Walton win a close thriller
By Jamie Mann
The 1st XI are up and running after a tight game against Worcester Park
A new season brought with it some stunning bank holiday weekend sunshine, as Walton on Thames 1st XI kicked off the 2018 league season at a glorious Ashley Park. First opponents were Worcester Park as Walton looked to get their campaign in Division 2 off to a winning start. The 1st XI were very much a new look outfit, with 4 players making their league debuts for Walton. One of the debutants, captain Dan Roberts, started his season strongly by winning the toss and choosing to bat in the heat.
Roberts himself and Eben Botha opened up for the Swans, but things did not quite go as planned. The captain was caught behind in the second over after a good ball from the Worcester Park seamer, and then Botha was cleaned up by the other seamer shortly after. James Madoc-Jones and Matt Harris set about building a partnership with the run rate ticking over quite slowly, as the seamers found their rhythm and the wicket was keeping a little slow and low. Harris was in fact dismissed by a ball which did keep low as he tried to pull across the line, and with vice captain Francis Annandale joining Madoc-Jones, a lot of work was needed as Walton found themselves 25-3.
Both batsmen found it tough going, but stuck around against both seam and spin, putting on a very important 82 run partnership. This included some lovely straight drives from Madoc-Jones down the ground and some lofted hits from Annandale over cover. Annandale was castled for 39 just after Walton had reached the 100 run mark at 30 overs. Only Matt Nichols then offered any valuable support to Madoc-Jones down the order, as batsmen no. 8, 9 and 10 all went for ducks. Madoc-Jones (49) and Nichols (21*) were valuable contributions to the total, along with Annandale, but a final total of 157 all out from 49 overs was probably around 30 runs light of the score the team had set out to achieve.
The tea was as glorious as ever, Jenni Lintott really should be put up for some sort of award. Even one of the opposition players took a photo of the spread, and when asked why, he responded with "it's just such an unbelievable tea!" Well said sir.
After stuffing ourselves silly with jam tarts, brie and grape wraps and the famous lemon drizz, the boys took to the field under strict instruction from the skipper to create intensity and get amongst the wickets early. And Jack Dominy and Matt Nichols set the tone wonderfully well with some tight overs. amidst the odd four-ball, with some good support in the field from the boys. It wasn't long before Dominy made the breakthrough finding the outside edge of the opener, through to Pomfret on league debut, who took a really nice catch to his right. What followed, was a frustrating partnership from the Walton perspective, as the skipper at number three looked to steady the ship (Kane), alongside the first of the Hill brothers. It was the introduction of spin that then took the game into it's next phase, as first Ben Monk got the crucial second wicket bowling the opener looking to cut, before Eben took out four and five in super quick time. Eben's spell certainly seemed to turn the game towards parity, but the overs of Monk and Bainbridge are not to be overlooked in the middle period, as fielders and bowlers combined to really cut off the run supply to the middle order. The spinners returned 3/71 from their 28 overs - a fine effort.
At 141/5, with still enough overs remaining, the impressive JD returned to take the massive wicket of the number six, as the run rate took a leap towards the higher side. And when Nico bowled an absolute jaffa to bowl the skipper for 65, Walton had for the first time, possibly taken the game to a stage where the home side were slight favourites. Monk bowled a quite stunning one but penultimate over to two batters admittedly swinging like rusty gates, but still the skill level shown to stay away from their striking zones was impressive, and was unlucky not to get the last. Nico did the business from the Net end, meaning Jack had 12 runs or so to defend and get the Swans off the mark with a win. Kudos must go to Jack himself, and Dan who entrusted him after suggestions he might opt for spin, as Jack bowled a perfect over and the decision was more than justified! The points had been sewn up, the 1st XI had defended a low-ish total at the first time of asking this season, and the show was well and truly on the road!
Onto the next! - Bank of England (A) #RaidTheBank