Sunday 11th September 2011 vs Gardeners C.C.
Wash uprooted at the last
Gardeners C.C. 184 for 8 (40 overs)
Washington C.C. 175 all out (39.4 overs)

Matthew Cragoe reporting

Wash came up just short on Sunday in an exciting 40-over contest with Gardeners CC of Dulwich. Having restricted the home team to 184, Wash were in the hunt throughout, but ended up 9 runs shy of their target when the last wicket fell in the final over.

After the game, skipper Aff Naseem used an unexpected and extended horticultural metaphor to sum up his feelings about the afternoon’s play: “I thought our bowlers had prepared the ground well; unfortunately, despite some cultivated stroke play from hardy perennials like Hilly, Sam and Ash, most of the batters failed to blossom and we didn’t reap the harvest we expected.”

This was indeed one of Washington’s sharpest bowling displays of the season; the Gardeners batsmen had to dig deep throughout and work hard for their runs. 

In weather conditions that switched randomly between sunshine, cloud and rain, accompanied by gusts of wind so strong that bowlers were literally blown off their run-ups, Sam Clarke (0-12) and Luke Mitchell (1-22) set the tone for a fine bowling display.  Parsimonious, aggressive and penetrative once on top, they kept the openers tied down and, from that point, wickets fell at regular intervals. 

Stuart Marsh (2-32) bagged a brace; Toby Mariner (1-36) and Gary Malcolm (1-43) picked up a wicket apiece, and Peter Kloss (2-30) could have had three but for a team decision to call back a batsman given lbw but who it was revealed had nicked the ball onto his pad.

Supported by excellent fielding (notably by Rory Guy at short cover and danger-man Cruickshank at mid off) and some good catching by Mariner, Cruickshank and Mitchell, Wash took tea in good spirits, confident that the game was within their grasp.

For the first few overs that impression remained.  Shawn Hill (43) began magnificently, hitting the ball very hard and smashing one bestial six back over the bowlers head and clean out of the ground.  However, the good start began to falter after opening partner Guy (4) was taken on the boundary after a similar shot held up in the strong wind. Matt Cheviott (2) and Naseem (0) followed in quick succession, and then, to everyone’s amazement (including his own) Hill was bowled.

It fell to middle-order pair, Cruickshank and the promoted Clarke, to rebuild the innings.  And what a great effort it was.  Cruickshank (42) has hit top form with the bat in the dying days of the season, and followed last week’s maiden 50 with another excellent knock here. Clarke (32), meanwhile, batted with style, good technique and not a little determination to record his highest score for the Wash.

Together they added 64 for the fifth wicket, and brought Wash right back into the reckoning; Mariner (15) then applied the long handle to anything that came into his half of the pitch, and suddenly Wash were 35 runs from victory with four wickets in hand and needing just 4 an over.

They should have won, but they didn’t.

Mariner was bowled, and Peter Kloss, having struck a magnificent six of his own, tried one shot too many and was caught. The run rate slowed and the balance tilted against the Wash: Marsh (0) and Mitchell (3) gamely tried to pick things up, but it wasn’t to be, and Malcolm was left unbeaten on 4.

 So ended a very decent game of cricket, which ebbed and flowed all afternoon.  But as with so many of Washington’s games this season they fell short at the last.

Man of the match:  Ash Cruickshank – excellent batting, good catching and a mighty run out from mid off.

Packing the kit:  The skipper for arriving late!  

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Player Runs How out
Shawn Hill 43 Bowled
Rory Guy 4 Caught
Matthew Cragoe 2 Caught
Aff Naseem 0 Caught
Ash Cruickshank 42 Bowled
Sam Clark 32 Caught
Toby Mariner 15 Bowled
Peter Kloss 16 Caught
Stuart Marsh 0 Caught
Gary Malcolm 4* 
Luke Mitchell 3 Run Out
Wkt Runs Batsmen
1 23 Shawn Hill  &  Rory Guy
2 20 Shawn Hill  &  Matthew Cragoe
3 7 Shawn Hill  &  Aff Naseem
4 6 Aff Naseem  &  Ash Cruickshank
5 64 Ash Cruickshank  &  Sam Clark
6 28 Sam Clark  &  Toby Mariner
7 3 Sam Clark  &  Peter Kloss
8 14 Peter Kloss  &  Stuart Marsh
9 0 Stuart Marsh  &  Gary Malcolm
10 10 Gary Malcolm  &  Luke Mitchell

Player Cts Wkt Cts Stmps
Sam Clark 1 - -
Ash Cruickshank 1 - -
Shawn Hill - 1 -
Toby Mariner 2 - -
Player Overs Mdns Runs Wkts
Peter Kloss 7.0 0 30 2
Gary Malcolm 4.0 0 43 1
Toby Mariner 7.0 0 36 1
Sam Clark 6.0 1 12 0
Luke Mitchell 8.0 1 22 1
Stuart Marsh 8.0 0 32 2