Shoare Best Brings Maximum Points For Llamas
Season's bests for Simon King and Ben Shoare ensured another victory for the Llamas at the weekend
Five wickets from Simon King
coupled with a 166-run partnership between Ben Shoare
and Andy Delmont
at greater than a run a ball, saw Reigate Priory beat East Molesey with one over to spare on Saturday. The win keeps the Llamas in joint first place in the league table with Normandy.
When the Priory was at 102-2 after 36 overs, needing 263 to win in 57 overs, what was billed as a run chase requiring 4.6 runs an over had turned into a run crawl with a run rate of 2.8 and a required run rate of 7.7.
Shoare and Delmont had come together in the 23rd over at 70-2. In just over 10 overs they put on 32 runs at 3.05 an over. But starting in over 37 (with 12 runs scored) this pair then smashed 134 runs in just 15 overs at a rate of 8.9 runs an over to set the Llamas on the road to victory in a game that once looked destined for a draw.
Delmont explained after the game: “Ben and I decided to start hitting out with about 20 overs to spare when the run rate was approaching eight runs an over. It gets very difficult if the rate gets higher than that.”
Delmont’s calm and clinical explanation does no justice to the anxiety of Priory spectators watching the game from the boundary ropes, waiting and praying for the run chase to roar into action, which, of course, it did.
Reigate had won the toss and put East Molesey in to bat on a hot summer’s day on a flat wicket. The rationale was that to take the game you needed either to bowl the opposition out or restrict their run-scoring so you were set a winnable target.
It went wrong almost from the start as East Molesey’s opening pair of Andrew Westphal, a former Cardiff MCCU player, and Dominic Reed, a former team-mate of Reigate skipper Luke Beaven
in the Unicorns, put on 114 for the 1st wicket in 23 overs at a rate of nearly five runs an over.
Initially Richard Stevens
and Will Hodson
, playing in his 100th league game for the Priory, kept the batsmen in check. But on such a flat wicket, neither bowler could trouble the batsmen.
By the 15th over Beaven was whirling away from the river end and was to do so for 25 more overs. McInley took over from Hodson at the scoreboard end in the 20th over and it was he who made the breakthrough when Reed well caught by Shoare for 61 from 55 balls at 114-1.
Beaven then bowled Westphal for 54 from 93 balls at 126-2 and McInley chipped in with the wicket of the dangerous Simon Barrett, caught by Richie Oliver
for 21 at 152-3.
The rest of the East Molesey innings was about spin, when King, bowling from the scoreboard end joined partnership with Beaven for 26 overs, the pair grinding out the remaining seven wickets, King grabbing the lion’s share with five.
When the pacemen were operating together with Beaven, the first 36 overs went for 167 runs at a rate of 4.64 per over. But with the spinners bowling in tandem, the remaining 26.3 overs cost only 95 runs at 3.6 runs per over. Indeed, in the last 10 overs of the innings, when sides are looking to strike out and boost the run rate East Molesey was able to score only 21 runs while losing five wickets.
Everything went right for King, who bowled only one over in the previous game against Guildford, as the batsmen found his flight and control difficult to deal with.
His first victim, in his second over, was East Molesey’s Sri Lankan overseas professional. Once described as “one of the brightest young batting talents in Sri Lanka,” the 27-year-old Angelo Perera had only enough time to take one boundary off King before being bowled for 27 at 185-4.
Beaven had East Molesey skipper Sam Burge caught behind for 37 at 227-5 before King started to wrap up the innings in his 10th and 11th overs when he took three wickets in seven balls, two caught and one leg before.
At 245-8 the East Molesey side then capitulated to 262 all out from 62.3 overs with Beaven and King sharing the last two wickets.
Beaven finished with 3-93 from 24.3 overs while King took 5-43 in his 13 overs.
With part one of the plan completed – East Molesey being bowled out - the Llamas had now 57 overs in which to get the required runs.
and Bradley Scriven
put on 42 runs together in just over 12 overs before Oliver was caught off Knight for 23. Scriven and Shoare put on another 28 runs but the partnership ate up 13 valuable overs before Scriven was out caught behind off Westphal for 28 off 78 balls.
By now Shoare was 11 not out from 34 balls. When the trigger on the run chase was pulled 10 overs later, he had made 26 runs off 68 balls, a strike rate of only 38.24.
His transformation, therefore, was extraordinary, as if Geoffrey Boycott had morphed into Ben Stokes. Within a further 13 balls he had hit four boundaries. Then shortly thereafter he went aerial and hit a flurry of three 6’s in the space of 11 balls - this from a batsman who in his career to date with the Llama first team had managed one 6 in almost 500 balls faced. From his slow start he hit a further 72 runs in just 52 balls, a strike rate of 138.5.
Like Shoare, Delmont has been suffering from poor form with the bat this season, particularly when judged against his stellar record at the Priory over the last five years. While Shoare was hitting 4’s and 6’s from the one end, Delmont was doing exactly the same when he faced the bowling.
Before that Maginot Line – over 37 - Delmont had scored 17 runs in 30 balls. Then, with the trigger pulled, he hit 30 in 31 balls before a final blitz of 38 runs in just 18 balls including three 4’s and three 6’s.
Delmont was the first of these two batsmen to go, stumped off off-spinner Shakir Ahmad for 85 in 79 balls at 236-3. By then a required run rate of 7.7 had receded to just 4.5 runs an over for the win.
Shoare left four overs later just two runs short of what would have been a magnificent maiden century in Reigate colours. He was caught behind also off Ahmad at 253-3 for 98 off 120 balls. However the game was close to being won with just 10 runs needed with 15 balls to go.
The winning runs came nine balls later from a two from Stevens. Stats fans will have already noted that his 3 not out brings his batting average for the season so far to 91.0. This places him third in the league batting averages, rara avis indeed.