The Midweek Mustangs exciting run in this year’s Surrey Slam came to a disappointing end last night at Twinns’ field with a 7 wicket defeat at the hands of a youthful Effingham Ships.
Anticipation was high with a place in the Regional Finals at stake to be played at HSCC. Catto had considerately put the game on the main square to allow the spectators to enjoy the game from the pavilion without squinting in to the sun. This was evidently lost on a small band of HSCC supporters who positioned themselves on the opposite side of the ground who presumably didn’t share Steve Isaac’s musical tastes. Captain Flack continued his 100% record as a winning tosser and elected to bat on what looked to be a good pitch in ideal conditions. Tom Flemming and Toby Hernandez opened up and made a solid start taking a run a ball for the first few overs despite running between the wickets like they had never met before. Tom was then caught in the deep shortly followed by Chris Dillon. Tim Ozanne joined Toby and they put together a neat 50 partnership which set up a platform for the big hitting lower order to launch an assault for the last few overs, although this unfortunately never materialised….
Tim’s departure led to the first controversial incident of the evening as 1st XI skipper Jarred Hunt strode out to bat. Effingham clearly weren’t happy about something as he was surrounded by their players as he approached the crease. Speculation was rife amongst the crowd as to the reasons. Perhaps Jarred’s new 4 pound wand was in breach of some kind of competition equipment regulation ? Was there a player height restriction we weren’t aware of ? Or had they just heard about the HSCC bar prices ? The umpires called the Mustangs skipper onto the field and after a brief check of the rule book, Effingham were sent skulking back to their fielding positions and Jarred took guard.
Sadly Jarred wasn’t able to make them pay for their impertinence as, after a couple of boundaries, he feathered one to the keeper. Hernandez soon followed falling one short of a half century retirement, a fine innings with shots all around the wicket. Flack then joined Minikin and after a couple of boundaries, forgot his age, took off for a quick run and pulled up lame with a hamstring strain. Effingham generously allowed a runner so Flemming returned to stand at square leg for 2 balls before Flack suffered the same fate as Hunt. Some fine death bowling by Effingham, in particular from their skipper who took 5-15 off 21 balls, wrapped up the innings 3 balls inside of the 20 overs. Both Tim Stewart and Ben Hook were welcomed back to the pavilion by Danny O’Shea ceremoniously inviting them to autograph the HSCC primary club bat. It was disappointing not to be able to bat the full 20 overs and our run-a-ball total of 119 probably looked at least 20 runs under par.
However, we made a strong start in the field which gave us hope that the total could be defended. The plan to open with the spinners was thwarted by the fact that we were apparently only allowed 2 fielders outside the circle for the first 2 overs, a local rule that only umpire Reynolds seemed to be aware of. Nevertheless, it probably worked to our advantage as seamers Ozanne and Dillon bowled a very tidy first few overs with Chris taking a couple of wickets and with Effingham at 12-2 in the 4th over we were very much in the game. Unfortunately the Ships numbers 3 and 4 got themselves in quickly and were able to take advantage of the short leg side boundary against the left arm spinners to wrest back the advantage. The change of ends saw the introduction of Jarred who bowled with pace and aggression and chalked up a rare maiden in this format to get us back in with a chance. He was well supported by the leg spin of Ben Isaac who took an important wicket but this brought their skipper to the crease who capped a man of the match performance with some strong boundary hitting and we were beaten with 2 overs to spare. In truth, Effingham shaded us in most departments, particularly their fielding and running between the wickets and were deserved winners.
So the 2019 campaign comes to an end. Thanks to all of the 29 players who played in the various matches as well as those who made themselves available but didn’t get to play. Special mention to Chris Dillon who alongside the captain played in every match. Thanks also to everyone who came to support last night, to Fen for organising the food and the volunteers who manned the bar and BBQ.