Graces squeak home!
Graces approached this game with trepidation as last season we were given our heaviest defeat by our hosts – by 140 runs. The toss was lost and we feared the worst as the Old Wimbledonian openers took 12 off the first over. This aggression continued with 32 after 5 overs. The pitch was quite green so Dom brought the spinners on which slowed the run rate down nicely.
Mahender picked up both openers’ wickets with an accurate spell with the score at 64 off 14 overs – we were particularly happy to see the end of opener Mr Markham for a quick fire 36. Graces continued to bowl and field well not letting the hosts dominate. At drinks the score was 90 for 3 – Dean bowling the number 3.
After this no OW batsman really got going except their number 7 White who hit a stylish 50 as Graces continued to bowl well with the hosts reaching 194 off their 40 overs. Manish was the pick of the bowlers with 2 – 23 off his 8 overs.
After a fine tea Niroshan and Assad opened the batting for Graces. However we were soon in trouble as a couple of loose shots saw both openers caught and when Mendis was LBW the score was 28 in the 7th over. This became 36 for 4 as Dom was caught for 15 after some stylish drives. Mahender in at 5 then took the attack to the OW bowlers with some cracking shots, Newton and Dean fell quickly before bringing Stuart in to bat with Mahender at 90 for 6 with the game in the balance.
These 2 kept the scoring rate well past what was needed – this was to prove the deciding factor. Mahender reached his 50 before being caught for an entertaining 58. Manish soon followed leaving us at 145 for 8 off 24 overs still needing 50. The hosts were now confident but Stuart kept the attack up with Jonners supporting. An amazing juggling catch saw Stuart fall for a fab 49 in the 30th over with the score at 175. OW were cock a hoop as they sensed victory with only 1 wicket to take.
This brought Matthew in to bat with Jonners with Graces still needing 20 off 10 overs. It was starting to get gloomy and also it started to drizzle – a difficult to control wet ball worked in our favour. The last batsman brought their experience to bear seeing off the good balls as well as picking up singles to thwart OW. An occasional boundary brought cheers from the assembled Graces players and supporters. The score crept up frustrating the hosts until Jonners hit the winning 4 in the 38th over – a remarkable victory in an extremely tense match to get revenge for last season.
We then joined our magnanimous hosts for a post match drink – next week it’s south again to visit New Addington.