WINDSOR 198 (8 Points)
BASINGSTOKE HANTS 254 (25 Points)
On the back of an encouraging performance against Chiswick the week before, Windsor travelled to Basingstoke, who were top of the table and keen to enforce their position at home against the bottom feeding Windsor.
Windsor unfortunately where well behind the 8-ball prior to a ball being bowled, as in form batsmen Andy Chorley had to pull out mid week due to study commitments and middle order lynchpin Stuart Millman, broke his nose in a freakish training mishap on the Friday evening before the game.
With Windsor losing its 2 key men in the order, along with the absence of Bird, this was going to be a solid test for the younger lads in the club, and a perfect opportunity to stake a claim in the 1st side upon their return.
Skipper Wes Nichols won his 5th toss on the trot and inserted the home side on what looked a green wicket. With the extra seam options in the side, it seemed a reasonable idea and Nichols was the 1st to strike in his 2nd over claiming Darmody caught behind.
Malloch then chimed in claiming Vinn LBW, and then took yet another screamer in 1st slip off Nichols to knock over Thankachan to have the home side reeling at 3/8 after 8 overs.
Williamson and Giles then proceeded to very slowly rebuild the innings with both batsmen playing a missing a bit, the frustration mounted as Giles consistantly edged boundaries to 3rd man, keeping the runrate ticking, a credit to his experience.
Hartridge was then introduced and managed to knock him over LBW, bringing Rizwan to the crease. From here both bats dispatched some ordinary bowling on what was fast becoming a docile pitch.
Gregory was extremely unlucky not to claim Rizwan as Nichols dropped a sharp chance at short midwicket. This was really the only chance of the period as from 15 to 30 overs, the two bats dominated, until Malloch was re-introduced and bowled a peach of an off cutter to remove Williamson for 58.
Worse was to come for Windsor though as James succession to the wicket brought about an increased run rate that had the visitors struggling to qualm. The 17 year old Ben Harris was brought in to the attack to change things, and on what could be called a poor wicket for spin, bowled an extremely encouraging spell to keep the home side from bolting away completely.
At the 40th over the 200 was posted and Windsor looked dead and buried. Nichols and Gregory where then re-introduced to close off the innings and both bowled well, claimed 2 wickets each in their spell.
Gregory removed both danger men in Rizwan LBW for 64 and James caught of the last ball of the game for 64 to have the hosts 9/254 after their 52 overs. It was a fine comeback on debat for the all-rounder.
It was a superb recovery from Basingstoke after being 3/8, and their middle order really took advantage of the easy batting conditions. Windsor where enthusiastic in the field and special mention should go to Stuart Hayward, who was filling in at the 1th hour due to Millmans injury who kept going all day. The pick of the bowlers were Mallach 2/20 off 9 and Nichols 4/49 off 15.
Windsor started their chase in aggressive fashion with Birch and Chana putting away some loose balls early on in the innings. Birch was removed to a quality ball from James that removed his off stump.
Riches coming in at 1st drop and trying to force himself into the 1st XI as a permanent fixture looked superb as he and Chana looked to settle in. Tragedy struck as Chana was run out for the 2nd time in 5 games. It was a heart breaking end to Chana who looked in rare touch and plunged Windsor to 2/32. Riches then nicked one to 2nd slip off James 1 run later and Malloch missed a straight one off the evergreen Harsham to throw Windsors chase into dire straits, leaving them 4/36.
No matter what way you look at it, this was unacceptable. On a pitch that yelled out ‘score runs on me’ this showed the inexperience of the Windsor batting line up with out Chorley, Millman and Bird. There are quite simply no excuses, no matter what the lads say, there were probably to many stroke makers, and not enough grafters in the top order and that really did show.
It was left to Nichols and Weston to try and retrieve the situation but Weston nicked one to 1st slip off Harsham to push Windsor to the brink 5/47.
Nichols and Hartridge then began a partnership and looked well on top to push the total onwards to 100+, until was adjudged Nichols LBW as he danced down the wicket to Thankachan . It was a severly bitter pill to swallow, but was eased somewhat by the encouraging display of batting by Hartridge and Gregory, as they shown the top order how to bat.
Both started slowly and began to increase momentum as the Basingstoke skipper cunningly kept the field up and willed the Windsor batsmen to go over the top. Both certainly did oblige with Hartridge hitting some magnificent sixes!
The pair both scored their maiden league 50’s and put on a 100 partnership as they moved the score to 181, before Hartridge who had been suffering from cramp, requiring the assistance of a runner was run out, the 2nd of the game.
Gregory then 6 runs later was removed, leaving Windsor well and truly in trouble at 8/188. With 1 point on offer for a score over 200, the players where then informed to go for broke.
Hayward in his 1st XI game debut managed to get 3 runs before leaving a straight one to be LBW, meaning it was up to the 17 year old Ben Harris and veteran Rick Baumgartner to get the Windsor side home.
Unfortunately Harsham (5/45 off 14.4) had other ideas, as he capped of a fine bowling performance on a batters deck with the score on 196. Baumgartner off the penultimate ball on the innings went for broke, only to be caught at short cover to hand the table toppers a 25 point win!
It was a great win for Basingstoke and they truly where the better side on the day. Their middle order really stuck together and grinded out a formidable total.
Windsor were dissapointing to say the very least. some of the top order let themselves down with some loose stroke play and the likes of Chorley, Bird and Millman cannot come back soon enough, to add some grit and resiliance.
The sides bowling probably left a bit to be desired in the middle 1/3 of the innings and with Kellard and Mohindru in the 2nd XI bowling their side to a great victory, it stands to reason their names will be brought up in the selection room this week.
An interesting break down of the innings cannot be avoided. Nichols and Malloch together, managed to claim 6/68 off 24 overs. The rest of the line up contributed 3/169 off 28. A telling tale. Bearing in mind the duo had the advantage of a new ball, it is still an area of concern that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks.
Windsor next week play host to fellow bottom placed side Farnham Royal. It will be a very good test of where the side is, and give a reasonable indication of where they are headed. With the 3 other Windsor sides all getting wins, and players coming back, there is going to be a turnover of personal in the 1st XI as the selectors strive to find the appropriate mix, that will best serve the side.