General Collapse in Middle-Order dents title hopes
Saturday 26th August
Windsor 204 all out; 47.4 overs (Bird 92; Harper 5 for 31)
Finchampstead 2’s 205 for 7; 50.3 overs (Milne 82)
Windsor’s inconsistent season took another turn this past Saturday as they entertained Finchampstead 2nd XI at The Home Park. On a very damp wicket, Finch skipper Harper won the toss and put Windsor into bat first, looking to take advantage of the conditions.
Windsor on the other looked to attack the new ball early, promoting Charters in the order to play a few strokes. Only a good catch at square was to deny he and Windsor that good start. This brought skipper Bird to the crease and working with Davis the pair began to build a partnership. Bird was particularly harsh on the bowling of Milne, taking 14 off his fourth over. Davis (20), playing the anchor role, was next to go with the score at 66, when an uppish drive was merely chipped to mid-off. The prolific Millman then joined the skipper and again the runs began to flow at a rate of knots. Bird, playing in aggressive style, passed yet another fifty on the way to an 84 run partnership with Millman. With a hundred in sight, Bird was undone by the Finch leg-spinner and duly departed for 92. Windsor then lost Towse cheaply and when Millman followed for 42, the Windsor innings began to lose its way. Clarke saw the engine room of Nichols, Watkins and Grainger for under 20 runs and when Cornish were stumped, they were 192 for 9 with nearly 10 overs still to go. After stumbling past a hundred, Clarke miss-directed his square drive and was caught at point and Windsor was all out for 204 with 4 overs to spare. A disappointing score, after being in such a strong position at 150 for 2.
The Finchampstead reply started in an aggressive manner. But once Grainger had made the initial breakthrough, to a fine catch by Watkins at slip, the brakes were applied and runs dried up. Both Grainger and Nichols bowled great lines, regularly beating the bat and making run scoring next to impossible. When Mohindru took the 4th wicket, Finch found themselves in trouble and looking down the barrels of defeat. Then began a match changing and eventually winning knock by Milne. After being beaten all ends up by Nichols’ away swing, Milne settled in and began to play aggressively to the Windsor spinners. Despite losing his long time partner at the other end, Milne passed fifty and along with skipper Harper, moved Finch to within sight of victory at 190 for 5, with 10 overs to go. Cornish was then introduced into the attack and after an initial poor over, began to bowl with great rhythm. When he then took the crucial wicket of Milne for 82, the Finchampstead hearts began to fluster. With 8 runs to win, Cornish then removed Harper to another fine delivery. Incredibly, with the next two balls, Windsor had half chances of snatching the chance of a late win. First Cornish and then Watkins spilled very tough chances and Finchampstead snuck home for 3-wicket victory.
Windsor were left to rue their chances and their poor batting after the game, knowing that perhaps as little as 15-20 more runs may have swung the game their way. With only two games now remaining, the club are now 20 points behind leaders Bagshot and play them on Saturday. They will be looking to exert maximum pressure on the leaders on Saturday and need to play a consistent 100 overs to take the league to final game of the season.