Vandals Rearguard Prevents Pauline Pilfering the Points
Stoic resistance from the V’s lower order maintains unbeaten run
Old Pauline was the visitor to Brownacres on 28th July, hoping to maintain her promotion surge at the expense of Weybridge Vandals.
The month-long dry, hot weather had finally yielded the day before; the rain helping to provide what looked like a tropical oasis centred on the barren Brownacres desert. Vandals skipper Sam Buckell won the toss and encouraged by what he saw, fancied getting into Pauline’s top order.
That wasn’t to be the case. Despite early accuracy from Mark Fenton & Woo Powell, there was only one early breakthrough: Mark sending the accomplished and dangerous Alex Duncan (20) packing with a beauty which deviated off the pitch and struck the top of his off-pole. Sam joined the bowling and despite some generally accurate bowling from all, Old Pauline made cautious progress.
The second wicket came when Sam had (not Eleanor) Rigby LBW, 108/2. What proceeded thereafter was a mainly unremarkable innings, with Lala making 76 and a couple of dropped chances. Lala was finally dismissed when tipping-and-running to probably the best fielder in the division, Alistair Booth, who picked-up the ball and threw down the stumps cleanly and efficiently with Lala - as well as Tinky Winky, Dipsy and Po – nowhere to be seen. 180/3.
Chinese whispers grew too loud and Vandals learnt of Pauline’s intention to reach 225 runs. Credit to Vandals bowlers is due as Old Pauline didn’t reach their target as soon as they’d have liked to and, with the score 228/3 from 51 overs, came the declaration.
At half time Vandals were clear that the chase was very much on. 49 overs is a long time and plenty enough to reach a target of 229. What they were even clearer about was the welcome addition to tea in the form of Tom Neville’s mother-in-law’s flapjacks and cakes. A tremendous and delicious addition to the spread which all of the boys were very thankful for.
Anish Kulkarni was given out LBW in the first over after the break and with Tom dismissed for 0 in the 3rd over, Vandals were left with some early patchwork to do, with the score 4/2.
Garry Foreman, form-man with the bat helped rebuild with Sam, reaching 44/2 before missing the spinner’s straight one for 25. Ali “Pup” Booth (1) was unfortunate in blocking one which then dribbled back on to his stumps, followed by Sam (26) misguidedly being tempted to go aerial by the spinner and hitting to the hands of mid-off. With Dan Fenton (0) removed and the score 57/6, you could forgive Woo for thinking “apres moi, la deluge”. The wickets wouldn’t go the same way as the previous day’s weather, however and despite Woo snicking to slip for 14, Vandals stayed resolute.
John Hall was joined by Mark at 71/7 and what came thereafter was a stoic battle to prevent Old Pauline taking all the spoils and to salvage what might be an invaluable two points come the end of the season.
The pair combined for the best part of 20 overs or more for a partnership of 50 runs, which were picked-off sensibly and opportunely, given that the win was out of reach for Vandals. With 6 overs remaining, Hall (29) edged to second slip, who took a remarkable catch lying on his back, having fumbled the chance initially.
Sasi Thonangi came and went for 0 off 5 balls, aiding Mark in eating up valuable time and balls. Liam Connaughton joined Mark with the score 122/9. He looked completely unbothered by the task of keeping out the OP bowlers and dutifully defended with Mark; Liam seeing-out the final over and even pushing a cheeky couple through cover.
Mark finished 22* from 61 balls and Liam 2* from 10. Alongside John Hall, they rescued an important 2 points for Vandals, denying Old Pauline 13 additional points and most importantly, retaining Vandals’ pride. Additionally, Vandals are unbeaten in three (won 2, drawn 1) which will help their momentum as the season reaches the interesting end stage.
This was a classic display of batsmen showing how a gameplan can be adapted in time cricket when initially it doesn’t go well. Hally & Mark have given the rest of the team confidence by demonstrating that resisting the opposition is possible and that there is value in doing so. This confidence will be vital ahead of the must-win match next week against Merrow. That match is the first of the remaining 50 overs matches.
Well done and we hope to see as many Vandals as possible supporting at Merrow next week!
The ‘Which Statement is True’ Quiz:
A) Ali Booth has the most league run-outs (PlayCricket era) for Vandals, with 8.
B) Woo Powell has the largest average tea plate by weight, weighing 1.37kg.
C) Mark Fenton earned the nickname “Fluff” when working as a “production assistant” in on Connor Baker’s ‘gym’ couch.