Disappointment for Windsor as run chase comes up short
Windsor 168-9 (Noble 65)
A dropped chance here, an overthrow there, lethargic fielding in some parts, a slow start, not turning ones into twos and failing to win with 8 runs required from 8 balls with four wickets in hand. All are factors which may haunt Windsor in the final analysis of the season, but although ultimately disappointed with the result, this was a great game of cricket, played hard between two great local rivals, but played with a spirit which has been lacking from league games in the past few weeks.
Winning the toss Windsor elected to field, attempting to continue the good form that had seen them unbeaten in 8 games. Once again Windsor openers Warren Griffiths and Chris Edge turned the screw on their opponents and after 10 overs Slough had managed to reach just 11-1. Slough captain Mark Shepard forced the run rate along with his vice captain Anil Kakara, providing the defensive foil. Moving the score past 60, seamer Griffiths struck twice in two overs to remove both batsman, and the game was on. The accurate Rahoul Mohindru kept things tight from one end as Slough attempted to regroup and despite a cameo innings from Slough batsman Iqbal, hitting an assured half century, good fielding actioning a couple of run outs meant that wickets fell regularly from then on, and in the final over attempting to reach the batting bonus point of 175, Stuart Millman removed the tail for what should have been a very gettable 172.
Opening with the accurate seamers Ghazi and Sheppard Slough emulated Windsors performance and kept things extremely tight against Windsor openers Abdul Ashraf and Richard Noble as both struggled to gain any momentum. With local star Micky Salmon waiting in the wings with his spin, after 19 overs Windsor had only progressed to 38-0 and suddenly the pressure was mounting. After Ashraf was caught hitting out at Salmon, Rob Dawson struggled to find momentum and the run rate continued to climb. Wickets fell steadily as batsman after batsman were forced to play attacking shots from the off in difficult conditions and with 10 overs to go Windsor need to score at over 7 an over. This became increasingly desperate as Smith, Noble, Bullock, Condon and Dawson all departed and with Stuart Millman and Oliver Birch at the crease, and requiring 40 from 5 overs, it was Windsor’s last throw of the dice. Both batted superbly with hard hitting and running getting Windsor’s requirement down to 8 runs from 8 balls. A run out on the final ball of the penultimate over saw Birch replaced by Mohindru but with Millman on strike it was still more than possible. However a single from the first ball exposed Mohindru and although 2 were taken off the next, he was unable to get any bat on the next two balls. 5 required, 2 balls remaining. It was imperative that Millman got back on strike and although Mohindru managed to get bat on the next ball it went straight to the fielder and the run out of Millman a formality. 5 required with one ball remaining saw captain Edge face the last ball and attempting a heave to Long on was bowled and the chase was over.
A draw was what either side were desperate to avoid as this almost ends Sloughs promotion hopes and with two games to go, means Windsor must win at all costs to leaders Bracknell next week to remain in the hunt.