After one of the most disrupted pre-seasons in living memory the opening month of the Middlesex League Season has stuttered into life and has seen mixed results throughout the club.
1st XI - P3 – W2 L1 – Pts 20 – currently joint 3rd
After last season’s terrific league season, the 1st XI have been able to add 3 new faces to the side for the 2012 season and have started solidly, picking up two victories after the opening day defeat to Teddington.
The season began with the mammoth journey to Bushy Park to face Teddington. After losing the toss on a seamer friendly surface, the Hill struggled with the bat early on, being reduced to 73-6 before Jim Gatting (70*) and new Aussie import Brendan McDonald (55) put on 99 for the 7th wicket. Another new boy Toby Sharpe (19) batted well with Gatting to push the final score up to a respectable 211- 8 from 66 overs.
With the ball, in less favourable conditions, the Hill struggled to make inroads into the Teddington Middle Order. Sharpe (3-43) and the third 1st XI debutant Dela Terblanche (1-29) took the wickets, however it was not enough as Teddington, led by Austin (87*) got home with 6 wickets in hand.
Full scorecard for this match can be found here http://winchmorehill.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11392843
After this disappointment, the side bounced back to winning ways with a convincing victory over Hampstead at the Paulin. After winning the toss and electing to field, Adam Howorth’s men were quickly into their stride and the new ball duo of Player of the Day Thorpe (5-23) and Sharpe (4-21) restricted the visitors to a lowly 65 all out.
Despite the loss of a few wickets, the Hill cruised home for the loss of 5 wickets led by the ever-calm Luke Stoughton, who weighed in with 27 not out.
The match scorecard can be viewed here http://winchmorehill.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11392848
With the first win under the belt to settle into the season, the next visitors to the Paulin were Brondesbury. After losing the toss, the Hill, boosted by the inclusion of Middlesex staffer Scott Newman, were asked to field first in sweltering heat and carried on much of the good work from the previous week. The regular fall of wickets consistently stopped Bron in their efforts to put a serious partnership together and as a result were bowled out just after lunch for 143. Pleasingly the wickets were shared around all five bowlers used – Thorpe with 3, Sharpe (against his former club), Gatting and McDonald all with 2 apiece while Terblanche chipped in with 1.
In reply, the Hill were in a tricky position at 67-4 but the crucial partnership came from Jim Gatting, promoted to number 3, and Neil Hurst, coming in lower down the order to accomodate Newman in the openers berth, who together guided the side home in a 79 run partnership without the loss of any further wickets. Hurst used all his experience to end up 19 not out while the in form Gatting stole the show with a superb unbeaten 74 including 13 boundaries, which coupled with his 2 wickets justly deserved the Player of the Day Jacket.
The match scorecard can be found here http://winchmorehill.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11392844
2nd XI – P3 – W1 WD1 LD1 L0 – Pts 15 – Currently 3rd
After last season’s great escape, new captain Danny Barker has set about trying to start the season positively and despite very little in the way of preseason, results and attitude have backed that up as the 2nd XI lie 3rd after the first month.
The league season began on home turf against Highgate. Like the 1st Team, Hill lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Openers Tom Ludlam (36) and James Mote (39) both made good starts, however it was a partnership of 122 between Chris Lewis (50) and Player of the Day Sacha Selvaratnam (88) that propelled the Hill to an imposing 242-8 off 50 overs.
With the Ball, Hill let Highgate back into the game, as the opening spells went to all parts. However, the combination of Barker’s canny slow bowling and a terrific spell from Jack Henson started to pull the run rate back. The game was in balance with 10 overs to go, with Highgate requiring 67 off the final 10 overs. However, some sharp fielding from the Hill, including two run outs saw Highgate fall 13 short, 8 wickets down. Hill took the 4pts
Full scorecard for this match can be found here http://winchmorehill.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11407615
The 2nds then travelled to Indian Gymkhana for game 2 and after winning the toss and choosing to field let themselves down with numerous dropped catches that allowed the hosts more cracks at the whip. Despite a terrific spell from young spinner DJ Jhala who grabbed a 5 wicket haul, the total of 175-7 from 52 overs was probably 30 more than should have been allowed, albeit in very hot conditions.
In reply, the Hill lost a couple of early wickets but were in control of proceedings at 70-2 but the quick loss of two well set batsmen meant the 2s struggled to get back the momentum against some canny bowling from the hosts. Unlike previous seasons though, there was some grit shown by the lower order batsmen to ensure the defeat was avoided with new boy Jack Irwin unbeaten on 32 at the end.
The final Saturday of the month saw the 2nd XI pick up their first victory of the season against Kenton and in convincing fashion too. Bowling first, the Hill restricted the hosts to 186-9 from 50 with wickets shared around Henson, Barrell, Barker and Jhala. In reply, after the openers had decent starts, the mantle was picked up by Chris Lewis (76 not out) and new addition Tom Kopleman (52) whose crucial partnership quelled any nerves and guide the side home to a 5 wicket victory with 6 overs to spare. A vital 10 points and now a good foundation to press on for promotion that is the aim for the side.
3rd XI - P2 LD1 L1 A1 – Pts 2 – Currently 8th
After the horrible April weather abandoned the opening league fixture of the season, the 3rd XI have had a struggle on return to Division 2, however with better availability to come and strengthen the side, a return to winning ways will only be a matter of time.
The first match proper was a real baptism of fire against Barnes who visited the Paulin Ground. Batting first the visitors racked up an imposing 257-9 from 50 overs which the Hill never got close to, being bowled out for 160 with just under ten overs to spare.
The following week saw Ickenham visit and batting first the visitors took full advantage of a good track to post a daunting 282-7 from 50 overs aided in no small part by the dropping of nine catches and missing a fielder who could not get back from Southampton (not impressed). However, despite the loss of early wickets, 45 from Jack Irwin and an unbeaten half-century from Tim Royall meant defeat was avoided and the first proper point gained for the 3s .