There was drama before a ball was bowled at Home Park on Saturday 26 th
August. On his return to the side, Dean Allen-Turner took out his frustration at
losing his opening spot by hitting balls as hard as he could during the warm-up.
Upon seeing Dave Willmott, the very man who had stolen his spot, Dean
unleashed a particularly ferocious blow. Dave caught the ball in a nonchalant
fashion but put his back out in the process. He had to spend most of the rest of
the day horizontal. Luckily, Vinay Vasita was on hand to step in for Dave and
make up Windsor’s XI.
Windsor captain Mark Lines won the toss and decided to bowl first on a slightly
damp pitch. Credit must go to Lines and Kai Ziemkendorf for their efforts on
Thursday night, scooping water from the pitch with pint glasses, which allowed
us to have a playable pitch. Windsor started well, Ziemkendorf and Charlie
Jackson applying early pressure. Kai in particular bowled very well, and
removed opener Jessup, before two wickets in two balls dismissed Jathavedan
and Mahoney. The first of those deliveries was unplayable, the ball angling in
before darting away to take out the off stump. This left White Waltham at 23-3.
Jackson was unlucky to have a very tough catch dropped in the gully, but the
decision to keep Ziemkendorf on for a sixth over paid dividends. From the first
ball of the over, captain Ben Scarborough skewed a drive into the gully where
Vishal Nair leapt like a salmon to pluck one of the best catches I have ever seen.
Running in to celebrate I wondered if Vishal, his hair still perfectly manicured,
was man, god, or something in between.
Ziemkendorf was out of the attack but not out of the action. He took a skier at
point in Ollie Jordan’s first over, reducing White Waltham to 48-5, and Jordan
and Ryan Lewin settled into probing, economical spells. Wickets fell at regular
intervals, and Jordan finished with 3-16 from his 8 overs, including the wicket
of opener Metherell for the match’s top score of 24. Lewin’s figures read 1-9 (it
should have been 14 due to a 5 wides but he whinged so much about it that
we’ll just let him have it). Ziemkendorf returned to try to claim his five-for, and
was unlucky not to do so, finishing with figures of 4-29 from 8. Chris Dixon
came into the attack and polished off the innings efficiently, finishing with 2-4
as White Waltham were bowled out for 82 in 33.2 overs.
The chase was never going to be easy on this pitch, but Windsor started well,
with openers Dixon and Allen-Turner reaching 20 without loss. Two wickets
fell in quick succession, as Dixon was caught in the covers and Allen-Turner
was trapped lbw, both off the bowling of Luke Beard. Allen-Turner top-scored
with 17, although the way he spoke about top-scoring one would have been
forgiven for thinking he made 117. Ryan Lewin and Vishal Nair moved the
score along to 48-2, both men playing some pleasing shots through midwicket,
before Lewin also fell to the bowling of Beard.
Leg-spinner Cloudesley Long was brought into the attack at this point, and he
began an economical and threatening spell. The pitch was responding well to
spin, and Long’s first three overs were all maidens, with Nair dismissed in the
third of those when top-edging a sweep. With Rahul Mohindru bowling tightly
at the other end, scoring was very difficult and White Waltham kept a grip on
the run rate. Long had Ollie Jordan caught behind to reduce Windsor to 59-5,
which brought Mark Lines to the crease. Lines immediately went on the attack,
making what the opposition later described as a ‘game-changing 12.’ The score
ticked along to 75-5, before Lines hit a drive to cover and Vinay Vasita was
trapped in front first ball, both off the bowling of Long.
This brought Kai Ziemkendorf to the crease and he decided the best way to get
the remaining runs was in singles, regardless of whether a single was actually
available or not. Several U-turns and close calls later, Windsor had scraped to
83-7 in 31.2 overs to win by 3 wickets, with Ziemkendorf and Tom Lilburn the
not out batsmen. It was an enjoyable game, and it was a pleasure to discuss it
with the opposition over a beer afterwards. The victory keeps Windsor 3 points
clear of Royal Ascot at the top of the table, and the top-of -the-table match away
at Ascot next week promises to be an exciting one.