Surrey Indoor League: 2 exciting semi finals sets up Wimbledon/Spencer local derby in the final!
Semi Final 1:
Spencer CC (110 all out) beat Guildford City YP (55 all out) by 55 runs
A big first game of the day, between past double-champions and top Surrey Championship club. Spencer CC batted first against Guildford City's swing bowling attack.
A decent early partnership takes all the pressure off, and Spencer's openers delivered in style. Scoring at 8 per over against the openers, Swainland and Smith went gradually through the gears. By the time Shah picked up the first wicket with a sharp caught and bowled, the score was 64 (10 an over).
Smith seemed to have plenty of time to play each stroke, scoring at over a run-per-ball to a classy 25. Skipper Harry Bardon kept up the pace in the middle order, striking with a correct technique and straight bat.
At 93-1, things looked very rosy for the target-setters. 4 overs later, it was all over!! The collapse was sparked by a run out - thanks to a freak bounce, and deadly accurate throw by the mid-off fielder. Saj Hussain then collected a drive off his own bowling, and threw down the bowling end stumps....Caddy just short of his ground. Bardon was caught, and 2 more run outs ended the innings in a flash! It's amazing how quickly the situation can change in indoor cricket.
Guildford were confident of their chances, well used to chasing big totals at their home venue (the spacious George Abbott School). But at Downsend the walls are tighter, and Spencer came out with attacking intent. Adam Caddy once again got the ball rolling for Spencer - 2 wickets in the first over last week, and a wicket in his first over today! Swainland took a brilliant catch, standing up to Guildford's star bat, Saj Hussain.
Yokut and Guildford's skipper, Zafar Khan, clipped away some 3s to get back on track. But talisman Swainland again halted their progress. With the score on 24, he raced to the corner to field, and hit a single stump on the turn. On many days, Zafar would get away with the risky single. This was another of an amazing 4 dismissals for the Spencer gloveman.
Special mention should go to Yokut, who top scored with 36 for Guildford City. But Spencer were clicking as a unit, and never took the pressure off. Jafri went for just 6 runs, and Bardon took the 4th and final wicket, changing the angle nicely,
Spencer eventually won by an emphatic 55 runs! This was no easy task, against one of the best Indoor League sides over the last few years. A younger team, with a 16 year old superstar already one of the main players, will definitely do well next year! Very well played both teams!
Semi Final 2:
Wimbledon CC (118-4) beat Super Sixers (117 all out) by 2 wickets
So could Wimbledon CC join their rivals down the road, or would Super Sixers propel themselves into a 3rd consecutive final? In fact, this fixture was a repeat of last year's final - so high quality was guaranteed.
Super Sixers - a team who play with an incredible energy and tempo - batted first, and the adrenaline was pumping early on! Yasir Ahmed usually keeps his side steady, but today was thrashing drives towards the back wall. He connected with a couple, before settling into his usual pattern. Arshad went off in the same style, but it didn't come off today. He was caught by veteran Tim Carter for 2.
With the game in the balance, Waseem Ahmed was steering his team to a position of strength. He has really grown the further tournament has progressed. His 25 retired was vital in keeping his partners from panicking. However, middle-order run outs were a problem, with Wimbledon showing great habits of returning the ball over the stumps (not just shying at them)! He was the 3rd to be dismissed in this fashion - feeling the pressure as he began to run out of partners.
Carlton Anand often gets an early breakthrough for his team. But on this occasion he was the man in the late overs. He disturbed the stumps twice, slipping the ball under the high backlifts of the Sixers' tail. This prevented the batting side from their usual rapid finish.
118 was the target. If Super Sixers could stay below the 47 extras that had been gifted to them, they had a brilliant chance of victory....
....alas, several early wides and no balls handed the initiative back to their opponents. Liam McKendry only made 5 runs, but did the right thing, hanging around and picking up the free runs. At the other end, Tim Carter was fluent, with shots on both sides of the wicket, behind and in front of square.
Super Sixers are not a team to lie down and accept defeat. They turned to their spinner, Usman Tahir. He upset the rhythm very well, and Arshad's medium pace was also highly effective. They kept the ball full and on one side of the stumps, restricting potential scoring zones. However, Carlton Anand held firm! Once he'd provided company to the excellent Carter until his retirement, he turned the strike over with his brother Eric.
With the game beginning to look safe for the chasers, Waseem Ahmed came on. His gameplan was to use sheer effort, to try and smash down every Wimbledon batter's stumps. He managed 50% of this goal! Both Anands were beaten for pace by yorkers. The equation had changed thanks to this fine spell. However, the retired batsmen returned, and player with even greater poise....and a little bit of audacity! Shot of the day was Carter's flick to leg from way outside off-stump, one leg lifted.
This homage to Alec Stewart carried Wimbledon beyond 100, and Sixers weren't able to force a 5th wicket, which would've made for a great finish. The target was achieved in the 12th over, and Wimbledon would join Spencer. A local derby, and a must-watch match whether it's Summer or Winter!!
Thank you very much to both teams for playing this season. It's been a pleasure to watch some genuinely brilliant cricket. Super Sixers played some of the most exciting cricket ever seen in a sports hall! Good luck Wimbledon in the final!