Real Week 1 – We’re back!

So finally, we’re back to real cricket action. It was great to see so many people (socially distanced) and within the ECB guidelines at the club.

This was the start of a new 9 week Thames Valley Cricket League – and a big thanks to everyone on the TVCL committee for getting the league back up and running, with new rules, new format and also hastily rearranged fixtures when sides pulled out or to accommodate any changes that happened in the HCPCL. It is much appreciated!

In a break with the usual format – we’ll start with the 4s and end with the 1s.

Royal Ascot 4s v Kidmore End 4s

The 4s were up against a new team to the league, Kidmore 4s. Also, we were delighted that three of our colts were making their debuts at senior level, and that they were also having the opportunity to play with their Dads!

Kidmore End won the toss and elected to bat first. Rajiv Docker and James Summers opened the bowling and Summers soon had Kidmore in trouble at 31 for 3. James Summers finished his spell with the remarkable figures of 5-5-0-3!

Kidmore’s innings recovered though as it was built around Vasu Gupta’s 53, but with Rajiv Docker taking 3 wickets and Joseph Summers and Maninder Motizada taking 2 wickets each, Kidmore finished 142 all out in 35.4 overs

Kidmore struck early with the wicket of John Dunnet for 9, but a 50 partnership between Mark Wiggett and James Docker put Ascot back on track. James Docker reached 51 before retiring but Steve & Owen Bowles got Ascot within range of victory before Owen was stumped with 4 needed.

Skipper Richard Baker scored the winning boundary to help the 4s win by 6 wickets with 15 overs remaining.

Finchampstead 4s v Royal Ascot 3s

The 3s were the visitors at Finchampstead 4s. Ascot won the toss and elected to bat first but suffered an early blow both figuratively and physically with the loss of Deep Mohain, who also had his fingers broken from a delivery.

Dan Mallett 36 and Tom Clarke 23 got Ascot back on track but no one could go on and post a big score except for Naeem with 45, helping Ascot reach a respectable 175 all out in 39.4 overs.

Despite the early wicket of Ben Simmons, Finchampstead make easy pickings of the Ascot attack to reach a comfortable win on the back of a large 2nd wicket partnership by Jamie Brown 63 and Wesley Roberts 103 not out, to win by 8 wickets with more than 14 overs remaining.

Boyne Hill 3s v Royal Ascot 2s

The 2s were on the road at Boyne Hill 3s. Ascot won the toss and elected to field first. Aarav Radhakrishnan struck early with two wickets but Boyne Hill’s middle order were able to fight back with Gareth Miller 35, Callum Thompson 39, Devansh Bhikhan 28 and Hamza Sarwar 65 building an imposing 230 for 9 off 40 overs. Jez Wing was Ascot’s best bowler with 4 for 36.

Unfortunately the 2s were not at the races despite an initial start from Rob Handley 27 and Billy Baker 31, in the end Ascot stumbled to 123 all out with Callum Hayes and Jang Alam picking up 3fers.

Royal Ascot 1s v Aldershot 1s

Aldershot were the visitors to the Racecourse Ground and there was some familiarity as they played a friendly the week before!

Ascot won the toss and elected to bat first. Joshua Jayasingh 57 and Dan Corsini 55 got Ascot off to a great start with a 100 opening partnership. But Amir Hameed 2 for 8 and Jamie Grover 4 for 56 got Aldershot back into the match as the rest of the Ascot batsmen struggled to get runs. An 8th wicket partnership between Samm Daniel 12 not out and Will Ellison 15 not out helped Ascot to a good 220 for 7 off 40 overs.

Aldershot also got off to a good start with Wes Pusey 56 and Faisal Abbas 42 help seeing them reach 135 for 1. But while they had wickets in hand, the required run rate increased. Samm Daniel was economical going for just over 4 runs per over, and Andy Murray were the bowlers to help keep Aldershot in check.

But it all came to the final over, with Aldershot needing 12 off the final over to be bowled by Andy Murray

39.1 – 1 run – 210 for 6

39.2 – 1 run – 211 for 6

39.3 – 4 runs – the ball goes through the dive of the mid-off fielder! – 215 for 6

39.4 – 1 run – 216 for 6

39.5 – Run Out! – 216 for 7

39.6 – 1 run – 217 for 7

Ascot won a nail biter of a match by just 3 runs

The biggest winner though this weekend is cricket. A big thank you to Mark Wiggett, Richard Wyatt, Andy Murray, Tony King and all involved in the Colts set-up to get cricket up and running for all age groups.

Finally, I hope that the numbers playing cricket and the number of cricket clubs don’t decline because of this pandemic. The ECB have been keen to show that clubs are part of the community – and that is an integral part of ensuring cricket thrives. But if we lose some of the smaller clubs due to poaching of players that make it unsustainable then long term we’ll lose players as grounds will disappear and a mega-club model is likely to just churn players as they rise and fall within the teams.

One of the aspects I loved about playing cricket in my home county of Kent was travelling to the multitude of villages and towns around the county and the experiences they offered – from the hillside ground at Detling to the “Darling Buds of May” picturesque ground of Little Chart.

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