3 25 pointers in a row = Top of the League!!!
Following 2 very successful away trips, Windsor hosted North Maidenhead at the end of week of constant rain.
Tom Hartridge returned to the side following Harry Jordan’s untimely kidnapping and Windsor expected a very tough contest against their local rivals who had recruited a former test batsman to their ranks in the offseason. Weston lost his first toss of the season and Windsor were asked to bat first on what looked like a damp, green wicket.
Windsor again opened up with veteran Aussies, Nichols and Weston, and it was no real surprise to see North Maidenhead open the bowling with the left arm spin of their captain, Ashraf. After seeing off the first 5 overs conservatively Weston then took to the other North Maids opener hitting 6 fours off his subsequent 4 overs, however Weston was undone by some terrible shot selection when he tried to pull a ball from way outside off stump and was caught at mid-off for 29, leaving Windsor well placed at 38/1 at the end of the 13th over. Gould then joined Nichols and the pair played very sensibly and took Windsor to drinks in a commanding position at 80/1.
North Maids got themselves back in the game after drinks thanks to some good bowling and more bad shot selection from the Windsor top order as Gould (16), Huggins (8), Lines (1) and Malik (12) were all dismissed playing shots they should leave in the car park next week. Nichols held firm at the other end and raised his second fifty in as many weeks before being bowled by a peach of a delivery for 54. The Windsor lower order scrapped a few more runs but no other batter went past 12 as Windsor were bowled out in the final over 166. A very disappointing score seeing as they were 86/1 at one stage. That said the skipper would have probably taken 166 after being sent in to bat on a wicket that played much better than it looked.
Windsor kept the old ball and turned to the reliable due of Mohindru and Nichols to get things moving wicket wise. Windsor didn’t have to wait long either as Mohindru trapped the North Maids opener LBW with the 5th ball of the innings. Windsor’s grip tightened further in the 3rd over as the North Maids no3 ran out his partner, 2 overs later than same batsman ran out their no4 (who hadn’t faced a ball – thanks for coming) and the BBQ was well and truly cooking when only a fumble presented a third run out in the 6th over. Fortunately for North maids their no3 was then bowled in the 7th over by Mohindru before he could bbq anyone else, this left North maids reeling at 9/4, the game effectively over before their test match player, Aftab Habib, had walked out to bat (at no 6 ?). Mohindru and Nichols picked up a couple more wickets and Nichols was very very unlucky not to have Habib out LBW on 2 occasions, the umpire’s judgement sparing the entire TVL from hearing about that for many years to come.
Malik was then introduced into the attack to try and remove Habib, and after some words being exchanged between the 2 former pro’s, including accusations of ball tampering, Malik trapped Habib LBW and Windsor were jubilant, North Maids less so at 37/9. Some lusty blows by the North Maids 9 and 11 suggested they should be in line for a move up the order next week as they more than doubled their score and forced Windsor to take the new ball in the 37th over. One ball with the new rock is all the Malik need to finally wrap up the match as he had the North Maids no9 caught behind by Care.
Three 25 point wins on the trot for Windsor now sees them top of the league. Windsor were genuinely surprised with the ease of victory against a side they expected to seriously challenge for the title this year, had North Maids taken their chances in the middle overs they could have rolled Windsor for 120, and their batting was simply not up to div 2 standard. Windsor still have plenty of things to work on as well, some terrible shots at the top of the order and the fact they lost 9 wickets for 90 runs is still very worrying and will be punished by other teams. It also would have been nice to dismiss North Maids for less than 50 but Windsor seemed to be in party mode a little too early and Mohindru missed out on a 5 wkt all because of it.
Windsor travel to BA next week and will be looking to keep their momentum and improve in a number of areas, don’t forget to pack your lunch lads.
Nichols 54, Weston 29
Nichols-Gould 2nd wkt partnership 47
Mohindru 19/6/40/4, Nichols 12/6/10/2, Malik 6.5/2/22/2
Ben Harris back down at WCC supporting his former team mates as he recovers from knee surgery