Hoad Swings For Six As Fives Win
An excellent result for the 5s, as they move on up the table
Chris Hudson writes...
A few marvellous individual performances garnished a terrific team effort as the ‘5s’ continue to gather some positive momentum this season. After a character-building start (with losses to Dulwich and Wimbledon) the side have dropped only one of their last seven fixtures since.
It was the skipper’s birthday the day before and so it was only fitting that he should win his first toss of the season. Not sure of what depth he had in his attack, De Mello chose to send in the oppo and trust fate. The side had only 3 1/2 recognised bowlers on the sheet and two of them (Hoady and Dempsey) would aggravate injuries during the innings and be forced to soldier on gamely. However, despite a lively start by the Spencer openers, the wickets came at regular intervals and served to encourage the field to stay focused. Andrew Hoad was the main man with the ball and showed his experience and class by altering his length and pace routinely. His figures of 13-5-24-6 could have been even better if one or two LBW shouts had been honoured or a chop shot had rolled to the left slightly. Considering his Achilles tendon was giving him all kinds of grief it was an honour to witness such determined grit. Hoady was ably assisted by tight fielding notably in the form of Hudson (3 catches on the day) and Simon ‘the wall’ Morris (4 catches, including a stiff c&b and a diving grasp at gully), but also demonstrated by all players chasing hard, cutting off throws and backing each other up beautifully. Honourable mentions for Steve Cross who assisted the skipper with his tactics and also took a tough catch himself, Justin Dempsey who attempted to bowl through the pain of a side strain and Felix Tiley behind the stumps who only missed two byes all day. The skipper almost held a worldy at mid-on but the ball dislodged when his horizontal form hit the dirt. Sam Gregson, not normally known as a death bowler, was forced to come on- as the overs were spent for the regulars- but showed us all that he may have been hiding his light under a bushel when it comes to bowling. He dismissed the last man for not very much and Spencer were all out for 153 after 41 overs.
A longish lunch watching Hales rip apart Surrey’s attack (…sigh).
Reigate’s opening pair were Crossy and Paul Fisher. Things looked solid for a while despite some probing in-swing by Spencer’s first bowlers. Steve narrowly missed getting bowled behind his legs when he walked across too quickly but settled and started to hit the rope pretty well. Fish was, as always, patient and waited for the bad ones but was slightly frustrated that the ball wouldn’t come on to him. After a great start for the partnership Cross left his bat hanging and nicked one to the keeper (although he has a different version of this story if you ask him). This brought Sam Gregson to the crease. One of the urban myths that is pushed around is that most great innings involve and early drop. Well, Gregson wanted to prove this point as he not once but twice lobbed an easy catch to the Spencer field, only to have it spilled. He then tried to offer the oppo a run out as he attempted to overrule as call from Fish at the other end. This led to both batsmen finding each other at the same crease in a bemused fashion. Meanwhile, Spencer’s field had managed to get the ball back to the keeper’s end but fortunately Sam hadn’t given up and managed a diving slide to safety while first slip fumbled his attempt to break the stumps. Sadly, one run short of his half century Gregson was adjudged lbw when having a go at a sweep. Still, a great knock from him and his highest score of the season so far. Felix Tiley’s excellent batting was hardly required this week as Fisher made sure of his 50 and shortly afterwards carried his bat as Reigate romped home. Trebles all around!
Hudson’s last contribution to the match was to crank the winner’s music in the changing room. Unfortunately his ‘dance in the pants’ to Kool and the Gang’s celebration somehow made it on to the RGS Snapchat feed by the time he got home (know anything about this Felix?).
With the 4s on a bye next week De Mello should have another chance to keep the momentum going with a few even stronger players being available for their first match at Red Lion this season (versus Sunbury). Go well felas.