It’s been twenty hours and 638 days since they took league cricket away And nothing compares
Wherwell have been itching to get their inaugural Div 3 campaign underway having been hampered by inclement weather throughout May. With the month almost gone without a ball bowled in anger, the forecasts suggested that league cricket would once again commence.
Wherwell won the toss and having chosen to bat were stunned to be 3-1 after the first over, Cooke (2) failing on debut. Hartney Wintney piled on the pressure with some tight bowling but failed to make another early breakthrough. Skeates (64) and Gladwyn (33) saw off the new ball in steady manner and then began to build the score, including an early contender for shot of the season as Gladwyn brought out the reverse sweep. Shortly after he was adjudged LBW and Wherwell knew it was time to push on. There followed a succession of cameos, notably Emslie (21) and Cutts (17), all batting with much needed intent - despite some questionable running which serves to boost the fines pot - and Wherwell managed to swell their predicted score of 161 to a final score 180-8.
Hartney Wintney, stalwarts of Division 3, set about the chase in a calm and controlled manner. Emslie and Cutts failed to make the breakthrough and though Trebert found an edge or three it was another debutant who made the breakthrough. With 50 on the board and realising the RRR was growing, Philpott (32) went hard at Dawes but only managed to feed a simple catch to slip. No one looked comfortable facing the left-armer and he finished with 1-11 off his 8 overs - in a tight game that spell choked the Hartney Wintney reply.
With the door open and the run rate rising, Wherwell began chipping away. Trebert (1-43) deserved his wicket removing the other opener next, Porter (33). And then the spin kept coming as Young (3-34) and Skeates (1-23) combined well to collect 4 wickets between them whilst keeping the runs under control. Hartney Wintney weren’t done and wins in this league don’t come easily. Digweed (24*) and Hudson (18), who had both bowled well earlier, set about chasing down the total. The return of Cutts (1-29) and the continuing Young proved too much and despite a valiant effort the timely wicket of Hudson left Hartney Wintney 10 runs short.
Wherwell will be delighted to kick off the season with a win but it wasn’t plain sailing, bigger performances will be needed in the coming weeks if the wins are to keep coming.