Wimbledon cruise to Llama total 2 down
By Antony Ireland
Tame fielding performance after young batters graft to 184
A youthful 3s batting line-up put up a decent total against Wimbledon on Saturday but a lacklustre performance in the field led to a comprehensive defeat. Inserted on a green track with plenty in it for the bowlers, Jordan Bunyan nicked off to the less quick Anand twin (Eric) for 10 before Will Dahl (34) and Jonny Flanders (also 34) batted with good application to lift the Llamas to a well-earned 85-1.
But after an hour of diligence, concentration levels began to wobble, and Dahl soon spooned one up off young off-spinner Whipple.
The Llamas still sat pretty at 100-2 at drinks, but Ant Ireland was dismissed for 6 to a wonder-grab at short midwicket and Flanders inexplicably tried to hoik a straight one immediately after and got cleaned up, leaving the young pair of Jacob McLoughlin and Matt Crighton to begin a clean-up operation from 102-4.
The young guns again showed their potential, putting on 52 together, with Crighton demonstrating a fine mix of solid defence and sweetly timed boundaries in his, you guessed it, 34.
When he was nicked off at 154-5, the Llamas began to wobble. Bevan Lester hung around for an extended 0 before falling foul of the several decades age-gap between he and McLoughlin, run out by about 10 yards attempting a quick second.
Nick Gavigan was also run out for 5, this time thanks to a superb direct hit from fine leg, and when James Brickley generously planted his foot right in the way of a straight one for a golden duck, hopes of 200+ were beginning to fade.
McLoughlin soon followed for 22, leaving VI-Kings talisman (administratively at least) Chris Hudson (3*) and Elliot Lodge (6) to nurdle us up to a respectable but slightly below par 184. You rarely win when the top score is 34 (even x3).
With the pitch already looking much more batsman friendly and the outfield a little drier, the Llamas set about defending their total with a slightly depleted attack with the likes of Cross, Lohokare and Friend on National Service for the 5s.
Lodge (2-47 from 10) continued his good form with the ball, taking two in 9 tidy overs before his ankle began to resemble a dry scone and he called time on his opening spell. Flanders (0-32 from 6) struggled to find a consistent line and length and Brickers (0-45 from 5.4) was frankly obliterated by the talented but occasionally gobby Tom Cooper (74*) who seemed to take an unnatural liking to the 3s stalwart. Perhaps he had some catnip stuck in his beard.
McLoughlin (0-25 from 8) and Gavigan (0-22 from 7) wrested back some control, but the Dons were rarely anything but comfortable as they cruised past 100 two-down. Meanwhile, the Llama fielders were increasingly resembling lamp posts.
Despite the feeble efforts of the skipper to reanimate his band of mute zombies, we continued to offer very little in the way of energy, belief or fight, and soon defeat was a foregone conclusion, Wimbledon eventually knocking the runs off 2 down with a rather embarrassing 11 overs remaining.
Let’s hope the season finishes in less limp style with a win over Walton this week.