The final week in one of the hottest summers in recent history. A groundsman’s nightmare. A big thank you to all the groundsmen who have helped prepare wickets in such dry conditions.
The 1s finished the season on the road at Thatcham Town 1s, which has been a bogey side for Ascot in recent seasons. Thatcham won the toss and elected to bat first. Will Ellison bowled the opening spell and got both openers out in a great spell of 3 for 32. The Ascot bowlers chipped away and were well supported in the field, especially with 4 catches from Nick Wiggett and 3 catches from Andy English to help restrict Thatcham to 180 all out off 44.2 overs. Ryan Gilmour top scored with 39.
Gamble and Hare got Ascot off to a quick start before Hare departed for 24 but James Gamble 50 and Nick Sweetman 51 broke the best part of the score before both got out to leave Jack Lunghusen 15 not out and Henry Chapman 4 not out to see Ascot through to a good win by 6 wickets and 4 overs to spare.
The 1s finished in 7th place on 191 points.
The 2s were at home to Sulhamstead & Ufton 1s who had secured promotion the previous week. It has been a tough season for the 2s as three new teams entered the Division finishing 1st, 2nd & 4th.
Sulhamstead won the toss and elected to bat first. Some early wickets from Charlie Dunnett and Mike Brown gave Ascot hope but Sulhamstead’s middle order put the rest of the bowling attack to the sword. Marc Thompson 40, Jamie Seward 54, James Williams 30, Chris Mercer 54 and Doug McDonald 38 saw them through to an impressive 267 for 8 off 45 overs.
In the end it was beyond the 2s especially when the Top 4 fell for single figures and it was left to Joshua Jayasingh’s 47 and a last wicket stand from Mike Brown 26 and Myles Trainor 22 not out to restore some pride with 166 all out off 38 overs.
The bonus points ensured that the 2s finished in 9th place – just 4 points ahead of Henley 3s with the likelihood of relegation this season following the latest information from the League but in view of the issues last season with teams withdrawing, hope springs eternal.
The 3s finished on the road at Newbury 2s. Newbury won the toss and asked the 3s to bat first. A strong total of 194 for 8 was built on the back of opener Jez Wing’s 79, Jem Bains 43 and Dirk Benneyworth with 39.
Five of the top six for Newbury got themselves to 20 or 30 but then got out with Jagjit Singh 36 top scoring. But the bowling and fielding of Ascot kept Newbury in check and with James Summers 4 for 26 and Jez Wing 3 for 40, Newbury fell 22 runs short as they were bowled out for 172 with 15 balls remaining.
The 3s finished in 7th place on 220 points.
The 4s played their final match at home at the York Club in Windsor Great Park against Bradfield 2s. Bradfield won the toss and elected to bat first. Bradfield looked on for a large total with a big 2nd wicket partnership between Richard Atkinson 45 and Jamie Farrow 54.
But then Satpal Singh Madhan weaved his spin magic to take 5 for 43 to help restrict Bradfield to 203 for 9 off 40 overs.
But at 67 for 5, this looked beyond the 4s until a 52 run partnership between Martin Kay 16 and man of the match Satpal with 62 saw them regain the momentum for Ascot. Naeem Mohammad added further impetus with a majestic 40 not out to help the 4s win by 3 wickets and just under 5 overs remaining.
A great victory to end the season over the 4th placed side in the division as the 4s finished in 8th place with 199 points.
In the end, 2018 will be seen as a tough season for the club but with at least 3 of the 4 teams avoiding relegation, the future looks bright with the strength of our colts coming through the ranks. A review of the season will appear later on.