FWOE 2nd XI 239-8 from 45, Himbleton 2nd XI 207-9, FWOE win by 32 runs
A superb knock from Chris Webber took ways to a total that proved out of reach for Himbleton, who never really threatened to sustain the run rate required, especially against an excellent performance in the field from Ways – not flawless, but much better than some recent games. Chris dominated the Ways innings, but gained important support from a number of other batters, meaning the innings was sustained by consistent partnerships, and he also played an important role with the ball. Another important contribution came from skipper Jon Tovey, who had an excellent all round game, particularly in taking four catches in the outfield.
Jon’s first contribution was to win the toss, and along with Laura Hill, set the innings up with a fifty opening partnership. Jon drove well, and Laura was powerful through the legside, with a memorable hook for four and the first of the day’s many maximums picked up over the short leg side boundary from opening bowler Godwin. Simon Edmunds proved more difficult to get away when he replaced Godwin, and soon enticed a loose drive from Laura that didn’t quite clear backward point: 55-1. Jon struck Edwards for two boundaries in one over but then holed out at deep mid on trying to hit a third: 82-2. A third sound partnership followed between Chris Webber and Ian Garrett, Chris dominating the stand of 44 including his first six, flicked off the pads from Gavin Wright, who though wicketless was probably the most consistent of the Himbleton bowlers. The very slow left arm spin of Preece induced an outside edge from Ian, and Preece then picked up Zoheeb cheaply, and then Sabir, who having hit a roof rattling six to the shorter boundary tried to repeat the dose off Preece to the very much longer boundary and was well caught right on the fence (it would have been a six on almost any other ground). Although Chris had now gone to his fifty with a brace of boundaries from Wright, this left the innings tottering a little at 159-5. Chris now stepped up the pace with good support from youngster Abib Abid, who only scored four, but added 41 to take the total to 200. Chris hit 18 in one over from Preece, two offside fours and a straight six, then swatted Preece over the fence again in his next over. The main threat to the partnership seemed to be miscommunication between the wickets, but then new bowler Brooks had Abib picking out point and bowled Haroon Khan in the same over. 204-7 and three overs to go. The returning opener Godwin was then monstered by Chris, a beautifully timed flick over square for six, followed by a heave over the leg side boundary that endangered the watchers in the pavilion, a hook for four from an attempted bouncer, and then a chop behind point for two that brought Chris to his maiden century. Godwin had his revenge in the final over as Chris holed out at mid off for 104 magnificent runs, but Gavin Anderson finished the innings in style flicking then smiting the last two deliveries to the fence to leave Ways final score an impressive 239-8.
Himbleton never really threatened this. Hannah Murray bowled an excellent spell of seven overs, beating the bat several times, seeing half chances sliced just out of the fielders’ reach, but always keeping the runs down. If runs were a bit easier at the other end, the opening partnership between Pretty and Preece could not get above four an over, and saw the required rate therefore climb slowly but steadily in the face of good ground fielding.
Drinks at 23 overs came with the score 88-0, but at this point when the partnership was starting to catch the combined age of the batters (121 apparently), a direct hit from mid on by Glenn Richardson gave Ways the first breakthrough. Jem Rose at three threatened to play the innings that would put Himbleton up with the rate, but after a quick and aggressive start, he found it more difficult to collar Jon Tovey followed by Chris Webber – pace off the ball frustrated the Himbleton batters. Jon Tovey got a deserved wicket in the final over of an excellent containing spell (121-2, JT 1-24 from 9). New batter Godwin immediately launched Gavin Anderson for a glorious straight six, but next over tried to do the same to Chris Webber’s first ball and succeeded only in spiralling it up to extra cover where Jon Tovey judged it nicely. From this point, the inability of the Himbleton batters to regularly find the boundary kept the rate climbing. Another superbly judged catch in the deep by JT gave Gavin Anderson a deserved wicket, and got rid of Rose for 31 and effectively ended Himbleton’s hopes.
Wickets started to tumble in the final few overs, as much due to the pressure of the fielding as the bowling (although Sabir provided us with a comedy gold moment in the final over with a triple drop followed by despairing lunge as the ball finally eluded his grasp). Abib, the unfortunate bowler, did pick up a wicket with the final ball of the game, as Jon Tovey took his fourth catch of the innings. By this point, Zoheeb had achieved the second direct hit run out of the innings, and Hannah Murray collected two thoroughly deserved wickets in her final over to finish with impressive figures of 2-23 from nine.
So, the Chris Webber show came to an end. But if Chris was the star, and JT an honourable second, in fact this was a good all round performance, batting deep in support of the main runmaker, bowling consistently, and an excellent performance in the field. Eighth place in the table, but with better luck from the weather, especially the two rained off games against bottom club Alverley, Ways could be in fourth. Much to look forward to in the final month of the season.
Match report by Ian Garrett