Falkland were once again masters of their own downfall as they lost a topsy-turvy game against North Maidenhead in Division 1 of the Thames Valley league.
With Jason Williams winning his third toss in a row, he asked his bowlers to have first use of exploiting the underfoot conditions in the wicket. Although Maidenhead starting aggressively against the seam of Dale & Wood, it was the spin of Naqvi and Malik that caused all the problems for maidenhead batting order. With both bowling a nagging line and length the maidenhead batsman had little answers and at 106-5 Falkland would have fancied their chances of wrapping the innings up but Maidenhead had other ideas.
With Malik only going for 23 off his 10 overs and Naqvi 2-22 off his 10, Williams had no other option than to bring back the seamers and the part-time off-spin of Langmead. Unfortunately for Williams, Langmeads 2 overs went for 25, woods 4 overs for 41 and dales 9 overs for 73 which left Maidenhead well on course for over 250. Daminda Koluga and Williams tried to stem the flow of runs and they did to a point with Koluga taking 2-35 off 10 and Williams 2-37 off 6. Unfortunately the damage had already been done and Falkland were staring down the end of a daunting 268 to win.
After last weeks 24 wides, Falkland again let slip another 20 wides which is really starting to prove costly for them.
It was now the turn of the Falkland batsman to see what they could exploit and yet again it was Langmead who led from the front. Unfortunately for him the top order only chipped in with bits and pieces and before Falkland knew it they had lost Ali (8), Ettridge (12), Dosanth (6) to leave them teetering 110-4 but still up with the rate. The next partnership for Falkland was almost the defining one as the inform pairing of Langmead and Antum Naqvi looked to be taking the game away from Maidenhead with some good running and superb boundary hitting. At 180-5 Falkland were well set before Langmead decided that the 16 already taken off of Johns over was not enough and decided to put him over long off one last time, unfortunately for Langmead, deep mid-off was waiting and he perished for another fine 68.
Koluga joined Naqvi and both continued to just nudge the ball around and take whatever boundaries they could. Just as Falkland looked to be on top again, Koluga was given out LBW for 22 and this virtually sealed the end for Falkland. First to go was Wood, run out for 11 after confusion in the middle, Malik followed 2 balls later for 0 and Williams 4 balls after that for 0. When Naqvi was eventually run out for another good knock of 61. Rob Jones was last man to go for Falkland and leave them all out for 216 and yet another disappointing result.
Falkland will need to approve all aspects of their game if they don’t want to be looking up at the rest of the table all season. Next up is a tough Game against Gerrards Cross in the last of the 50-50 games.
Having been asked to bat on a wicket that was in patches still wet from the rain on the previous few days Falkland started very steadily with C Williams and S Clarke putting on 37 for the 1st wicket before the latter was caught by Reed from the tight bowling of Bell. Williams continued to bat well until he was run out on 30 and although the middle order made small contributions Falkland were 95 for 6 when Liam Cooper entered the crease and he batted very well to make a good 25 in the conditions with partnerships of 31 (with Malik) and 37 with Tom Ettridge who himself made a very good 21 – Falkland finished on 167 for 9 from their 45 overs but had given themselves a good target to bowl at considering the conditions.
Updated 18:42 - 1 Jun 2018 by Falkland CC
In response Finchampstead made a strong start going at 5 an over for the first 7 overs but Ettridge struck in the 8th and then Afridi in the 9th and the game turned in the space of 2 overs. Falkland continued to take wickets frequently and reduced Finch to 58 for 6 with Afridi taking 3 for 25 from his 10 and Ettridge 2 for 19 from his initial spell of 7 overs. G Beal (1 for 32) and S Trumper (3 for 18) continued to rip through the Finch tail with only M Bell 36no showing any resistance. Ettridge returned to take his 3rd wicket and the Man of the match and Finch were bowled for 103…