5th XI Cricket Personified
|Opposition:||Wimbledonians CC 5th XI|
|Venue:||Raynes Park SPorts Ground|
|Man of the match:||Fin Pickrell|
|Prat of the match:|
If a cricket team or a cricket match can be viewed as a person, who should it be? A 1st XI team could be seen as the tear-away fast bowler or skilled opening batsman. A league match with promotion or relegation on the line could be represented by a skipper marshalling the team to victory. The personification of a 5th XI fixture is very different, as the match is a friendly and the concept of 5th XI cricket is all about opportunity for all, development of younger players and families taking the field together. As the Wimbledonians and Wick 5s gathered at Raynes Park Sports Ground it was clear that the assembled players were the personification of 5s cricket: 9 players U17 or younger and 7 representative of the over-45 age category. The Wick side included father and child pairings from the Goodwin, Morjaria and Pickrell families.
The pitch looked decent, the weather was OK but rather windy and the Wimbledonians skipper chose to bat after winning the toss. 5s skipper Rob Ritchie opened with two regular 5s performers this season, U16 Paige Goodwin and Ben Chapman. The Wimbledonians openers looked to have secure defensive techniques aligned with the ability to attack anything short or wide. It was Chapman who secured the first wicket, trapping the more aggressive opener LBW. Chapman’s spell was his best of the season so far (and his best for a while?) with full length, swinging deliveries challenging the batters. Skipper Ritchie next introduced Lee Pickrell and U14 Leo Morjaria into the attack. Pickrell senior bowled a variety of challenging spinning deliveries, mixed with some that were more wayward. At the other end Morjaria junior struggled with his length as he took on the ‘uphill into the wind’ role for the first time. The two senior Wimbledonians batters took advantage and pushed the score forward at a reasonable rate whilst building a 54 run stand.
Skipper Ritchie responded by bringing debutant U16 Fin Pickrell into the attack to replace Morjaria. Pickrell junior immediately settled into good length bowling and was rewarded with a wicket in his first over when the stubborn opener played-on whilst driving. With the score 83-3 the game was well balanced with either side having an opportunity to claim an advantage. It was the Wick 5s who took control over the remainder of the innings with accurate bowling well supported by catching and ground fielding. With runs hard to acquire for the Wimbledonians middle and lower order wickets fell at regular intervals. Pickrell junior claimed two further victims - one a spectacular diving catch by Chapman onto the astro pitch at midwicket - to finish with figures of 4-1-5-3. At the other end Nick Dunmore claimed two wickets during 4 overs of straight slow variations. Ted Goodwin bamboozled with his sharp leg-spin and also claimed two wickets. As the innings approached the 30 over mark, Ritchie turned to his opening bowlers to finish proceedings. Both Paige Goodwin and Chapman picked up a wicket that was well deserved from their opening efforts.
A total of 121 was good reward for a consistent Wick bowling and fielding effort that would have been appropriate for a 4th XI league fixture. Over an al-fresco tea offering from the host club, the 5s concluded that 122 should be straightforward to chase, but that as always in a cricket match at this standard there was risk with the batting.
Dipesh Morjaria and Ted Goodwin opened the 5s innings. Goodwin was quickly into his stride, with powerful shots through the offside when width was offered. At the other end Morjaria was more cautious, due to nursing a fractured thumb that he has sustained 3 weeks prior whilst surfing in Cornwell. The pair scored at 4 runs per over against accurate Wimbledonians bowling but didn’t look in any trouble. The score had passed 50 when Morjaria (14) was well caught by the keeper having gloved a ball down the leg-sed. Steve Hursell joined Goodwin and after one aerial drive settled in to a very composed innings. Goodwin fell for an excellent 42 as the bowling was changed by the Wimbledonians skipper, who was utilising his youthful bowling attack very well. In at number 4 for the Wick 5s was debutant Pickrell snr who made a quick-fire 8. Skipper Ritchie joined Hursell and the pair accumulated runs in a confident manner. Ritchie (15) and Hursell (23) have been the main-stays of the 5s batting during the last two seasons and both looked very comfortable in their run-scoring plans. When both batters fell with 20 runs need to win the equation looked comfortable for the 5s; 20 runs needed, 5 wickets in hand and 11 overs remaining.
Imran Dhalla, who had earlier had a good game behind the stumps, was joined at the crease by Dunmore. The youthful Wimbledonians bowlers had a spring in their step after claiming two wickets and they kept the pressure on with tight bowling. The only runs came in extras before Dhalla received three loose deliveries; two were hit for runs and Dhalla (6) was unlucky to drag the third, a wide leg side ball, onto his stumps. The next two batters fell in 3 balls; Paige Goodwin joined the Primary Club and Lee Pickrell (4) fell to his attacking instincts. The 5s had lost 3 wickets in one over and now needed 5 to win as Leo Morjaria joined Dunmore at the crease. Morjaria showed calmness beyond his years as he took most of the strike. Two extras, a single to Dunmore (1*) and then Morjaria (2*) struck the winning runs to take the 5s to the required total of 122.
As the sides reflected on the afternoon with a beer in the sunshine everyone agreed that the match had been a great example of the 5th XI cricket which is played locally; perhaps the personification of this cricket.