TABLE-TOPPING WELLOW TOO STRONG FOR WINTERBOURNE
For the second week in a row, a weakened line-up due to shocking availability throughout the club took on an unbeaten team. Unsurprisingly, the result didn't go the way of Winterbourne...
Winterbourne turned up to Wellow & Plaitford with introductions having to be made as two players - Dave Gale and Irfon Thomas - were making their debuts for the club, Gale agreeing to play only a couple of hours before the match was due to start. To compound matters we were playing a team reformed last year and a good few divisions below where they will ultimately end up. In fact they have only lost one league game since their reformation.
A green top encouraged the captain to bowl when when successfully winning the toss, and it was Joe Cunningham himself that took the new ball alongside Ganesh Sankaran, who himself was playing his first game for the 2nds after a spell at the top of the batting order for the 1s. Cunningham struggled for rhythm but managed to beat the bat a couple of times, while Ganesh was bowling very tidily - only conceding nine runs in his first four overs and causing Moretto concern with how much movement he was getting through the air. Moretto did make a minor comeback by hitting Ganesh for a six out of nowhere that probably landed in Romsey town centre but Martyn Nokes, replacing Cunningham, beat his defences to bowl him for 28. This prompted a slight period of calm as Nokes and Thomas kept things tight, but opening batsman Draycott was inexplicably dropped by Cunningham which probably cost the team about 50 runs as he went on to score 81.
At drinks Wellow & Plaitford were 95-1, not too far away but with a good platform. However, Ganesh returned to bowl down the hill and was rewarded with a wicket in his first over to dismiss Barcia for 13. Thomas struggled to maintain his line given the prodigious swing he was getting so Malcolm Griffiths was talked into turning his arm over. By and large he managed to keep things under control and did a good job for the team. He also took an excellent catch to dismiss Draycott off the bowling of Ganesh. Nokes came on to replace Ganesh (2-50) and started very well, conceding just three runs in his first over, bowling a maiden in his seconds and having Young stumped by the lightning Matthew Shellum off the first ball of his third. However, any hopes of a few more being skittled were quickly dashed as skipper, Palmer, hit his first ball for 6. The last 5.5 overs were carnage as Nokes and Cunningham went for 66 runs between them, Palmer hitting 56 of them in only 18 scoring shots. A pretty demoralising end to the innings, belying probably an improved bowling performance compared to previous weeks.
The pitch wasn't too bad to bat on so it didn't seem an impossible target, so long as we had a bit of luck, someone to score big and a weak bowling line-up. However a very tight, sharp first over made all of those possibilities look even less likely. Wellow were clearly very confident and at one point had 4 slips, a gully, short mid-on, short mid-off and a leg gully as Vince rarely strayed from his line and length. Barnes at the other end was a little more erratic and Dave Gale was putting the bad balls away for a few runs. To Gale and Matthew Shellum's credit, they lasted until Vince's fifth over but Shellum finally fell for 5. Ganesh fell four overs later for 4 and Mick Hunter was dismissed in unfortunate circumstances next ball as the wicket keeper dropped the chance only for third slip to trip up and somehow catch it as he landed. The tripping up part of the dismissal was only found out by Hunter in the bar after the game, just to add salt to his wounds! Ali Judd, again the standout fielder, and Gale looked to rebuild, the focus becoming more on how many batting points could be accrued. They fared well until Gale was caught behind off Vince's final ball in his ten over spell which saw figures of 10-4-18-4.
Martyn Anthony's search for form continued as he fell for a duck having picked out a number of fielders rather than gaps, and then Ed Bartlett, celebrating his 12th birthday, fell for no score. Bartlett Snr had the right idea at this point by catching some Zs. Malcolm Griffiths hit a six that only just cleared the rope (although he would have you believe he hit the roof of the house over the fence and it bounced back), and then was stumped next ball. Joe Cunningham lasted just two balls to complete a terrible day for the captain and register the fourth nought of the innings. A slight rearguard action from Martyn Nokes and Judd - who was still going amid the carnage - took us past 75 for a second batting point. Judd hit a magnificent 6 over square leg straight onto one of the Wellow player's Jags parked on the road alongside the ground but was dismissed later that over having accumulated 36 important runs. Nokes, joined by Irfon Thomas - a self-professed blocker - looked to swing his way into form with the bat and took the score past 100 with an entertaining knock off 15 but he finally became White's 5th victim when given out LBW by the umpire... and Mick Hunter at square leg umpire... and everyone sat outside the pavilion as a grenade hit him on the full.
A tough day all round, but Wellow won't lose many (if any) games this year and the runs of Ali and Martyn at the end gave Winterbourne a couple of extra points that some teams won't get against them. Heads need to stay firmly up after a couple of tough weeks against top opposition as we welcome Riverside - a team that have actually lost this season - to the Home of Cricket next Saturday. Availability is looking good so we should have a strong team out to get our season back on track.
Next week is also the next social BBQ so can players from both teams make an effort to stay for a drink and a burger or two (or more). The last one gave the club a massive profit and the bar was still full hours after the games. Do come along even if you can't play - injuries seem to be the 'in thing' at the club this year - it should be another good night and hopefully we'll be celebrating two wins like the last social too!