Surrey Junior Indoor League: Another exciting and high-class evening at Downsend
GAME 1: Effingham (109-2) beat Weybridge "A" (103-2) by 4 wickets
It took 4 innings in total to separate them, but the 2-match deadlock between Effingham CC and Weybridge "A" was finally broken!
Batting first, Weybridge's Faircliff and Francis assumed business as usual. Straight bats, clean contact, fast and aggressive running. This tactic has gotten Weybridge off to a flier on most weeks. However, Effingham's bowlers were on the money immediately. Lacking the width to easily clip the balls into gaps, Weybridge got a little too keen to impose themselves. A series of crunching drives zipped right to fielders. Despite looking in great touch, the value for these shots were therefore quite low.
Jack Matton and Luke McCarthy had a different approach, using more cross-bat stroked to find the corners of the hall. They were in good form today, despite slightly more risk involved. This picked up the run rate, but Effingham stuck to their disciplined gameplan.
All 6 players bowled 2 overs, and everybody did a job. Sam Partridge (2 overs for 9) was the most economical, and Joshua Spencer thoroughly deserved his wicket, caught behind by brother Sam (and ensuring all smiles on the car journey home!!). New recruit Max Durrant also proved himself to be a talented, dynamic player....his very first indoor league ball was close to being a magnificent caught and bowled.
103 was the final score. The previous match between Weybridge and Effingham had been tied at 102!
Weybridge's bowlers flew out of the blocks, determined to strike early.....this created an eventful start to the innings. Sometimes in their sheer effort for a breakthrough, they lost control. But for every 2 wides, there seemed to be another beaufiful delivery zipping past the bat.
Effingham have benefitted from fielding nearly the same squad every week. This understanding between teammates is really showing now. The opening pair of Partridge and Wing has been prolific this winter. Realising that wides were helping them along, they kept playing each ball on its merits.
When Partridge fell to a sharp catch from Luke McCarthy, Max Durrant slotted in brilliantly. The chase was superbly times, with a consistent run-rate achieved throughout the innings, and no signs of panic.
With the game seemingly won, Wing retired for a fine 25 not out. Weybridge sensed an opportunity to claw back, and went hard at the new batting pair. A couple of tight overs opened up the contest just a little. However, Durrant and Sam Spencer held firm. After steadying the ship, they calmly steered their side to victory, with 1 over to spare.
Congratulations to both quality teams. Both are still in the hunt for the league title.
GAME 2: Twenty20 Academy (154-2) beat Epsom (68 all out) by 86 runs
Twenty20 extended their unbeaten run to 3 games, with a solid victory over Epsom CC.
Twenty20 were put into bat first up. One of the team's best qualities has been the all-round talent from each individual. This week, Maneesh Patel proved his potential as an opener - after a couple of weeks patiently waiting for his turn to shine. Timing is the best feature of his batting, turning the bat face to thread the ball into gaps. Many runs flowed through through deft, off-side shots.
Ben Storey was ever-dependable, retiring shortly after his opening partner. This left the middle order with a fantastic platform to kick on. All 4 were selfless, scoring at above 1 run-per-ball. Alex Yates found his touch especially quickly, and crashed a couple of final over boundaries.
Epsom have improved immensely from week 1, and are now keeping intensity and spirits up throughout the innings. Freddie Windsor deserved his wicket, and another day could have taken more. The fielders also put in an energetic performance.
There was an early wicket in the Epsom reply. Nathan Edwards was unfortunate to be on the receiving end of the day's best ball....a searing out-swinger from Kieran Meah. However, the rest of the line-up kept their heads high. All faced more than 10 balls, with Ben Berry the pick of the batsmen, top scoring with 22. It took a brilliant sharp catch by Meah to dismiss him, to a crunching drive that would otherwise have been a certain 6!
The game was one of spectacular fielding efforts. Kieran dived forwards 3 overs later, to claw his fingers under another firmly struck drive. And in the first innings, Berry took a wonderful one-hander, making a difficult grab look almost casual!
Both clubs have upped their performances in just one month of matches. This can only bode well for the 2018 season! At the current rate of improvement, they will be a firm test for any opposition.