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I am not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s a heatwave on at the moment. The Aztec and Mayan Sun God’s have bestowed upon us a heat, while not quite blistering, hot enough to slowly melt a mortal man like a doomed Mr Whippy in the same 35 degree heat. It was in the heat that Windsor’s premier 2nd xi took on Finchampstead at Home park. The sun was peaking out on what was mercifully a slightly overcast day, yet breezeless enough to make the ranging Home Park feel like a Tagine.

After a tough loss last week, the side looked to bounce back, with a few changes as Ivan Smith and Vinay Vasita, with wickets last week, come into the side joined by Ryan Doye and Dave Willmott, fresh off a half century and a maiden club century respectively.

Another week and another won toss by Skipper Jag, openly admitted to the opposition he hoped the sun would take some vigour out of the top side on the league. And with that, the opening pair (not to be confused with the children’s entertainers of the same name) Chuckles and Nobsey strode to the crease. The pair battled against the new ball and stoically worked their way through the first 3/8ths of the innings before Chorley was felled by a ball that both kept low and jagged back to clip the bottom of leg stump.

58-1 off 15 overs was not our brightest start, but again the opening pair showed regard for their wickets and helped stave off the fatal batting collapse that was all too common last summer.

After 15 overs waiting and developing a slight case of pad rash, in came new man Dave Wilmott. Davey, who learnt his trade playing on the true bouncing decks of Sydney, looked to the manor born after his hundred for Richard Charter’s Barmy Army the week before, we couldn’t wait to see him in action. Dave looked great whipping the ball off his legs, including one whipped so purely it seemed destined for the boundary before the visiting team’s umpire got in the way at square leg. Sadly for Dave, Home Park, for all it’s charm, is not a New South Wales and thus, Dave fell victim to a half tracking, double bouncer that snuck under the bat onto his stumps.

Our gun had gone for 3, 70 for 2. Fear not, we had a back up plan; Ryan Doye. Doyesy worked his way to an unbeaten 69 the week prior and backed himself to carry over the form. Support Rob Noble, who at this point was starting to heat up the partnership took us maintained stability in the innings and picked up the rate as Nobsey made it to 50 around the 25th over. The productive partnership was hindered as Doysey pulled up lame with a quad strain but battled on, despite how this would inhibit his natural game before falling for 9, the pair just missing out on a 50 partnership, 113-3 off.

Vinay Vasita came and went after a crashing a glorious cover drive for 4, followed by Chris Edge who was sent in to spike the run rate, then decided to be a proper batsman. An impersonation that lasted 4 balls before he <EDIT:> was not bowled but was given out LBW by fellow teammate Andrew Chorley just 100 short of what would have been a deserved century <end EDIT> ; then Noble followed for a very well earned 70, his best knock of the season to date. 119-6 off 30 overs, not ideal I am sure you’ll agree.

Omar Mubarak came in at 7, swapping places with Jag who descended down the order during the innings due to a complete lack of confidence in his own competence with a bat, his form had been so dire. Jag and Omar took the only approach they say fit; they ran like they were 8 years old and indulging in Kwik Cricket. The four over partnership upped the ebbing momentum adding a quick fire 22, as Omar departed and thus the tail had been exposed. After many a silent discontent at being the perennial number 11, Dean Bean was thrust up the order to 9 and had a point to prove. 1 run later, the ball hit the pads and Bean was triggered. There was genuine cynicism from the opposition as to the validity of the decision, yet without ‘Snicko’, Bean was doomed. Brooker followed, with some quick-fire agriculture but too followed. Last man in was Ivan Smith, who proclaimed in his usual laconic manner earlier “please don’t make me get my pads on”, in what initially sounded like a plea but could easily have been a threat by the way Smith swatted a ball to the long boundary with venom.

By this point Bhabra had worked the score from 119 after 30 to 160 after 37. With Smith, the tail wagged a little longer, with some bold running, including one after Ivan had work one to the box. Jag, now was keeled over, panting like an overheating pug.

The innings came to an end one ball from the end, with a run out as Bhabra tried to regain the strike for the last ball and was beaten by the Keeper who’d had a slightly rough day. Thankfully not before Windsor had reached 178, securing a batting bonus point , brought up in style by Jag’s huge six to the longest boundary.

Another speedy tea and we took the field. I’ll spare you some of the details, but apart from Edgey keeping is mojo from the Castle end – and now insisting he be referred to as “Mr Windsor CC”, we didn’t take our chances.

Finch had an opening bat who was lovely to watch, he was dropped a couple of times mind you, and hit a century that really was classy, yet rather classless that he chose to play so magnificently against us. The bowlers toiled to no avail sans Edgey’s lone wicket but Finch chased easily and deserved the win. Huge appreciation to Rob Noble for batting brilliantly for half the innings in the heat, then keep wicket the next, he was comfortably the player of the game for us.

We regroup next week at Wokingham under the ominous forecast of wet weather. Until then, Allez Les 2s.


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