Ton for Michael Sanderson but frustrating draw
So near and yet so far as 2s fall 4 runs short of win.
Malden Wanderers won the toss and elected to bat, quickly piling on the runs at over five an over for the first ten overs. Captain Robert Graham and number 3 Simon Walsh fell reasonably cheaply to Henry Elburn and Jake Martin, but Ragu Aravinthan proved a thorn in Ashtead’s side as he notched up his 50 in 53 balls before being caught by Marcus Caprano-Wint off Harry Williams for 57 with the score on 94 after 21 overs. All the Malden Wanderers batsmen made a useful contribution with particular note to John Hess with a quickfire 27 (5 fours and a six) off 17 balls. Caprano-Wint took the next 3 wickets off his maximum 14 overs, finishing on 3-50 and Amir Akbarali continued the attack removing wickets 7, 8 and 9 for 49 runs (3-25).
However it was the final Malden Wanderers’ partnership between numbers 10 and 11, James Marks and Dan Kenton, who would ultimately prove Ashtead’s undoing as they put on another 28 runs (including 5 fours) before Marks was finally run out by a direct hit from Ben Sidwell. The visitors finished on 223 off 49.4 overs setting Ashtead a much higher than desirable target.
The Ashtead innings started with its customary slow and cautious approach and the dismissal of three batsmen for a handful of runs left the home team reeling on 43-3 after 18 overs and facing an uphill struggle. However the stubbornness of opener Michael Sanderson together with the determination of Sidwell steadied the ship and started attacking the target. Together they put together a partnership of 88 before Sidwell was caught behind by James Edwards off the bowling of Aravinthan for 36 in the 35th over, with Sanderson on 61 (having laboriously made his 50 off 88 balls taking nearly 2 hours).
Malden Wanderers then proceeded to adopt frequent and almost continuous bowling changes at both ends in an effort to unsettle the batsmen (and scorers!). However Sanderson stood solid and when Akbarali came to the crease with the score on 137-5 the two started attacking the deficit. 87 runs needed off 13 overs. By the end of the 45th over the score had moved on to 180, still 44 needed off 5 overs.
Early bowlers James Marks and Robert Graham were brought back into the attack, but struggled to match the batsmen’s determination as overs 46, 47 and 49 went for an average of 10 an over. Ashtead needed 9 off the final over for the win, but Marks was up to the challenge and the batters struggled. Two singles and then Akbarali launched a big hit towards the boundary. However the visitors had a strategically placed fielder on the boundary and what could almost have been the winning six was caught by Jak Luxford and Akbarali fell for 27.
Three balls left, six runs needed, a quick single from Josh Pickering. Then the exhausted Sanderson prepared himself for a big hit, but, sadly for Ashtead, he was bowled for a tremendous 116 with just one ball left. Unfortunately it was just to be a single and and Ashtead fell just 4 runs short of the win. Frustrating for the home team to be so close to 24 points but having to settle for just 8 from a losing draw. Malden Wanderers of course were ecstatic, with the pick of their bowling being James Marks with 3-44.
Farnham at home beckon next week and Ashtead hope that this time perseverance will be accompanied by some luck and they will get a much needed win.