Woking & Horsell 2XI vs Epsom 2XI - 01/09/18
By Tom Nickels
Es defeated in season finale
A poor first innings performance with the left Epsom with a huge challenge to take anything from the game and they were comfortably beaten by Woking & Horsell.
The last week of the season had arrived and with nothing at stake, the Epsom side might have been forgiven for being a little slow off the mark against a Woking side who needed to win to secure their place in the division next season. However some administrative confusion left stand in skipper Nickels with only 8 players at the ground as the start of the game approached. Less slow start and more trying to start in reverse with the handbrake on. Fortunately the toss was won and Epsom could have a bat first, confident of being able to put up a good score.
Allen and Patel opened up and made a steady start on a tricky surface, where back of length bowling was bouncing unpredictably. Patel was dropped a couple of times as the score progressed into the twenties and it looked like the rub of the green could be with the Epsom side. Patel being run out however triggered a horrible collapse where 23-0 became 66-7. Whilst the odd ball misbehaved ultimately poor shot selection was the downfall of the Epsom batsmen (with the exception of Crossman) and the picture could have been even worse if Woking had not dropped a number of fairly straightforward chances. The undoubted highlight of an otherwise grim spell for Epsom was former skipper and club stalwart Hudson turning for a quick 2 and managing to drop a pack of cigarettes in the middle of the pitch, prompting one or two comments about the elite athletic ability of the Epsom team. I bet that doesn’t happen at Lords very often.
Every team needs a man for a crisis and in Beswick and Shahid, Epsom had two. Both played very sensibly, digging in and punishing the odd bad ball. Beswick departed for a well-made 25 and a quick flurry from Zeb at the end pushed Epsom onto 122-9. With only 10 men present, the decision was taken not to send Rolo the labrador in at 11 and so the innings closed. Not a good score but a determined rearguard action had at least given Epsom something to bowl at.
Allen and Shahid opened the innings, hoping to replicate the unpredictable bounce the home bowlers had achieved. The odd ball did indeed misbehave but the pitch seemed to be becoming more placid and occassional bad balls were put away. One long hop from Allen in particular received the treatment and caused Crossman to retreat from the short leg position he had bravely/stupidly volunteered for. The initial breakthroughs both came from Allen, firstly by deflecting a fierce straight drive onto the stumps to run out the non-striker and then trapping the other opener LBW. At 20-2 Epsom sensed an opportunity and the spin options of Zeb and Hudson were introduced. Both bowled tightly and got turn and bounce but Woking batted patiently, knowing they were only chasing a low score and began to accumulate runs. Zeb captured a further wicket but Woking, led by Qaiser batted sensibly and began to approach the target. Beswick and Vakharia were introduced and managed to capture some wickets towards the end but in the end Woking made their total with 6 wickets down.
Whilst not a good end to the season, a solid mid table finish is probably a fair reflection of the team’s performance across the summer. The bags will go into the loft for a while before coming back next year looking to push for promotion. The players meanwhile headed back to the club for the end of season party to celebrate/commiserate the end of another season of drives, ducks, drops, drinks, dead balls and Dulam.