Swans seal 8 wicket win to remain top of Division 2
By Dan Roberts
Excellent all round performance secures important win
The 1st XI travelled to the picturesque Pixham Lane this week as they took on Dorking who were placed second in the table just behind Walton. The Boxhill backdrop provided a great setting for an important match, where the winner would place themselves into a good position going into the last third of the season.
The wicket was rock hard with a tinge of green on the surface, and Walton captain Dan Roberts had no hesitation in bowling first when he won the toss. So after a quick warm up and fielding drill, Walton set to the field looking to take early wickets. Matt Nichols and Francis Annandale opening the bowling and both settled into a steady rhythm early on. After a couple of maidens however, the Dorking opening pair of Erasmus and Lister started to find the gaps and the boundary to leave the home side 30-0 after 7 overs.
Nico then got the breakthrough, removing Lister caught behind and followed this up immediately, as Kenway was dismissed the very next ball, also caught behind by Madoc-Jones. Dorking looked to counter, with Erasmus in particular starting to find the boundary on regular occasion. However, having hit Annandale for three boundaries in the 12th over and nearing his half century, he hit the final ball of the over straight to Paul Bainbridge at mid on. Dorking 69-3.
This then started an excellent spell for Walton, and in particular Nico, as he continued to run in from one end and cause all sorts of problems. He removed Douthwaite and Rogers in quick succession, and continued to beat the bat on numerous occasions. Dominy replaced Annandale at the other end and he removed Myers who chopped on. And when Nico then removed Homewood, caught behind again by Madoc-Jones, Dorking had slipped to 89-7. Mark Bainbridge was brought into the attack and immediately found success, trapping Blood LBW.
The Dorking lower order batsmen dug in and frustrated the Walton bowlers as they searched for the final two wickets. Nico’s patience and unerring length were soon rewarded however, as he induced another edge to Madoc-Jones, who finished with four catches. Nico bowled 14 overs straight through with tremendous figures of 14-3-41-6, to place him on the 1st XI honours board. Eben Botha and then Ben Monk were introduced to try to grab the last wicket, and whilst the final Dorking pair added 22 runs, Monky cleaned up Edwards to leave Dorking 133 all out after 39 overs.
After a quick turnaround the new opening pair of Roberts and Christiansen took to the middle to navigate a 25 minute spell before tea. Dorking opened up with the pace and bounce of Erasmus and Douthwaite looking for the early breakthrough… and in just the 3rd over they found it. Erasmus forcing a false shot from Christiansen with a short ball as he miscued a pull shot back to the bowler, 10/1. Botha joined Roberts at the crease, and immediately got up and running with a huge 6 first ball into the neighbouring houses garage, from an Erasmus short ball. A further 3 overs passed with Walton going into tea with the score 25/1 (Roberts 11* Botha 12*).
A few sandwiches, cakes and fruit later the players returned to the field with Walt needing 109 more runs for victory and Dorking 9 Wickets. As a result the left arm of Corbett was introduced to the attack from the Box Hill end, and within 2 overs found the breakthrough. After a big LBW shout was turned down, Botha then chipped the next ball to mid-on, a simple catch for Homewood leaving the visitors on 42/2.
Madoc-Jones joined the skipper at the crease, with the simple task of keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Corbett and Erasmus continued to vary their lengths, but the Score continued to go along at 6’s with Roberts punishing anything full to the boundary.
With Roberts and Madoc-Jones ticking over nicely, Blood brought back Douthwaite hoping for the breakthrough. A barrage of short pitched bowling followed with Roberts and Madoc-Jones punishing any loose deliveries to the fence, with the captain bringing up his 50 off 48 balls with a 6 (7 X 4, 2x 6’s).
Corbett continued to hit a length but was eventually replaced by the leg spin of Myers. Roberts sensing the game was coming to a close, took the attack to the spinner, taking him for 13 off two overs. With the game all but up, Blood brought on Chris Ward from the Box Hill end. 10 runs off his 4 balls brought the game to a close. An unbroken stand of 95 between Roberts (86* off 72) and Madoc-Jones (21* off 26) sealed the victory and 24 points for the Swans!
Next week sees the Swans take on Malden Wanderers in yet another top of the table clash back at Ashley Park.
MOTM – Matt Nichols