Report: Josh Wilmott
Roehampton 2s returned to action having had their last bye week of the season to the prospect of 2 must win games to have any chance of gaining promotion. The variables of other results were plentiful and out of our hands. What was in our hands was ensuring we took maximum points and hope other results went our way.
With that, the 2s travelled to Long Ditton (eventually, having mistakenly gone via the nearby Surbiton Hockey Club first) to a baking hot day, and a decent looking wicket and outfield. Having been reliably informed by opening bowler Shahid that he was a bit injured and wasn’t sure how much he was able to bowl, as he walked out to toss, skipper Josh, also knowing that he himself wouldn’t have to bowl in the heat, decided to bowl first backing our batsman to chase down whatever Long Ditton could muster. Much to the consternation of the 5 blokes who would have to bowl. Enjoy lads.
Tight opening spells as ever by Shahid and Babar passed with the run rate under control, but without the reward of a wicket that both bowlers would have deserved. Change bowlers Yasir and Hugh quickly got into their rhythm, with Yas getting the breakthrough in his first over, bowling Long Ditton’s skipper with a beaut, before Hugh got in on the act picking up 4 well deserved wickets. To be honest, had we fielded better he would have had a very well deserved 5fer, when he’s old enough I’m sure Babar will buy him a drink to make it up to him. 9 overs straight through by Fahad was rewarded with 2 wickets before the final few wickets fell to Yas and a run out, leaving Long Ditton 134 all out with a couple of balls of their 45 overs unused. A thoroughly decent effort in the field and with the ball by the 2s, against a decent Long Ditton outfit on a good batting wicket, with all bowlers contributing either with wickets or through economical bowling. And aside from the odd blip, another strong fielding performance, that given most of us hadn’t played for a few weeks it was very promising to see that the standards of the previous 5 weeks had continued.
After tea, Mods and Sacha Hatteea (OBE) walked to the crease to set about the chase. The early excitement was provided with Stu Allen on the scoring app deciding to enable the wagon wheel function so we could see just how many runs Sacha hit through square leg. Unfortunately Sacha hit quite a few through square leg early on, which left the usually conservative Mods visibly concerned at the rising run rate the 2s were achieving. He countered this by missing a straight one, reasoning that by sacrificing his wicket he was also allowing the run rate to drop back down from it’s current dizzying heights (about a run a ball) to something more sedate. Panic over.
Harry P (Purnell du jour) joined Sacha at the crease, and they set about knocking the runs off. Or at least, Sacha set about showing the Long Ditton bowlers that he was in fact very good against both the short ball, and against the leg stump full toss. In fact he enjoyed those balls A LOT. Harry took his time to get in but started to play some lovely shots of his own, one particular back foot punch through the covers for 4 sticks in the memory. Sacha cruised past his 50, to which we didn’t applaud knowing Sacha’s propensity to get 50 then get knackered and get out. Unfortunately the ever shrew Hatteea was counting his own runs and stood at the strikers end staring at the rest of us on his team until we belatedly acknowledged his 50. However, Sacha decided that this was to be the day that he improved his conversion statistics. Blasting his way upwards from 50. Harry P fell with just 10 runs needed and with Sacha 11 short of his ton. Josh wandered out to the crease to basically act as someone to stand at the other end and make sure that Sacha got a single off the last ball of the over and didn’t collapse in the process. With just a couple needed to win, Sacha smoked his first 6 of the innings to win the game and to take him to an outstanding 102* from just 85 balls. A resounding 8 wicket victory and another 20 points keeping the 2s in the race to the last promotion place all the way to the last game of the season.
Whatever happens on the last day of the season, it’s been one of the best seasons for the 2s that many of us can remember, this win now the 6th victory in a row making us very much the form team in the 2nd half of the season.
MOM – shared between Sacha for his 100* and Hugh for his excellent 4 (should have been 5) wicket haul