Surrey Indoor League: Central league under way!
Matches in the Surrey Men's Indoor Cricket League are now coming thick and fast. The Outer London, Central and South Divisions have now kicked off. And it is clear we have another competitive league in ahead.
The Central League was the final division to begin, on Sunday evening. And general standard of play was high throughout the evening from all 4 clubs (a 5th club will play their first match next week).
Game 1: Egham CC v Cheam CC
The first match seemed to be drifting to an obvious conclusion....until Billy Herbert's individual heroics sent Cheam's blood pressure - momentarily at least - through the roof. His 39 came in quick time, and he scored two-thirds of his runs as "last man standing" (the final batsman can bat by himself, aided by a runner). Throwing his hands at anything outside off, and swivelling to delfect any other balls to the back corner, he barely missed out on any delivery. This strategy took Egham to within 17 runs, before luck ran out....David Wishart backtracking to pouch a lofted drive, inches in front of the boundary line.
Had that ball been six runs, Egham would have been favorites to snatch a shock victory. They will will rue their highly disappointing first 6 overs with the ball. A huge number of no-balls and wides were gifted to the opposition. This respite allowed Cheam's openers to bed in, and coast to double figures. One of them, Safeer, battled through an early leg injury, to hold the innings together.
The first indoor game of the season is especially tough. Now Egham have grown used to the arena, expect a very strong showing next week. Congratulations to Cheam, however. After collecting the wooden spoon last season, this could be their year to shine!
Result: Cheam (135-5) beat Egham (119 all out) by 16 runs.
Game 2: Ham & Petersham CC v Worcester Park CC
Ham & Petersham CC came flying out of the blocks in match 2. 2 players retired and 4 reached double figures, with their innings never dropping below 11 per over. Nish Parekh was particularly impressive, scoring fluently in all directions, to retire (25 not out) after just 9 balls faced! He then returned to the crease in the 9th over, racking up another (only slightly) slower 25. The first half century of the indoor league this season!
Mahbub was the more steady of the retired batsmen, and he formed a perfect foundation for others to play around. Worcester Park had a few unlucky breaks, with balls cruelly deflecting off the walls and ceiling....and away from expectand hands. On another day, they could have made a breakthrough the slow down the charge. Probert finished his spell strongly, taking the edge of Afzaal late on. And Faller-Fritsch's reflexes were tested at slip - his clean grab is probably the best the league has seen so far!
The response looked strong at first, until one moment of indecision started a mini-collapse. Botting's innings was short-lived before setting off for a run, then sent back. Matt Probert was another to over-commit the the quick single. At this stage Ham & Petersham were on a roll, and all balls were sticking to the hand. It was a superb collective effort, that offered nothing easy for Worcester Park's batsmen. In the end this pressure forced some rash shots, with 2 of the middle order clean bowled.
Stuart Bradshaw rallied late on, but the game had long been surrendered by this point. A concincing win for Ham & Petersham. And welcome to the indoor league! Worcester Park have had some exceptional games in previous years. And will come back strong in 2 weeks time!
Result: Ham & Petersham CC (139-5) beat Worcester Park (52 all out) by 87 runs.