Week 1 – A Semblance of Normality

After two seasons of pandemic, a sense of normality returned to the cricket season. Week 1 of the Thames Valley Cricket League without the hand sanitiser breaks or restricted access to facilities, although the cricket tea now looks to be an endangered species.

Wokingham 2 v 1s

The 1s started their journey in Division 2b at Wokingham 2s. A tough first trip in most circumstances but during the off-season Wokingham had recruited several new 1st XI players and it turned out to be a long day for Ascot.

Wokingham won the toss and elected to bat first. And did they bat! Despite being 74 for 3 early on, Wokingham were still scoring at over 6 runs per over. The middle order of Jaydon Barson (104), Mac Dsouza (76 not out) and Jarrett Bobb (45) scored at over a run a ball and Ben Myles (49) came at a strike rate of 83 to put the Ascot attack to the sword and score a mammoth total of 386 for 7 off 50 overs. A nod to Myles Trainor as the pick of the Ascot attack with 2 for 55 in 10 overs.

Ascot were never in the run chase especially with the early loss of Mike Breet, but with batting points on offer then Christo Karemaker (50) and James Wensley (37) were building towards a total of 200+ for the maximum batting points. But 151 for 5 became 168 for 9.

However, a gallant 62 run last wicket partnership from Rob Williams (34 not out) and skipper Mike Brown (24) helped Ascot to 230 all out. A big defeat but at least some good points were obtained in a losing cause. Billy Rogers was the pick of the Wokingham attack with 3 for 26.

The 1s are at home to Fleet this weekend.

2s v Bracknell

Bracknell won the toss at the Racecourse Ground and elected to bowl first. They soon had Ascot in trouble at 34 for 3 but a 50 partnership between Owen Bowles (40) and Waqar Soomro (18) helped Ascot back on track. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals though but thanks to Hassan Sohail (33) and Satpal (25), Ascot reached 172 all out in the 41st over. However, this was probably about 30 runs under par.

Nisarg Patel with 4 for 15 and Shafiq Malik with 4 for 42 did the damage for Bracknell.

Bracknell were in control of the run chase as the openers put on 50 for the first wicket and then Zeeshan Mehtab (55) and Mohammed Mehmood (30) eased them to within sight of the total needed as they reached the target with 5 wickets and 5.5 overs remaining. Owen Bowles took 2 for 18 for Ascot.

The 2s are on the road at Newbury this weekend.

Binfield 3 v 3s

The 3s were on the road at Binfield. On winning the toss, Ascot elected to bowl first. Good early bowling kept the Binfield run rate down but the Binfield innings was built on skipper’s Kamal Gupta 59 not out. Binfield made 158 for 6 off 40 overs. In the end the additional 20 wides from the Ascot bowling attack would be decisive. Sadiq Ahmed Khan’s 3 for 23 was the pick of the Ascot attack.

Despite good knocks from Joseph Summers (33) and Rob Bennett (30), Ascot just fell short as they were bowled out for 148 with 2 overs remaining. Skipper Gupta was the pick of the bowling with 3 for 18 and Isobel Carson took 3 catches and a stumping behind the stumps to ease Binfield to a 10 run win.

The 3s are at home to Thatcham Town 3s this weekend.

4s v Maidenhead & Bray 4s

Maidenhead & Bray won the toss at Locks Ride and elected to bowl first. Runs were not easy to come by and Ascot were grateful to John “Dasher” Dunnet (25) and Cedric Cooray (31) at the top of the order and then skipper Richard Baker’s 48 not out at the end of the innings to help Ascot reach 166 all out in 39.3 overs. Alexander Le Clerq was the spearhead of the Bray attack with 5 for 17.

Tight bowling by Ascot had Maidenhead & Bray in early trouble and only Saranjeet Saluja (33) at the top of the order offered any resistance. But Le Clerq (37), Harish Thakkanawar (22 not out) and Karan Chandreja (17) pushed them towards the total but fell 16 runs short with 150 for 8 off 40 overs. Rusiro Fernando was the pick of the Ascot attack with 3 for 38.

The 4s are away at Cookham Dean 4 this weekend.

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