The week following the relaxation of COVID-19 regulations saw the return of most league rules but for Ascot it was a devastating week as so many players were pinged on the app and forced to self-isolate as the number of cases increased.
With a couple of other absences, we had to take the decision to forfeit our 4th XI match, and field teams weakened by so many absences.
1s v Sonning
Sonning were the visitors at the main ground, and were put into bat by skipper, Andy Murray. Sonning lost a couple of early wickets but Tobias Allday with 68 held firm and laid the foundations for a very competitive total. He was supported in a 4th wicket stand of 50 with Andrew Niblett 29 and a 5th wicket stand of 57 with Connor Wardlaw 30.
But a mini collapse from 153 for 4 to 168 for 9 kept them below the 200 as they made 183 for 9 in 52 overs. Andy Murray was the pick of the Ascot bowlers with 3 for 41.
Ascot were never at the races. Only Tharindu Denipitiyage (47) and Andy Murray (10) made double figures, but last wicket pair Aarav Radhakrishnan and James Summers held on to secure a draw on 112 for 9 in 48 overs. Michael King took 3 for 23 for the visitors.
2s v Slough 4
The 2s were on the second ground at Slough. They lost the toss and fielded first. Tim Howson with 3 for 44 and the rest of the bowling attack had Slough in trouble at 137 for 7 but Niranjan Shimoga (43) and Abdullah Rahmani (39) helped Slough reach 204 all out in 50.4 overs.
In the end, it was more than enough despite opener Steve Bowles making 46. Hope came with Jason Carr (22) and Saria Muhammad (36) but the tail were blown away as Ascot were bowled out for 159 in 43 overs. Abdullah Rahmani capped of a great performance taking 5 for 28.
3s v Binfield 3
The 3s eventually found their fixture at Waltham St Lawrence ground and were put into bat by Binfield. Mike Wyatt top scored with 35 as they made 120 all out in 39 overs. Chris Jones took 5 for 33 for Binfield.
Binfield won at a canter by 9 wickets and with nearly 22 overs remaining as James Wright (54 not out) and Matt Humphrey (47 not out).
All in all, a very frustrating week, as Ascot felt the wrath of the pandemic despite the relaxation of the rules. However, only 2 out of the 93 fixtures were forfeited hopefully by luck rather than design and hopefully we will back to near full strength as our players come out of self-isolation.