The 2nd Team started Season 2021 with a home friendly against Cotswold Hills League side Kenilworth Wardens 3rd XI. Wardens won the toss and elected to bat, giving Ways skipper Jon Tovey a chance to look at his bowling options for the forthcoming season, as there were potentially nine of his outfielders to choose from. The new ball was taken by Sajid Ali, and Anthony Jones, the latter of which found the right line and length from the off. However, on a pitch that was a little two paced, it was a short delivery that saw Jones pick up the first wicket of the game, the ball getting on to Sahota a little quicker than he expected and looping up to Matt Stanczyszyn at mid wicket. He soon claimed a second with a beauty of a delivery to bowl Keenan Khatavkar, and could have had a third when Iain Wingfield failed to hold on to a sharp chance in the slips.
Hamzah Sarwar, returning to the fold after several years away, replaced Ali, and similarly, bowled tidily without looking too threatening. Hannah Murray then came on at the Garage End and, struggling for rhythm, proved rather costly after picking up the wicket of Shetty, caught by Stanczyszyn, as Barr took a liking to the length that she was bowling and deposited the ball over the fence a couple of times. Barr and Wardens’ skipper Paul Smith, were scoring fairly freely, so Tovey made the decision to slow things down in a bid to regain control by bringing on Stanczyszyn and Wingfield. The effect was almost immediate too, as Wingfield had Barr caught at slip by Tovey after a deflection from keeper Chris Webber in his first over. Both bowlers were proving to be very hard to score off too, with some good fielding helping whenever they rarely strayed from the tight line and length. Wingfield then put another dent in the Kenilworth middle order as first he bowled Sam O’Connell with a cheeky top spinner, and then had Lee O’Connell well caught by Jones with the very next ball. He tried to temp James with a floaty wide half volley for the hat-trick ball, but the wily veteran was having none of it! After ten miserly overs from the pair, Ways had regained control, and Tovey decided to give himself and Glenn Richardson a run out. With overs running out, the visitors looked to get a move on, and despite losing Smith to Richardson, courtesy of a smart catch by Tovey at square leg, Wardens finished their innings fairly briskly to end up on 158-7.
Stanczyszyn and Wingfield were given the task of getting the hosts off to a good start when play resumed, but some excellent bowling by Salisbury and Shetty held them at bay, and eventually bought the first wicket, Wingfield bowled by Shetty for nought with a ball that nipped back off the seam. He also did for Jim Braddock with an identical delivery and the same score, and Ways’ reply was looking like it was going to be a struggle. Stanczyszyn held firm though, and began to look a little more settled as the opening pair were taken off by Smith and replaced with Barr and Nitin Khatavkar. The scoring rate was starting to pick up, despite Tom Hopkins falling to Barr for 5, and as Webber entered the fray Ways were at last beginning to look like they could make a game of it. The pair were about to bring up a fifty partnership when Stanczyszyn feathered an edge through to the keeper off the slow bowling of James for the game’s top score of 44. Sarwar and Webber then pretty much put Ways in the driving seat with a fine stand of 69 for the next wicket, some fine running between the wicket and good shot placement giving the visitors the run around. Neither of them were able to see it through however, as teenage spinner Sahota accounted for both of them on identical scores of 38. With Wardens bringing back opening their bowlers from the Pavilion End to try and blow the hosts’ tail away as a foil to young Bedi at the other end, it started to look like it would go to the wire, but some fine attacking shots from the Richardson and Jones saw Ways home with 2 balls of the match to spare.
All round, a very good match, with some encouraging performances from the 2's as they begin the league season away at Himbleton CC on May 1st.