WINDSOR 196 (10 points)
DATCHET 4/196 (20 points)
The Thames Valley League finally got underway on Saturday as Windsor travelled to derby rivals Datchet amid sensational weather usually reserved for July or August. The banter started early as Datchet skipper Mark Sheppard proclaimed his side would ‘humiliate’ the Windsor outfit in the local press. Datchet have a lot of pressure heaped on them this season as they are popular favourites to take the title, whereas Windsor are looking towards the future and to consolidate the side blooding new players and enhancing their contribution.
The game saw the debut of Harmet Chana, and the return of Chris Kellard and Alex Hill, who spent all of 2007 in the 2nd XI. Selectors believe that their time has come to play their part in the 1st XI. The Datchet wicket was superb for this time of the year and the sunny weather during the week helped produce a belter, that upon winning the toss, skipper Wes Nichols decided to bat on first.
Chorley and Chana started in vibrant fashion, dispatching 33 runs off the first 3 overs! But once the ball started to swing, the scoring dried up, on the back of fine bowling for Datchet stalwart Andy Dick. In the 9 the over, Chana (15) showed a little inexperience, looking to play through mid wicket to Dick, who squared him up and had him LBW. The hard surface was to Dick’s liking as he grabbed another 2 wickets in quick succession in Bird (5) to a peach of a delivery taking off stump and Nichols (0) in a contentious caught behind. Millman and Chorely began to fight back taking the score up to 50, before another difficult decision went against the visitors as Chorely (38) perished to the enigmatic Tilley LBW. Millman (12) than joined the top order, who were watching the game from the pavilion, also LBW to Tilley to push Windsor to the brink at 5 for 60. Datchet were well on top and it was no surprise that once Dick was removed from the attack, Windsor started to grab the ascendancy through Malloch and Birch. The two built a partnership through superb running between the wickets and dispatching the bad delivery. They were particularly harsh on Tilley, as Datchet allowed Windsor to obtain valuable bonus points as the side moved to 170, before Birch (48) fell to J Dick to a full toss on leg stump! This brought Hill to the crease as the running between wickets continued to impress as Malloch (45), looking to grab more bonus points was superbly caught on the boundary. The lower order in Kellard and Mohindru where left to prod Windsor to 200, after Hill (15) departed, but they could only muster a couple more runs as Windsor folded on 196.
Its was a fair performance considering the obstacles that where placed in front of them, and at one stage whilst at 5/60, 196 looked no chance. Birch and Bevan were great, but the fact remains that if they could have stuck around, a score more than 200 would have been achieved.
Windsor started well and truly on the front foot as Nichols knocked over Sheppard caught at 1st slip to the 2nd ball of the innings. Bevan struggled at the other end while Nichols bowling with great pace had George proddding around outside off. Thankfully for Datchet Tim Aldiss did not have that problem as he took his time early on and belted some glorious shots and started to gain the ascendancy. Hill was then introduced and he bowled a sublime spell of bowling to a well set batsmen in Aldiss, teasing him out side off stump getting great carry. But for all the effort Windsor where unable to knock over the mercurial left hander as he had scored his 50 with Datchet’s score on 68! Spin was then introduced as Mohindru had George caught by skipper Nichols and Windsor started to believe. Drinks came and went and with new batsmen Tilley, looking to play his shots, young leg spinner Kellard as introduced. With Datchet’s score moving to 2/130, Nichols was hoping that Kellard could claim a few wickets to get the side some more bonus points. The plan worked as Kellard had Tilly caught at 1st slip by Nichols, who incidentally let his side down next ball, by grassing new batsmen Jones, in what was a much simpler chance!This was just the benefit Datchet needed as they moved ever closer to the target. Aldiss brought up his 100 after hitting some magnificent 6’s but Windsor did claim some consolation as Mohindru gave Windsor another bonus point by claimed Jones LBW. In the end Datchet got the required total 4 wickets down with 13 overs the spare.
The difference between the two sides was Aldiss. The fact he scored 110* in a total of 196 pretty much tells the story as to how valuable he is to Datchet’s chances in 2008. If he stays fit Datchet will be right up there by seasons end. As for Windsor they played very well. Cricket is all about swings and round abouts, and to be frank some umpiring decisions did not go thier way. In saying that, that’s cricket! Fingers crossed a few 50/50’s go Windsor’s way later on in the season! It should be said that the better side certainly won, Datchet truly deserve the bragging rights much more than Windsor.
Birch, Malloch and Chorely batted best for Windsor. Hill was the pick of the bowlers, even though he went wicketless. Windsor were sublime in the field with Bird and Chana in particular doing great things! All in all, to take 10 points away from a side like Datchet was a fine effort, and looking forward to the rest of the season, Windsor is sure to ruffle a few sides feathers.