Pig Chana Masala finally satisfies appetite
Windsor arrived at Finchamstead CC surprised and somewhat bemused to find the main ground had been invaded by a local church group and their clash with Finchamstead had been moved to the Finch no2 ground. Initial moans and comments about this were quickly abated once the team inspected the “no2” wicket which looked magnificent and very hard.
Extra importance was placed on winning the toss with a “scorching” 30 degree heat forecast, Windsor’s portly leg-spinner was especially keen not to be out in the field first in such conditions. Returning skipper Weston did the right thing by his mates, won the toss and elected to bat.
Weston and Nichols were once again united at the top of the order and found it tough going early on against the young Finch seam attack whom employed 2 men back at deep square and utilised the bounce that the wicket contained. The pair managed to make it through the first 10 overs with the score on 25/0. A change in bowling saw the runs flow more freely and the 50 was brought up just prior to the drinks break. Nichols was lucky to survive a straight forward chance that was put down at first slip and from this point on the Windsor veterans dominated the young Finch attack including Weston taking 17 runs of one ginger kids over to bring up his 50 and then the pairs 3rd 100+ partnership of the season.
Nichols was eventually caught at slip for a well made 41, Huggins came and went quickly and then the young Finch spinners dried up the Windsor scoring. Weston was dismissed in the 37th over for 68 trying to up the scoring rate which saw Mark “the Pig” Lines join Harmeet Chana(Masala) at the crease with the score on 137/3.
Despite no recent form to speak of, Lines looked in great touch right from the start of his innings, effortlessly pulling a ball to the midwicket fence. Chana started more circumspect but once he started using his feet to the spinners became very effective and even managed to bang 2 sixes over long on. The pair continued to push the scoring rate upwards in the final 5 overs and as they took Windsor past the 200 mark the both had outside chances of registering maiden first team 50’s, neither quite made it as Chana was caught at long of for 45 and Lines bowled off the final ball of the innings for 44, their excellent partnership of 90 was crucial in Windsor obtaining a respectable 229/5 from their allotted overs.
Malik and Mohindru opened the bowling with the old ball in search of early wickets, after the Finch openers negotiated the first 4 overs comfortably Kellard was given his chance and immediately struck a blow for Windsor as he had the Finch skipper (and arguably their best bat) stumped in his first over.
Windsor toiled hard and had no luck over the next 10 overs as the Finch batters took advantage of a wicket that had really flattened out. Nichols was introduced in the 16th over and it didn’t take long for him to get the ball swinging reverse and trap one of the Finch batters LBW, 60/2 at the first drinks game and the game in the balance.
First over after drinks, and following a disagreement with opposition supporters as to whose responsibility it was to move the sitescreen, Mohindru had the Finch no 4 stumped by a number of meters. Nichols collected his second wicket as Windsor turned the game to their advantage. During the middle overs, Mohindru picked up a couple more wickets and Chana chimed in with one also leaving Finch needing 60 runs off the final 7 overs with 3 wickets in hand. Windsor took the new ball and Malik picked up a wicket in its first over, leaving 2 wickets required for a Windsor victory from the final 6 overs.
Malik, Hartridge, Kellard and Nichols all tried to dislodge the Finch 9 and 10 over the net 6 overs, the only chance Windsor got during this period was a difficult catch to mid-off with 3 balls to spare, full credit must go to the Finch tailenders in not allowing Windsor to take maximum points.
Windsor took 14 points from the match in a game they dominated but couldn’t quite close out. Nichols and Weston continue to prove themselves as the best opening partnership in the league (averaging over 100 runs) but the real takeaway from this game was the performance of Lines and Chana with the bat in the middle overs. Both lads have played plenty of first team cricket in recent years without ever really contributing with the bat and nailing down their positions in the side, hopefully this performance will give them the confidence and self belief that they can perform at this level.
Weston 68, Chana 45, Lines 44, Nichols 41
Weston-Nichols 1st Wicket partnership 126
Chana-Lines 4th wicket partnership 90
Mohindru 11/2/40/3, Nichols 11/2/52/2