So Close, but Perfect Season Thwarted

HHCC 1’s entertained Chobham on Saturday at Bushy Park, hoping to continue their perfect season after 12 wins out of 12 but, alas, despite a valiant effort it was not to be. Just falling short with one wicket needed.
The toss was always going to be important and the Chobham skipper called correctly and stuck Hill’s openers Tom Hampton and Harry Coates in. These two seem to be having a mid-season lull, the runs not flowing as easily as before. With only 14 on the board, Coates failed to leave one and was caught behind. James Newton Savage joined Hampton and looked comfortable before they fell in quick succession leaving the hosts 40/3. Alan Coleman was joined by Tom Evans and they managed to push the score along with some fine shots and quick running before Evans was caught behind. This brought James Robottom to the crease and he played a more conservative role to Coleman’s shot playing, the latter reaching a well-deserved 50. The introduction of wily old bowler Carr for the visitors changed the game, Coleman picking out the only deep fielder with his swipe of a full toss. Captain Fullicks then joined Robottom, but was soon back in the pavilion, also mistiming an attacking shot off Carr. Birthday boy Paul Metcalfe then arrived and calmed everything down and Robottom started to play some shots, pushing the score up to 185 before being clean bowled by McLean. Metcalfe then took on the bowlers with some decent shots (for his age) and although partners David Coates and John Marrinan quickly came and went to Carr (4/41), he managed to get the score up to 214 off 45 overs.

Chobham had 50 overs to reach their target and for once the opening duo of Metcalfe and Fullicks did not pick up early wickets, a flat pitch and fine batting from captain Allen and McRae keeping them at bay, only offering a couple of half chances in a fine century stand. McCrae reached 50 and with 22 overs left to get just over 100, the game was finely balanced. Fullicks finally made the breakthrough when getting through McRae’s gate and bowling him – 108/1. This became 108/2 the very next ball as Cheeseman was caught in front despite his protestations. Now HHCC started to up the pressure , Coleman had replaced the unrewarded Metcalfe (obviously old age and his new wayward run up had tired him out), and picked up the valuable wicket of Allen, a fine catch by stand in keeper Newton Savage. 114/3 became 120/4 as McClean holed out to Coates off Coleman. Budd and Jenkins decided that defence was the only option, a losing draw was better than a loss, especially as no one else had managed that. Fullicks had other ideas, bowling them both to leave the visitors 150/6 but with overs running out. Orme hit a couple of big fours, but was also bowled by Fullicks to give him yet another Michelle. The rejuvenated Metcalfe then picked up his first of the day to leave the visitors 8 down with 6 balls to go. Silk was facing and hit the second ball just backward of square, or so he thought. “Robot arms” Robottom stretched out his arm and took an amazing catch at silly point. 165/9. Could the veteran Carr last the 3 remaining balls? In fact he only faced one and eased a single away to leave the younger Cawley to play out the last 2 balls and secure the draw and stop HHCC from winning in the league for the first time this season.

This result and Old Tenisonians winning again, means that the gap is down to 59 points. With HHCC having next week off, OT need to pile on the pressure against 3rd placed Horley. HHCC remain firm favourites , needing only 22 points from their last three games to win the league. Next up, in two weeks’ time is a trip to Woodmansterne, followed by OTs at home. Despite the disappointment of losing the 100% record, HHCC are still confident of winning the title.

The 2s had their own top of the table clash at Shepperton. Carr won the toss and stuck the hosts in, but they made a fine start with Farrer and Jones putting on 50 before Ollie Fallows bowled Jones, Smith quickly followed him, LBW to Fallows as the leaders put the pressure on the 2nd place team. Carr joined the attack and picked up a wicket leaving Shepperton 88/3. Farrer was still there and reached his half century in company with Pilkington, pushing them to 131 before Ahmed bowled Pilkington. Carr then picked up 3 more wickets, including that of Farrer for 84, to leave the home side 155/7. A run out from Robbie Coates send another back, but the last 2 wickets put on a valuable 38 runs before Carr got his 5th and 6th wicket to leave HHCC a target of 196 off 44 overs.

The innings started badly with Nigel Coates harshly given out LBW for 1 and Exworth joined Ahmed at the crease. The latter taking a liking to the bowling while scoring a quickfire 37. Exworth fell first though, caught for a duck but still managing to add 28 for the 2nd wicket. Shadab then fell to Harn, leaving HHCC at 46/3. This was quickly 46/4 with Thornley failing to trouble the scorers. Robbie Coates and Scott Mitchell then started repairing the damage and put on over 60 before Mitchell holed out for 43. 108/5. Fallows then joined Coates and added 33, edging ever closer to the target before getting caught. 141/6. After last week’s tail end flourish, could they do it again? As with the 1’s, it was not to be as Tom Coates, Butt, Carr and “Gloves” Thomas all departed quickly with just 7 scored between them to leave Robbie Coates stranded on 45 and HHCC short of victory on 157. Three more runs would have given then an additional bonus point which would have kept them top, but now they fall to second just a point behind their conquerors. Putney, next week’s visitors to Bushy Park, are third, 12 points back so HHCC need to bounce back and put in a strong performance next week to keep up their push for the title and a second successive promotion.

The 3rd XI completed a disappointing day for the club with a 3-wicket defeat, also at the hands of Shepperton. Hampton Hill batted first after losing the toss and a combination of some tight bowling by young opener Josh Day (2-6), some uneven bounce and a dubious umpiring decision reduced the visitors to 125 all out in 39 overs. A patient 48 from Martin Rutherford only supported by newcomer Zac Dodd (19) and a belligerent, lower order cameo from Niall Carr (12). For the home side, another youngster, Will Garside picked up three late wickets.

Wickets fell steadily in Shepperton’s reply. Jerry Fallows nine over spell conceded just 18 runs, picking up the wicket of Shepperton captain, Totty. At the other end Jack Fullicks bowled with excellent control, taking 2-7 in his 6 overs. Niall Carr also picked up two wickets. Whilst batsmen came and went at the other end, opener Josh Thomas stood firm. Combining sound defence with an increasing array of shots, he ended unbeaten on 63, getting support from Nayer and Mair as Shepperton reached their target for the loss of seven wickets.

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