Surrey Indoor Cricket League: Spencer overcome Churt CC in tense low-scoring match
Last Sunday, the Surrey Indoor Cricket League resumed. In these post-Christmas matches, the very best teams from our 3 Regional Divisions (held at Wimbledon, Guildford and Leatherhead) are pitted against each other, to determine who will be the Surrey Indoor County Champion.
This weekend saw our 4 quarter final matches. All of the games were tight contests, and we witnessed so many twists and turns in the evening it was hard to keep up.
We also broadcast matches LIVE ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE. Click on the link to see all the action from an exciting evening’s play.
Quarter Final 3: Spencer CC V Churt CC
Outer London's runner-up took on South's runners-up, in what was bound to be a hard-fought contest. This match started in explosive fashion, and continued to enthrall until the final ball!
There are bad starts, catastrophic starts….and then there is Churt CC’s first over. Toby Finneran clipped the very first ball to the off-side, and set off for a single….the kind that is routine at their usual venue at Guildford. However, the tighter side walls in Downsend meant the ball was in Harry Bardon’s hands almost immediately. His accurate throw caught Toby well short of his ground.
Number 3 strode in, and watched his batting partner stride back to the dugout within seconds, trapped in front first ball! Adam Caddy hit his straps from ball 1, and managed to burst through the defences of Churt’s no4 in his 6th ball too! 3-3!
Churt, a fine and experienced indoor side, did not reach this stage of the competition without having strength in depth. For the next few overs, their middle order delivered when most needed. Jon Palmer and Daniel Higgins dug in and repelled Spencer’s quicks, looking relatively untroubled in their 7 overs together.
Spencer stuck to their seam bowlers. Replacing Caddy and Bajwa were Jafri and Bardon – a right-arm/left-arm combination. Hitting a good length, they prevented Churt from scoring boundaries, although the pair cleverly picked the gaps every other ball. A bleak situation had turned into a promising one, thanks to this 50 partnership. The last overs saw Churt scramble to 80.
The reply - Plaistowe spell keeps game alive
Pursuing a target of 80 can be challenging. The bowling side are forced into aggressive field placements, and the batters can slip into a negative mindset. Oli Plaistowe gave Spencer a sharp reminder that the game wasn’t finished yet, having Chris Swainland caught for just 2.
The usually dependable Abid Jafri was next to go, again to the hugely impressive Plaistowe. He managed to find lift and movement off the surface, and forced Spencer into respecting every ball. He can be proud of 2-9 off his 3 overs.
James Smith was Spencer’s man for a crisis (a role he has performed well in the past). With things looking shake at the other end, he calmly went about his business. His strength off the back foot stands him apart from many indoor players….able to stay tall and in control of the rising balls, finding gaps where other simply fend. Spencer skipper Harry Bardon produced a trademark, resilient innings. Between the two, Spencer did enough to keep up with the rate.
Churt were giving absolutely nothing away. This was a class example of how to make an opposition work hard for their runs (just 2 wides bowled at halfway point). If Spencer wanted to win this game, it was clear they’d have to score the runs themselves. After Smith retired for a fine 25 not out, Bardon popped a chance up to the bowler, Higgins. Caddy couldn’t match his performance with the ball, and soon departed LBW for 3.
**this catch was taken at (possibly a world record) 5th attempt. Check out this heart-in-mouth moment below**
A glimmer of hope for the South Surrey club! However, cometh the moment, cometh the man. James Smith finished the job he started, and coolly knocked off the 5 runs required. His partner Bajwa only had to face a single ball in this time. It had taken a full 10 overs to overhaul the target, but Spencer had got there in the end.
Congratulations to Churt for making another Indoor League quarter final. Toby Finneran leads a talented side, who always play cricket the right way. Thank you sincerely for taking part in this year’s competition, and good luck this Summer!
As for Spencer, if they can play to their favoured pattern (bowl first, quick wickets, chase down a low total), they have a genuine chance of lifting the trophy on Sunday! This weekend’s matches are bound to be gripping!