Surrey Indoor League: Wimbledon back to winning ways, but young Malden side make them work for it!
Wimbledon returned to their fortress, determined to overcome last week's setback (their defeat to Spencer ended an extraordinary 11 game unbeaten run). They faced a Malden Wanderers team made largely of talented teenagers. Both were looking for their first win of the season.
Being put in to bat, McKendry and Payne saw them into the 30s with little risk taken. They were adept at working the ball both sides of the wicket, unsettling the opposition with strike rotation. Both were run out looking to up the pace.
Malden Wanderers are the youngest line-up of the league by far. However, they proved themselves to be incredibly quick learners. The tactics, bowling and batting discipline was far improved on week 1. They fought back by keeping a tight line, and clever field placings. Watching players of just 15 years old, apply their skills so well against many club 1st team players, is inspiring.
At the middle stage they seemed to have Wimbledon in deep trouble. Tim Carter's hamstring had torn, leaving them effectively 3 down (not to mention at a disadvantage in the field later on). But Sam Dickson and David Wills formed a good understanding between the wickets. Dickson was particularly impressive, consistently threaded the ball between the 2 off-side fielders. Wills got a lucky reprieve - caught and bowled off a no-ball - but took full advantage, remaining for a 40 run partnership.
With wickets in hand, Wimbledon accelerated, but were pegged back by Malden's sharp fielding....who achieved 4 run outs in the innings. Matthew Bateman was also outstanding in the death over. He ended with magnificent figures of 0-15 (3 overs). 112 was the final score.
In reply, Malden's Jamie Essex shone, proving more than a match for one of the most fearsome quicks in the league. Carlton Anand bent his back, striving for something extra from the surface. Him and Dickson were continually hostile, getting the ball into the rib-cage.
Dodd looked strong, but was out caught to a brutal lifter, that he could have done little about. But Man's movement was sharp and precise - getting above the short ball, and darting forwards to the pitch of fuller ones. His 22 was a serious innings!
With the back wall rarely threatened, Wimbledon could afford to tighten their field. Mid-on and mid-off narrowed, and to complete the ring of steel, David Wills was standing up to every bowler. To claim a stumping off the fastest bowler is one thing....to have collected the ball above his right shoulder, only to whip the bails off in a single fluid movement, is quite another! His day could have been made even more memorable, if only a couple of big leg-side edges had stuck to his glove.
Malden's middle order began to drop behind the rate, and fell to a couple of small lapses. Another day they may have escaped unharmed, but Wimbledon were on red hot form by now....especially Dickson, with a wicket, catch and superb direct hit run-out.
Last man Jacob Stuart was left with 12 an over to score, but 5 overs to do it. For a while, he was a thorn in the Dons' side. Coasting to a serene 14, he certainly looked comfortable out there (perhaps earning a promotion up the order next week!!). It took an absolute screamer of a gully catch from Anand to end the contest. When most fielders are fooled by the ceiling, he kept still till the very last deflection, and scooped it up an inch before it bounced.
A good win for Wimbledon, but a far-from-comfortable one at times. Both teams can be proud of their performance. Malden's first indoor league win is surely just round the corner!
Final result: Wimbledon CC (112-4) beat Malden Wanderers (79 all out) by 33 runs