Batting Goes Wandering as Walt Lose to Malden
By Matt Nichols
Another tough day in the office for the 1s at a damp Ashley Park
Hung in Bill Clinton's campaign headquarters was the slogan “THE ECONOMY, STUPID”, perhaps we should get a paraphrased sign for the Walton 1st XI changing room which would read “THE RUNS, STUPID”. It is a basic principle in cricket that you only win when you score more runs than the other team, something that is just not happening this season.
Optimism was again high at about 10:30 on Saturday, but the abject failure of the skipper to win the toss (again), meant that it was never going to be an easy day. Ashley Park looked splendid but there had been a lot of rain and there was no way any team winning the toss would ever have chosen to bat.
Having said that batting first looked like a bad idea, in the initial overs batting did not appear to be too difficult. Despite this, wickets fell too quickly and too softly. Four wickets fell before lunch with the score on 17, 36, 47 and 71 respectively. There were two high points in the period before lunch, the first being a flying dive by Will Arkell to avoid being run out and the second was Dan Roberts saying that with four wickets down it was “all going to plan” – no one was quite sure what this plan was.
After lunch wickets continued to fall all too regularly. For the second game running 6 batsmen reached double figures and on the positive side 3 of them got into the 20’s. Again there was an exciting batting cameo from Jamie Aldridge (23 off 22 balls) which was in contrast to the more studied approach of James Madoc-Jones (27 off 71) and Jamie Mann (24 off 74). To be fair, batting was never easy with the ball not coming on to the batsmen and this caused the loss of several wickets. The whole innings lasted 47 overs and was notable in that every batsman was out caught.
The Malden innings was pretty uneventful. Jamie Aldridge picked up an early wicket – LBW to break the monotony – with the score on 11. The Malden batsmen did not score any quicker than Walton had, but they just did not have the innate generosity to get out with the same regularity.
Everything changed in the 26th over when Dan Roberts came on to bowl. Yet again he got a wicket in his first over. There is now good evidence that he should restrict his bowling to one over spells. At the other end Rory Annandale bowled a really tight spell of 9 overs for only 11 runs. Even though Dan got a second wicket, Malden were content to grind their way to a 7 wicket win having received 44 overs with many more in hand. It may not look like it, but this was not a bad bowling performance.
Although the toss certainly had a big influence on the game, scoring only 137 was never good enough to challenge a competent Malden batting line up. No batsman has reached 30 in the last two games and without someone making a big score and getting totals above 200 the bowlers are not going to get he chance to prove what they can do. Hope may lie in the appearance of Mark Bainbridge in the 2nds for a first game of the season – Walton need his batting to provide those late order 80’s he scored last season – oh and he can bowl a bit I am told.