Wimbledon win last wicket partnership battle.
By Susan Griffiths
Wimbledon's Jonathan Speller takes 7-54 as Ashtead's batting fails again.
A blustery day heralded the first of the long format games as Ashtead hosted Wimbledon at Woodfield Lane. The Stags won the toss and opted to field on a damp pitch. Initially Wimbledon’s openers Nicholas Welch and James Johnston seemed in control and put together a partnership of 51 before Welch was bowled by Harri Aravinthan for 31 in the 14th over. Aravinthan proceeded to take another 3 cheap wickets and suddenly Wimbledon found themselves at 72-4 after 22 overs. The visitors found it tough going and the next 5 wickets fell for the addition of only 37 runs, giving them a score of 109-9 by the 41st over, with 2 wickets for Prince Singh and 3 for Ben Sidwell. In to bat came a determined Jonathan Speller and together with Carlton Anand they frustrated Ashtead’s bowlers. They put together a last wicket partnership of 45, taking Wimbledon’s score to 154 before Speller was finally caught by Aravinthan off the bowling of Tom Deighton for 22. A modest target, which Ashtead had 69 overs to get, but they were to rue missed catches and that final wicket partnership.
A brief break and Ashtead’s innings got off to the worst possible start with two ducks in the very first over, both off the bowling of Jonathan Speller. Wimbledon’s opening bowlers of Speller and Ed Cooper ripped through Ashtead’s top order, who seemed unable to stick at the crease. After ten overs the Stags found themselves in shock at 35-6 with four wickets for Speller and two for Cooper. Sam Homes and Seb Stewart then began to build an innings and batted sensibly to more than double Ashtead’s score to 74 before Homes was caught by Cooper, giving Speller his fifth wicket. Stewart was batting nicely and taking his chances, but Speller proved to be Wimbledon’s saviour and Ashtead’s undoing as he bowled a 15 over stretch collecting another two wickets both for ducks.
The Stags were at 90-9 after 23 overs when James Graham came to the crease, with Stewart on 33. Graham batted with sense and confidence and Stewart played some lovely strokes making his 50 off 53 balls, including ten fours. Tea was delayed by half an hour and still Wimbledon had not managed to take that last wicket. Ashtead only needed another 21 runs when tea was taken and no doubt the batters would have preferred to continue without the break. Their stoic stand eventually came to an end as Graham fell to a flying catch by David Scott off the bowling of Cole McConchie. He had made 22 and Stewart was unbeaten on 54, with Ashtead’s score 134, 17 runs short of their target.
Wimbledon’s Speller finished with 7-54. What a strange game with the final wicket partnership in each innings being over 45 and disappointment again for the Stags.