Surrey Indoor season kicks off at Guildford! Day 1 match reports.
We're up and away in the Surrey Men's Indoor Cricket League. George Abbot hosted the South Division.
Experience prevailed in the first round of matches, but our two newcomers can draw many positives from their performance. It is incredibly rare for first-timers to win their first ever match....the indoor format takes some getting used to!
Guildford City CC V Godalming CC
Guildford City CC faced debutantes Godalming CC in the opening match. The Surrey champions in 2014/15, and veterans of the Indoor League, batted first, and provided a textbook example of indoor batting. Saj Mohammed and Haleem Hussain immediately found all corners of the hall, with clever deflections. Mohammed would go on to retire on 25 not out.
Wides were a thorn in Godalming's side, as their efforts to stem the flow of runs were compromised by several leg-side deliveries. But eventually they found their feet. George Stow beat the bat 3 times with his extra pace and lift in the 10th over, conceding just 3. Wicket keeper James Clarke was also in good form, claiming 2 catches and a run out. This late rally put the brakes on City's middle order. Bilal Hussain (27*) was in fine form, however, retiring in just 15 balls!
142 was the final score, a very make-able total, that at one time seemed to be spiralling out of control.
Godalming were buoyed by their late rally, and their openers looked fluent from ball one....Clarke's beautifully timed drive that whizzed past the bowler. With double figures plundered off the first over, the chasers could dream of a debut win!
However Guildford City have a well balanced attack, with players who can swing the ball both ways. Their bowlers came back strong, keeping the batsmen guessing, but it was their ultra-aggressive fielding that seized the momentum. 2 direct hits sent Campbell and Stow packing....just a slight hesitation in calling enough to cost their wicket.
It's a high risk, high reward strategy (a few overthrows may be a price worth paying for the run-outs generated) that came off in style in this game. Some amazing backing up allowed fielders to throw without caution too!
After 5 overs, Godalming had just lost their second wicket, but in the space of 6 balls, another 2 men had departed. One run out and a caught behind, and the game was effectively over. The final pair were able to get going, both reaching double figures. But the game was wrapped up by Zafar Khan, his skidding full ball sneaking past Will Hern's defences. The LBW ended Godalming's reply at 66 all out.
Chobham Badgers V AZ Sports
Another side made its indoor league debut on Sunday. And their first experience couldn't have been tougher. AZ Sports are another past Surrey Champion club, in a South Division that is invariably strong. AZ Sports batted first, and lived up to their reputation of "getting the game moving". All six of their men are capable of finding regular boundaries....if one of them comes good, then they are capable of posting massive scores.
Opening bowlers Irsalan Shafiz and Ali Malik both forced batsmen to nick off in their opening spell, which pegged back AZ. But boundaries were being found at regular intervals. Anjum Zeeshan (40) and Zaafar Butt (43) crunched 5 fours and 3 sixes between them, making sure the run rate never dipped below 11.
Chobham kept good lines, but perhaps offered a few too many floaty half volleys, for the batsmen to swing freely at. Alex Orme was the pick of the bowlers. The captain bowled a heavy ball, and was unfortunate not to take a wicket. Just 13 runs came off the bat in his 3 overs. The AZ late order were able to swing from the hip, and Atta Hadi (25) also retired. They propelled the score to 164-3 from 12 overs.
Despite the enormous task ahead of them, Chobham came out with positive intent. Ollie Stuart and Alex Orme both got their eye in quickly, running hard and hitting hard. In the middle of the 4th over, they were dealing in sixes, and had raced to 42-1. Unfortunately, a slight hesitation between the two meant Stuart was short of his ground at the non-striker's end. This setback forced a more cautious approach by Chobham, and AZ turned the screw.
Ali Malik looked solid, but was caught before he really got going. Orme was bowled by a late-swinging ball from in-form Zeeshan. When all looked lost, Chobham's last pair had a bit of fun. By the end of play Abs Shah (25) and Irsalan Shafiq (29) both ended up with admirable scores, carrying their team over 100.
AZ produced a great team effort with the ball, and wickets were shared between 3 bowlers. There are no weak links in this team of gifted all-rounders.
This week sees the Indoor League reach peak activity, with 18 teams participating across 4 venues. Best of luck to all the teams. We hope you have an enjoyable match!!