WINDSOR 230 / 7 (52 overs) 25 POINTS
MARLOW 197 all out (43 overs) 7 POINTS by 33 runs
An unchanged Windsor travelled to play table toppers Marlow on the back of a confidence boosting win over Datchet the week before.
On arrival the batsmen were delighted to see what would have to have been one of the best batting decks in the league. The skipper Wes Nichols was fortunate enough to win the toss and had no hesitation in batting first.
Oliver Birch and Craig Bird opened the batting for Windsor as Birch fell in just the 3rd over of the day for 4 after missing a straight one from Hampton.
Andy Chorley then joined Bird and looked in particularly good knick after dispatching a number of short balls to the midwicket boundary, however he tried one pull shot too many and holed out to square leg with the score on 32.
Youngster Vishal Nair joined Bird in the middle with the game slightly favouring the home side. What followed was hopefully a sign of things to come from the immensely talented Nair as he played a magnificent supporting role in a 72 run stand with Bird.
The runs continued to flow for Windsor following the departure of Nair, with both Bird and Mark Lines finding the boundary on regular occasions. Bird became the 3rd Windsorian this season to pass 3 figures for the 1st XI. It was a sublime knock from the balding batting bastion and really set up Windsor lower order to a tea!
When Lines departed for 26 Windsor were very well placed at 181 for 4. Bird, Nichols and Weston all perished in the final overs in search of additional runs and the innings closed at 230 for 7 from the allotted 52 overs with Malloch on 21 not out.
Windsor were happy to have obtained their early goal of reaching 200 and 10 batting points. The innings was built around a faultless century from their senior batsman who is scoring runs at will at the moment. What was also very encouraging is that Windsor were able to progress from 32 for 2 to 181 for 4 with 2 of its most talented juniors at the crease.
Windsor took to the field aware that they had a competitive but by no means unassailable total to defend. The message from skipper Nichols was to go out and enjoy the 2nd half of the game with a nothing-to-lose approach.
In spite of being felled by some over vigorous encouragement from Ben Harris, Nichols was able to take the new ball. To Windsor’s delight the first ball found the outside edge of Trotter’s bat and flew to the waiting slips cordon who showed great teamwork by both handling the ball before Bevan Malloch clung on to a very difficult chance, it was just the start Windsor wanted.
Hudson followed his team mate back to the pavilion shortly after, LBW to a very quick delivery from Malloch. Malloch who is in rare form with the ball has been desperately unlucky in recent weeks, and a big haul must be just around the corner for him. Paskins then showed everyone at the picturesque Marlow ground why he is held in such high regard as he as he cut his way to 44.
Harris was thrown the ball by Nichols in an attempt to dislodge the free scoring Marlow batsmen who had pushed the score along to 60 for 2. Thanks to some fine bowling, shrewd field placings and sharp catching, Harris removed both Aslam caught by Chorley at short-leg and Paskins caught by Weston at short cover. Harris then had Barton stumped attempting a swipe that Lloyd duly removed the bails too and the game had well and truly turned in Windsor’s favour.
The fall of wickets brought Marlow’s vocal and talented overseas player Dixon to the crease. He looked to take the game back from Windsor striking a number of boundaries and the occasional 6. Brinkford, who had joined Dixon at the crease following the fall of the 5th wicket provided good support until hitting a rank full toss straight from Lines’ first ball straight to Harris who took a very well judged catch just a few centimetres inside the midwicket boundary.
Much to the joy of the gathering home crowd Dixon continued to take to the Windsor attack but he was running out of partners as Hampton and Line were both dismissed cheaply. Nichols brought himself back on to bowl and both finished the game and silenced the crowd by removing O’Tolle’s off stump… Another 25 points for Windsor!!!
Craig Bird, cheered on by his young family, was undoubtedly the player of the match with his stylish 116. However the contribution of Windsor’s younger brigade must not go unnoticed. It was especially pleasing to see Ben Harris remove 2 set batsman with quality off-spin bowling, and Nair and Lines getting starts in Windsors middle order. These guys are now not just in the team on ability or potential, they are winning games for the club.
Although Nichols (3/32) got the figures it was Harris (3/47) whose spell really turned the game. Mohindru was again his metronomic best as Mallochs figures continue to contradict his impressive form.
Next week Windsor host Maidenhead & Bray, whom have replaced Marlow at the top of the Division 2A table. This represents the 3rd consecutive game against a top 3 side harbouring hopes of promotion to Division 1. The team has the form, ability and confidence to once again put a large dent these hopes and perhaps pull –off a third victory on the trot.