WINDSOR 219 (12 points)
MAIDENHEAD & BRAY 5/222
After the rain played havoc with the previous weeks game, pleasant weather meet Windsor as they travelled the Maidenhead & Bray to take on the new guys in the competition. Having looked at the form, the home side have proved themselves more than capable in the Division 2A competition, and Windsor knew they had to play good cricket to get the points.
Having inspected the wicket, Nichols, in winning his 3rd toss in a row had no hesitations in batting first on a belter of a wicket. With Chorley unavailable through study leave, Birch was promoted up the order to open with the steadily improving Chana.
The new opening combination started superbly, with Birch pushing Chana between the wickets. the pair put on 40 until Chana (18) was run out via a direct hit. Bird (11) than came to the crease and with Birch, built more momentum until he was bowled Bashir from a quicker ball.
Last weeks run scorers Nichols and Millman came and went without adding to the total, playing shots that suggested they where still batting on Windsors Home Park! Both where caught in covers playing on the up, bringing debutant overseas player Adam Weston to the crease.
From here it was one way traffic, as Birch brought up his 50, and Weston proved his worth, as the two ran hard between the wickets, pushing Windsor total past 150. The intelligence of the partnership was a subtle lesson for the Windsor boys as both took limited risks and took advantage of the defensive field set, to click at 5 an over.
With a score of 250+ on the cards, Weston (40) holed out to deep mid off, in a great knock on debut, bringing Malloch to the crease.
It was Birch though who with the 200 posted, scored his century with a trademark slap down the ground, easily the best knock played in the 1st XI for some time.
Unfortunately, when the side needed Birch to cash in he played a loose shot falling for 103, bringing in Davis. both Davis and Malloch struggled to come to terms with the pace of the wicket and perished in uncharacteristic fashion, Davis run out by the wicketkeeper and Malloch bowled playing a heave.
This is where Windsor lost the plot and continued to lose wickets steadily in the final overs finished with 9/219. This was disappointing to the extent that 240 was a par total and lack of patience by those lads meant that Windsor where behind the 8-ball.
The Maids attack bowled well at the death, but Windsor handed them a life line to win the game in capitulating for 4/30 off the last 7 overs…
Windsor need to value their wicket more and pay more respect to the opposition.
On a hard deck Nichols got the initial break through in the 3rd over claiming Khan caught behind bringing Bashir to the crease. Nichols bowled a threatening spell that had Kennedy saw best as he saw his life pass before his eyes as the skipper revealed his skidding bouncer that could have meant extra laundry for Kennedys mother!
In saying that Kennedy batted very well with Bashir and persevered, until in a great display of sportsmanship, he walked after a caught behind appeal off Malloch, which was initially turned down. This sentiment did not go un-noticed by the Windsor side.
At 2/80 in the 20th the game was on an even keel as Bashir and Kumar looked to consolidate the chase. They were going along magnificently, until Nichols claimed the dangerous Bashir to a sublime catch at 1st slip to Malloch, leaving Maids 3/121.
With the asking rate 5 an over, Maids looked shaky as the skipper than had Choudhary caught and boxing Maids in at 4/145.
With Kumar defying his young age and playing a great knock, Iqbal then entered the fray, and systematically belted both Mohindru and young leg-spinner Kellard to put the home side back in the game. After 6 overs of carnage, he departed for 35 (28 runs in boundaries!) and left Maids 5/195, with 8 overs to go.
From here Maids where in the box seat and Kumar brought up his well deserved 50, as Bezuidenhout joined him at the crease the score the winning runs with 3 overs the spare.
It was a superb chase from the new side in the competition and Maids heartily deserves their win.
It was a shame that Windsor, caught not bat better in the last stanza of their innings, as a score of 240/250, would have made for an interesting climax. In the end 219 was not enough.
Windsor have played well for 70-80% in their matches, but the small portion of the time they switch off has come back to hurt them.
Against Marlow, that final 10 overs certainly cost them a 20 point win and the final 7 overs against Maids whilst batting, certainly harmed them.
They really need to take ownership of the situation and all 11 blokes need to recognise that they need to play for 100 overs. Be patient, be sensible and concerntrate. With the division being significantly tougher than last season, every player needs to put their hand up and contribute.
The highlight of the day for Windsor was the knock from Birch. Now he has proved to himself he can do the job opening the batting, that many others knew he could, he needs to push his game into the next level. It was inexperience that resulted in him losing his wicket when he did, and although tough to admit, it had as much a bearing on the side not getting to the 250 mark as that terrible final 7 overs. the easiest runs you will ever score are those after 100…
Overseas player Adam Weston, had a great debut for the side and his continued performances during the season will be much needed! With SAF Glenn Du Preez set to arrive in a month, it will be a great contest between the two, to see who will get the 1st team overseas spot. At the moment, it is Weston’s to lose.
The bowling of Malloch 1/57 was also great and he was unlucky to only get the 1 wicket as he bowled much better than the figures suggest on a belter, as Nichols continued his good form claiming 3/51.
Next game against Chiswick at home is sure to spark the lads into action as Windsor make changes, dropping Davis and Kellard from the side and adding Hartridge, fresh from a 5/45 two weeks ago in the 2nd XI, and young off spinning colt Ben Harris, who has been turning it lately.
Fingers crossed the guys can put together a performance for 100 overs and get the biscuits.