking shots and these were all on display during his fine innings. The total had reached 176 when Houghton was unlucky to be dismissed for an excellent 78, his highest score for the Wick. Steans cut in the air to deep gully, who let the ball through his hands. Houghton called for a single and was dismissed run-out as the fielder unexpectedly gathered and returned an excellent throw to the keeper.
Lathia-Hamblin (6) joined Steans and looked to attack the bowlers as they visibly wilted, but he didn’t last long. Next man in was Collier who quickly realised that his role was to support Steans, who by now was hitting every ball from the middle of his bat. Collier got his head down, hit the ball in gaps and gave the strike to his partner, in an innings which for the FIRST time was Collier fulfilling his ability with the bat for the 4s. The pair ran hard as the Staines & Laleham fielding began to feel the pressure and the scoring rate further increased. Steans hit boundaries all round the ground and brought up his FIRST century for the Wick to great applause from everyone. The pair put together an unbroken stand of 65 with Steans finishing 109* and Collier 20*. For Steans it was a triumphant conclusion to his FIRST season playing for the Wick where he has displayed his batting skills to the great joy of teammates and the dismay of opponents.
Over an excellent Ken tea Houghton and Dunmore decided that it was an ideal opportunity to invite Flint to wicket-keep for the FIRST time in a league match. Flint duly accepted the invitation, to great encouragement from his young teammates.
Opening the bowling from the Boughey End was Lathia-Hamblin, whilst Povah took the new ball up the hill. For the FIRST time this season skipper Dunmore was able to employ overly attacking fields at both ends. This resulted in Crawshaw and Griffiths fielding in the slips for the FIRST time, along more experienced close catchers Collier, Povah and Houghton. Both bowlers produced accurate spells, keeping the ball pitched-up and challenging the defensive technique of the Staines openers. Flint did a good job behind the stump, especially to the pace of Povah. A relatively simple catch was shelled at 3rd slip from the bowling of Lathia-Hamblin and Povah scared one of the openers with his pace. The 4s fielding was sharp with Collier showing his skills as a gully fielder. It was Lathia-Hamblin who made the initial break through when he accepted a return catch from the experienced Staines & Laleham opener. A second wicket followed with a plum LBW.
After 10 excellent overs both bowlers were changed, with Tom Dunmore taking over at the Boughey End and Griffiths, bowling for the FIRST time in a league game, replacing Povah. Dunmore immediately found his full length and challenged the batsman who were uncomfortable with his left arm over bowling. At the other end Griffiths was slightly wayward but produced challenging deliveries that were rewarded with his FIRST league wicket. It was Dunmore who ripped through the batting line-up. With a wicket in each of his first three overs – 2 bowled and one caught by the skipper – Dunmore bowled with huge confidence. His accuracy, pace and movement brought 3 further dismissals in his fourth over, all catches. The final wicket was an excellent catch by Morjaria at point who ran to grab a sliced drive. Dunmore finished with his FIRST 5-wicket haul in league cricket and career-best figures of 4 overs 13-6.