Cranleigh hand 1st XI Defeat in Return to Div One
By Matt Nichols
Cllr Lawrence Nichols reports on the Cranes defeating the Swans in the first league game of 2019
The sun shone brightly as Walton 1st XI went out to field. Within 15 minutes it was raining literally, but not yet metaphorically – that came later. Despite early disruption the Walton opening bowling attack produced a good steady spell, helped by Dan Roberts not making any decisions for the first 20 overs by which time Cranleigh were 62 for 3 with 2 wickets for Justin David (2-42) and 1 for Jamie Aldridge (1-20). So far not too bad at all.
Cranleigh took advantage of Dan getting involved in the game and making bowling changes by progressing to 132 for 3 after 32 overs, with two very set batsmen looking in command. At this point all common sense and rationality fled the field and Dan brought himself on to bowl. What happened next is a bit of a blur as your author was banging his head on a table in disbelief as Dan’s first ball was bowled. Reports describe this delivery as either a loosener or a rank long hop but the outcome was a simple catch to Justin. The batsman, on 51 at the time and with a first class record, was not available for comment. During the same over, whilst all present were still in shock, a further Cranleigh batsman missed a straight one and fell LBW to the wiley spinner.
The level of drama thereafter subsided as Cranleigh proceeded to a total of 229 for 8. Overall the bowlers stuck to their task well and were supported with some very competent fielding, the highlights being a Madoc-Jones stumping as a batsman on 48 ill-advisedly charged Jack Dominy and the rare event of a Matt Nichols catch. Other bowling figures were Harrison Perry (1-47), Jack Dominy (1-54), Will Arkell (1-22) and Dan Roberts (2-37).
Tea is very often the best part of a Walton home game and the usual standards of excellence were maintained in this department at least.
The Walton innings started slowly with the Cranleigh bowlers getting something out of the pitch with the new ball, but they were met with obdurate if not always elegant resistance. This ended in the fifth over when Dan got an exceptional ball that moved in the air and seamed (his version) and nicked off to second slip. By the end of the 9th over Walton were 17 for 2, at which point Cranleigh rather unsporting introduced their New Zealand test spinner, Ajaz Patel. Stoical Walton batting resistance meant that he only managed to take one wicket in his 10 overs, but that was the prized scalp of Alex Pomfret.
Wickets fell far too frequently with Walton being 46 for 4 after 20 overs and 75 for 5 after 30. The only batsmen to reach double figures were Amandeep Singh (33) and Matt Harris (14) who were made to work hard for what they got. Things continued to slide to 79 for 8, at which point the austere figure of Jack Dominy strode to the crease like a latter-day Spartan warrior. Here he joined Nico, who up to this point had appeared to be demonstrating how to bat using only the edges. Our Greek hero inspired something of a recovery with the pair proceeding to make a Thermopylae-like 8th wicket stand which lasted until the final ball, when needing one for a batting bonus point, Nico was unable to squeeze out that last run. This final act had two consequences, namely that Jack was run out by a country mile for 28 and more importantly Nico got another “not out” (42*). The partnership had been worth 70 and did manage to salvage some pride despite the defeat by 80 runs.
So what can we conclude from this first league match of the season? Not much really. Various wise men were heard to suggest that we need to (a) bat better and (b) bowl better. This author prefers to reserve judgement until more matches have been played. There were aspects of this performance which, if built on, give cause for hope. We are playing in a strong league and the team need to consistently all play to their best and turn the really strong team spirit into positive results.