OPPOSITION and VENUE: Old Wimbledonians at Raynes Park
Date: 2022-08-07 (Season 2022)
- Result: Lost
- Game Type: 35 overs
- Old Wimbledonians: 227 for 4 (35 overs)
- Salix: 130 all out (37 overs)
- (Salix Batted Second)
Report by: Rory Sonofsimon
Upon arriving at Old Wimbledonians I noticed that we were already off to a far better start than last year. Last year seeing half the team arriving late, only to be immediately thrust out to bat, due to the flurry of ducks from our top order (my own being of the golden variety). But this year we were there and intact, well nearly. (CK1) had misplaced his keys arrived slightly later, and (Sai) had the crushing realisation that despite his cavernous coffin contained plentiful ‘merch’ and Supreme stickers he had no whites. With our team making the slightly longer walk over to a sun blanched pitch we luckily had our captain with us to remove some of the weight of last year’s hiding. His dedication to the role was highlighted by announcing a carefully curated batting order ten minutes before the toss. His inspirational talk was rounded out that despite his endless dedication he was keen to the get the game over as he had a birthday to go to.
With us losing the toss and going out to brave the mid-day sun, (Dills) laying his body upon the sacrificial altar that is stand in wicket keeper. Our fielding warmups started in typical style with (Dills) first take of the day slipping through the gloves and striking him upon the nose. The bleeding cut would remain as stigmata from our very own wicket keeping martyr. He would go on to use his body in what would become an impressive outing behind the sticks for a part-timer. The new ball was handed to Salix swingmen both seasoned and new, (Azfar’s) wobble proving to much for opening bat with a maiden to start. And from the other end Salix debutant (Syed) proved to be a very handy pick up as he provided that very rare quality for Salix, pace and indeed bounce (with a fair bit of movement as well). The opening overs set the tone for what became a very impressive outing for Salix in the fielding department, with plaudits given to (Ben Sarif) who was imperious at point and on the boundary, though all contributed. Despite individuals attempts to highlight minor mishaps and a certain sitter dropped by (Raj).
The breakthrough came in the 4th over with a superbly taken catch by (CK1), on injury assignment at first slip, off the bowling of (Syed). The issue was that this brought to the wicket a certain South African #3. Despite (Syed) removing the other opener in his 3rd over, Old Wimbledonians started to build an innings. The first change brought (Adam) and (Raj) but by this point their 1st Overseas Pro was starting to pull away with a flurry of shots that was a joy to behold. In particular, a cover drive over cover for 6 that left all amazed and short of answers. The next change of bowling brought a change in the field, with (Sai’s) spin, we became far more conservative in a vain attempt to limit a now settled Old Wimbledonians partnership. A wicket did come in the form of a boundary catch well juggled and then taken by (Ali). Short bowling spells from (Ben) and (Ali) led to one of the other debutants that left us all optimistic for the future. (Hugo Bevan) bowled his full allotment and with some aplomb, 7 overs straight only conceding one extra, with a wicket and a very tight line and length. A brief spell from (Ck1) and a return for (Syed) finished off the overs, and we were given the somewhat approachable target of 227. (With an impressive 109* (ret) from their South African).
Following tea (Ali) and (Raj) took the field, after a slow start, some runs did start to flow. After a few nice shots (Raj) was bowled. This brought yours truly to the crease, and I did what has become expected of me at this point and played a couple of nice shots and then a plumb LBW removed me after once again failing to recapture my early Salix form. With the score at 33/2 (CK1) came out and did what he has so often has done and attempted to steady the ship. After a well-earned 21 (ali) chipped one to mid-on and had to leave the crease, sadly with what felt like a fair few runs left out on the pitch. This brought sir-blocks-a-lot (Ben Sarif) and it is with SBL that (CK1) started to claw us back into the game. A counter attacking punch and a smattering of boundaries brought about a 51-run partnership and the prospect of one of those lauded Salix run chases. But sadly, it was not to be…
(Ben) was removed after one of the best catches that I have ever seen, with the aforementioned South Africans taking a one-handed blinder at silly mid-off, standing barely 5m away. However, this did follow a let off in the previous over. Where (Ben) played a shot that looked more appropriate in a sand bunker or in WW1 mortar pit that was somehow dropped by their regular captain, who received the customary hounding from his own team. So (Ben) was removed with for a rather slow 11, coming at a strike rate way below 30 and taking nearly 45 minutes. Despite the loss of the partnership, we still looked in an ok position. But it was the introduction of the oppo’s captain and strike spinner that signalled the end was nigh, which it being past 6pm at this point was begrudgingly needed. Despite going for 5s in his first two overs it was his third over that saw the breakthrough, taking 4 wickets, including three ducks, two of which were golden. With (Dills) coming to the wickets at #11 and with (Hugo) being #7 having faced zero balls despite seeing 4 wickets, hopes were not high. And despite a couple of 4s swept by (Hugo) off their (now on for a 5er) captain the final week fell shortly after. Alas, it was not to be. although it did turn not turn out as close as we had hoped, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day in the sun with a friendly oppo and a good location.
However, there is much room for optimism after Sundays game. Both of our debutants performed very well, this and hopefully keen to show out again for our little club.