Every Monday the league skippers converge together to select their sides for the upcoming weekend fixture. Linesy gets first pick and can do so sans query. SJ would go second, Charters third and whoever is left Karl Mobley takes into his welcoming embrace. By this logic, you would assume the 1s will always have the strongest side, the 2s the second best, the 3s the tertiary etc. Think again – sometimes selection makes little sense and this doesn’t happen.
Any way, in an unrelated note, the 2s travelled to Chalfont St Peter to take on division newbies and build on last week’s win. Gone this week were Pankaj and Nilesh, both making their debuts for the first xi. Also missing were Tim and Nobsey who were both home only. In were Ollie Hunt, returning from a long injury, Will Moss, discarded from the 1s, Guppy Chander and James Perkins promoted from the 3s and finally debutant young Yuvraj Singh (no, not that one) coming in to take the gloves for his 2nd team debut. The rest remained unchanged.
On another belting day, with the buzz of the FA cup final in the air, skipper SJ won another toss and saw an opportunity to bat.
New opening pair of Jag Bhabra and Mossy entered the fray after some rather immature debating over who would avoid taking first ball. Jag lost and was first man on strike.
The pair dug in on a bouncier pitch than they were used to at Home Park. Jag, having only faced 2 deliveries all season (including nets), was rather rusty. Having played golf the night before was not the tonic for his technique that he initially posited. It must be noted, Trigun was forced to do his umpiring stint solely from square leg after his horrific act of vandalism on Jag last week.
Slowly the guys got into it, Mossy his usual turgid in defence, waiting to pick off the odd run here or there. Initially the pair were aided by some errant bowling to keep the scoreboard ticking, before Jag found himself and started finding the short boundary before taking a full toss to the thumb that heavily inhibited his grip. SJ advised he ‘have a go’ rather than retire so he did and motored to 63 before missing a straight one; 109-1 off 22 overs. Mossy on the other hand dug in allowing himself to get bogged down, while young Harry Bicknell swung carefree to the boundary before missing a low straight one that rattled his pads; 169-2 from 31 overs. Mossy still trying to find his rhythm had battled his way to 50, and was joined and departed by SJ, who copped a nut on a pitch that wasn’t doing much to that point, but not after accumulating a quick 23 and avoiding the Chalfont sniper who I am sure was lurking; 192-3.
Windsor CC’s other Royal Chorister Olly Hunt strode in, a man regularly scorned by the selection panel and got off to a quick start. He and Mossy found a tempo that really pressurised the struggling Chalfont side. Mossy taking any and every half chance for a run he could get and Olly doing the same and stroking many a boundary. The pair pushed brilliantly over the last 11 overs, with Mossy carrying his bat for his first league 100 on the penultimate ball, and Olly nabbing his first league 50 on the final ball of the innings – delivering on the elegant promise he showed before breaking his hand last summer. Fantastic effort by the duo, laying on 97 in 11 overs.
A cracking knock from young Moss, who started to show this aptitude last year after a slow start has now converted some strong fifties into his first league ton.
After a lumbering tea intermission, Cinnabuns were consumed, fluids downed and pep talks administered; the guys strolled onto the field with the crime fighting duo of Brooker & Chander taking the new rock. It seems, the issues facing the county champions with the poorly seamed Dukes ball continues. Last week vs OMT the ball split, this time the ball had a negligible seam. Even with runs on the board, this was less than enthusing for trying to bowl a side out in any haste. Tommy plugged away for an opening 7 over spell and gave little away, in fact only 14 runs but without reward. Typical of Brooker to put a strong spell in, without the wickets to decorate his figures. Guppy did what he always does. Sugar Swing Singh, sent down his 55 mph seamers and causing chaos to the opposing batsmen. Guppy removed the openers, both finding the edge to SJ and new keeper Yuvraj. Soon followed a caught and bowled and another snick through to Yuvraj, who kept well for his first appearance in the side. Gups finishing his spell of 9 overs, 4-20 with 4 maidens, showing that being one of the clubs leading wicket takers in 2021 wasn’t a fluke.
The pair were ably supported by Perkins, Benny the Kuwaiti Swede and Trigun who all toiled away as two of Chalfont’s senior players dug in, their skipper batting well in his resistance. Eventually Perkins broke through, ending the valiant partnership on an afternoon that felt like it was going on forever. The downside to the lovely ground at Chalfont, is there are lots of bushes to lose balls in, and as we kept finding boundaries in the first innings, it took ages to get through. Add to that 5 seamers running in for Windsor, and you’ve got a long ass day. SJ finally turned to Windsor’s premiere allrounder, Jag, to conjure up his usual magic. Bhabra known for flying through his overs when not being dispatched would hopefully speed up the over rate, seeing as the seamers had bludgeoned Chalfont’s run rate to a point of little hope for the batting side. The energy in the field was exactly what you want in any side. Trigun and Harry charging everything in the covers, Tommy always leading by example, Benny throwing himself about as if on the loose in a soho nightclub.
SJ set up the traps in all the right places and Jag took 4 quick wickets including 2 in consecutive balls. Sublime catches from Moss & Brooker (Tommy is the closest thing to a sure bet under the high ball) as well as a stunning over the shoulder grab from Hunt were very helpful to the bowler too. With Chalfont on the ropes and the FA cup penalty shootout in full swing, Mossy finished off his day in the sun with a one stump run out to kill off the home side and improve Windsor’s unbeaten record.
Chalfont St Peter all out for 153 off 41.4 overs.
A real coming of age for the younger guys. Yuvraj stepping up behind the stumps, Bicknell carrying on with the bat and Mossy getting over the 100 hump. Judging by the talent on show in the club, it seems plausible that SJ will be leading a very capable band of les enfants terrible throughout the season as availability fills out.