After their taste of victory last week, Hampton Hill’s 1st XI were in buoyant mood facing Wandgas at Bushy Park on Saturday.
Skipper Tom Hampton lost the toss again and was asked to bat. He and Stuart Barrs-James strode to the crease in determined fashion, not least as one of the Wandgas cars was delayed, meaning only nine fielders. In a strange piece of role reversal, it was Stuart who started to play the shots, Tom batting carefully, looking to build a major innings. After stroking four boundaries, Stuart popped one up to the bowler and departed for 18. James Newton-Savage joined Tom and the pair, taking advantage of the odd bad ball, pushed the score along at a decent rate. A century stand included Tom’s 50, before James played a rare false shot and was caught, giving Nuwan the first of his two wickets. Three wickets fell for three runs, reducing Hampton Hill to 136-4, as Shadab Ahmed and Charlie Newton-Savage tried to attack too soon, both giving simple catches off the bowling of Marsh. Ollie Hampton joined his brother and began the rebuilding process. Tom was now playing some fine shots and he reached a well-deserved ton. Ollie, after a cautious start, showed the form that had brought him 96 not out in the 3rd XI last week and the brothers pushed the score close to 200 before Ollie holed out. James Everett joined Tom who continued to bully the bowlers before being caught and bowled by Nuwan for a magnificent 131. The score had reached 226 and had not changed when a mix up between James and new batsman Cedric Newcombe saw James run out for 11. Only three more were added before Cedric was also back in the pavilion, leaving Stuart Skinner and David Coates to see out the overs and reach 239-8 off the allotted 45 overs.
Wandgas took to their task with relish, Mcdonnell and skipper Marsh racing to 23 from the first three overs. Tom Rose struck the first blow, having Marsh caught by skipper Tom for seven. Paul Howgate joined McDonnell and the attacking play continued until Charlie Newton-Savage surprised McDonnell with a straight one, dismissing him for 18. Jones soon came and went, caught behind by Newcombe off Rose for two, leaving Wandgas 45-3, but with plenty of overs in hand. As with the HHCC innings, Howgate and Umar had to rebuild and started to eat away at the target, Howgate reaching a fine half century. Umar was frustrating the bowlers with an array of shots, some with gloves on, some without. Even a tight spell from James Everett could not make the breakthrough. A smart move by the skipper changed the course of the game. He decided to take the pace off the ball and brought James Newton-Savage and a restrained Ollie Hampton into the attack. This put the skids on the Wandgas charge. James finally had Umar LBW for an entertaining 24 and picked up two wickets in two balls with Amir and Khan returning without troubling the scorer. Gopi joined Howgate and managed to survive the hat trick ball but at 135-6, Wandgas were on the ropes and the knock- out blow was delivered by Dave Coates who enticed Howgate, on 73, to hit one to deep mid-off where Shadab took a comfortable catch.
Beckett came to the crease and played with some surprising flair (according to his team mates) and with Gopi, started to get the scoreboard moving again before Coates bowled Gopi for eight. Williams came and went without scoring, bowled by the returning Rose who also dismissed Beckett for 24 – a juggling catch from Skipper Hampton. Wandgas managed 173 all out and HHCC had won by 66 runs. Tom Rose finished with 4-33 but the pick of the bowlers, dismantling the Wandgas middle order, were spin-twins James Newton-Savage (3-36 from 9 overs) and Dave Coates (2-22 from 5)
The win put HHCC in 3rd place behind Newdigate and Claygate and a couple of points ahead of Woodmansterne, their opponents at Bushy Park on Saturday.