With spirits high after last week’s victory over Portsmouth, and with the unexpected luxury of naming an unchanged team, the 2nd XI on Saturday played host to Calmore Sports II at Ridge Meadow – and turned in a second consecutive (but this time tighter) win, moving themselves further from the bottom of the league and leaving them confident of avoiding relegation.
Lecky lost the toss, and the Dons were asked to bowl first. Will Hardman took the new ball, and while he didn’t get as much out of the pitch as he did last week, he removed one of the openers who chipped a simple catch to mid-off. But on a dry pitch, bowling duties were soon handed over the left-arm spin pairing of Turns and Lecky. Turns was as economical as ever, allowing just 20 runs from his 10 overs, but without taking a wicket this week; and Lecky claimed one scalp to a diving catch by Henry Glanfield at long-off.
With the score at 108 for 2 after 30 overs, Seb came on to bowl after a warm-up routine of long-on to long-off for 20 overs, with Chris Glanfield taking over from Lecky at the pavilion end. After a few overs, Seb removed the number four, ending his 5-match wicket drought; shortly afterwards the new man in was run out by Henry without facing. A couple of overs later, Woodhall the number 3 was out for 73 as he skied one to Turns at long-off, who was heard to shout “Shit!” as he lost it in the sun, but managed to hang on to it. Two balls later Seb took a return catch to reduce them to 165 for 6.
Calmore pushed towards the 200-run mark in the final few overs; but the innings wrapped up on 198 for 8 with Seb taking consecutive wickets from the final two balls, giving him his first five wicket haul for Hambledon.
An excellent tea from the Willoughbys left those batting lower in the order thinking that it was perhaps a good toss to lose after all...
Vickers opened the batting with Lecky, who was brandishing a shiny new bat – much to the surprise of all watching. Vickers got off to a flyer: of his first 33 runs, all but one came from boundaries. Lecky scored 20 before being caught, the first wicket falling on 65. A couple of quick wickets then fell to bring Phil Rennie in; and he was required to steady the ship after Vickers soon afterwards played a cut so late that he clattered his own stumps and left a big dent in his bat, departing for 60 for the second week running.
A couple more cheap wickets and things were looking shaky at 119 for 6, with 80 required at a run per ball. But Phil and Seb put together a solid partnership with some good running, and soon the target looked easily attainable. Seb finally chipped it to mid-on for 12 with just 8 runs required for victory, and when another wicket fell soon afterwards there were a few nerves in the pavilion; but Will kept it out well, and when the win was a single hit away there was only one way it would end – and sure enough, Phil smashed it back over the bowler’s head to secure victory, finishing unbeaten on 73.