Young, Experience and Strawberry-Blonds

Date: 01/08/2020
Opposition: Thames Ditton 4s
Venue: Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club King's Field
Man of the match: Zak Collier and Jack Le Feurve
Prat of the match: Covid-19

The 4th XI side that took the field against Thames Ditton was perhaps a perfect mix of youth and experience. Youthful bowlers Ben Longhurst, Kiran Lathia-Hamblin, Ollie Morjaria, Tom Dunmore, Zak Collier and Jack Le Feurve would be supported my batsmen Dipesh Morjaria, Sam Kemp, Tim Sturm, Mark Steans and Nick Dunmore who are either in the 45+ or 50+ club. On paper, the side looked good and the skipper was confident of a victory against a Thames Ditton side who we played twice in 2019. Winning the toss and batting was the plan to achieve victory.

Having lost the toss, the 4s found themselves in the field. The Thames Ditton innings was carefully constructed but successive batters were not able to get on top of the accurate bowling of the attack.

A run rate of about 4 per over was maintained but never increased. Decisive impacts were made by the two strawberry-blonds in the 4s team. First, Zak Collier took two wickets in 3 slightly wayward overs to reduce Thames Ditton to 57-3. Collier has shown great improvement in his bowling this season, after his no-ball issues in 2019. In the matches so far Collier has mixed aggressive wicket-taking deliveries with occasional lapses in line and length. With height and pace available, it appears that Collier will continue to threaten to take wickets. The second strawberry-blond impact was delivered by Jack Le Feurve, who bowled an excellent 5-over spell, which claimed 3 wickets. Like Collier, Le Feurve has shown a great improvement with ball in hand and combines hostility with accuracy. At the other end Ollie Morjaria bowled 8 overs of lovely off-spin, which included significant turn and bounce. Morjaria’s 2 wickets were scant reward for the skills he showed; perhaps better batsman might have edged a few deliveries? With the score 111-8 Thames Ditton needed some runs from their lower order. This duly happened as the total increased to a close of 168, with two of the younger players mixing defence with boundaries. During the final dozen over of the innings both Ben Longhurst and Tom Dunmore saw multiple deliveries beat the edge of the bat, which was rather frustrating.

Over a paper-bag tea, opinion was that a chase of 169 on a decent Kings Field wicket with a bone-dry and fast outfield should be well within the capabilities of a decent 4s batting line-up. This was to prove to be a very fair assessment as the chase was achieved with 2 overs to spare and with 3 wickets in hand. The 4s reply was built upon 4 useful partnerships and one significant innings. Openers Dipesh Morjaria and Tim Sturm put on 24 for the 1st wicket against an excellent Thames Ditton opening pair. The openers were dismissed in quick succession and a stand of 46 followed between Mark Steans and Nick Dunmore. Facing the first change bowlers, neither batsman looked overly fluent as the bowlers struggled to find any control of line and length and much of the scoring was extras. After the fall of Dunmore (17) and then Kemp (4), Steans was joined by Collier. The pair found the boundary regularly and Steans began to dominate the scoring. Having put together a stand of 68 both batsman fell in quick succession, Steans 71 being his second half century of the season and Collier for a useful 17. A mini collapse brought Lathia-Hamblin and Longhurst together with 14 runs needed to win from 3 overs, with 3 wickets in hand. Six balls later the game was over, as both young batters struck the ball confidently, ran hard between the wickets and easily handled any pressure that was put on them to take the 4s to the required total of 169.

Everyone had enjoyed the contest and the fact that we had been able to complete a competitive fixture after the wash-out the previous Saturday. Next week sees the 4s travel to Abbey Rec to take on Battersea Ironsides.