Howard turns up the heat…..
Windsor 2nd XI 301 off 44.2 overs (Howard 113) (Stark 3 for 39)
Enfield 2nd XI 261 for 9 of 45 overs (Chapman 89, Barber 61)
After a disappointing loss last weekend, Windsor were fired up to win against Enfield at Home park on Saturday. This was the 2nd XI’s 3rd match at home in as many weeks! Windsor lost the toss with both captains wanting to bowl first, as both said that their batting was stronger then their bowling…. so Windsor were stuck in on a dry and fairly lively track for this early in the season. Baber was brought up to keep wicket this week in place of the injured Smith.
Windsor lost Condon early in the 2nd over and Mirza came in at 3 to try and give Windsor a solid platform. Noble and Mirza looked in touch and pushed the ball round confidently. Windsor raced to 48 off 7 overs. Windsor 2nd XI bat down to at least 8 and were confident that we could post over 200 with the weak bowling attack Enfield put out. But when George came in Windsor were struggling a little with keeping wickets in tact but runs were still flowing. George picked up from last week and confidently hit the ball around and pushed the score along well reaching a well deserved 35. Windsor’s middle order in Rodwell and Alam lost their wickets quickly and Windsor were on 112-5, which made Hill worry that we may not post 150! Smith had dropped down the order this week due to an injured thumb sustained in the Cockspur cup game. In comes Howard to steady the ship, playing lovely drives and cut shots off some inconsitient bowling. Smith could only face 5 balls before retiring hurt and this brought Hill into the fray earlier than he would have liked. Wanting to calm things down, Hill played a solid defensive game (mainly due to being out of touch and worries hitting out may cost his wicket). Hill was happy for Howard to start giving it ‘the long handle’ from the other end and was happy giving him strike. Hill then got out to the softest of caught and bowled ever seen on Home park! Baber, from the word go, offered solid attacking support for Howard who was now punishing every poor delivery, before caught on a superb 113. Baber also got a richly deserved 39 to take Windsor over the 300 mark off 44.2 overs
Hill, very happy with the total posted, and giving Howard a rest after his heroics with the bat, opened from the river end with Jones opening from the castle end. Hill troubled the batsmen early on, but struggled to find length and rhythm. Jones, bowling nice lines, and most balls on a length managed to take a few wickets. Howard replaced Hill from the river end, and despite his tiredness, bowled some excellent line and length. Mirza, was brought on at the castle end after Chapman started getting after the seamer’s ending on a very good 89. Mirza was confusing the batsman with his pace of spin and he missed the outside edge a number of times. Hill knew that in the last ten overs Enfield would be pushed to chase down the total set, and so turned to ‘pure gas’ bowler Condon to make the breakthrough. Alam bowled a few overs from the castle end to tie up the Enfield batsmen. With Condon’s pace and accuracy, excellent fielding, restricted the flow of runs to leave Enfield needing over 40 runs to win at the end.
With huge numbers available for the first league game against Aldershot 1st XI this coming sat, some tough selection decisions face the teams this week. Hill has again taken a lot of positives from this win and is happy with the strength of the team and the team spirit shown on the field. Changes in batting order and bowling attack are needed however as the bowlers need to generate more penetration of the top order and need to up their game for the predicted strong Aldershot side. Bring the league on!!!!