Loss for 2s despite captain’s 96
A determined 96 from Josh Pickering couldn’t save the 2nd XI and their 205 was comfortably chased down by East Molesey with wickets and overs to spare.
An early start thanks to football mania saw Ashtead welcome East Molesey to Woodfield lane on another baking hot day. The hosts won the toss and chose to bat hoping for a high score with the parched outfield. Progress was slow as the bowling of Evan Beck and Jason Moore and the tight fielding of the visitors gave the Ashtead openers few chances. Gary Martin was the first to go, for 9 caught behind by keeper Giles Green off Beck in the 7th over. Bowling changes at both ends saw the next two Ashtead wickets fall cheaply and the hosts were looking wobbly at 61-3 off 19.
However there followed a 62 run partnership between captain Josh Pickering and Kamran Mirza with both batsmen biding their time and putting away the bad balls. Mirza eventually fell, caught by Billy Dawson off Daniel Foy for 33 (including 6 fours) in the 37th over with the score on 123 and Pickering on 55. Pickering looked solid, but unfortunately none of his team could stick with him for any length of time. East Molesey introduced the spin of Foy and James Smith, who gradually chipped away and the wickets fell. There was soon doubt whether the innings would last long enough for Pickering to get his century. As it turned out an unfortunate shot saw his wicket fall for 96 with the score on 205 in the 54th over. Four wickets for Smith and two for Foy.
A very quick turnaround between innings saw the exhausted Pickering don the keeper’s pads and head back onto the pitch wondering if once he’d crouched behind the stumps he would be able to stand up again. Eager to finish the game before football time, the visitors set to the run chase with aplomb and the Ashtead bowlers struggled to make any impression. Openers Jason Moore and captain Kieran Burge took full advantage of the fast outfield and wasted no time in peppering the ball around the ground. A quick 50 was reached before Moore was caught behind off Jake Martin for 16. A further 10 overs went by with another 40 runs added before the second wicket fell with the score on 90 and the visitors almost half way to the target.
Things were to get no better for the home side as a partnership of 68 between Burge and Billy Dawson punished the bowlers. It was only a mix up between the batsmen that left Burge stranded and a throw in from Tayler Young saw him run out for an impressive 77 with the score on 158. New bowler David Sims claimed another wicket in the same over and then the wicket of Dawson (a quick fire 52 off 39 balls) a few overs later and it looked as if East Molesey were starting to wobble.
However only 32 were needed for the win, the football beckoned and Jack Miller peppered the boundary. It didn’t take long for the visitors to wrap up the game with 5 wickets and 10 overs to spare. Ashtead continue to suffer from injuries depleting their teams and can only hope for better luck next week.