In the hottest weather of the year so far (and some of the hottest most player have had to play in – the English guys anyway!) WSL set about maintaining their unbeaten season away to Warfield Cricket Club.
After the low-scoring tense encounter of the previous weekend against Earley on a horrendous pitch, the team were keen to resume their previous good form and after losing the toss, were put into bat to prove they can set a high score when called to do so.
Things started well with openers Gandhi (38) and R.Sainani (12) patiently getting the team up to the half-century mark without the loss of a wicket. A combination of singles and doubles supplemented Gandhi taking advantage of a particularly short boundary, back over the bowlers head for 6 as well as series of boundaries that kept the score ticking.
But with 51 on the board, there was to be a turn in WSL’s fortunes. For just 9 more runs, WSL found themselves on 60-6, having lost Sharpe (2) leg before, Venkata (0) run-out after serious confusion, Gujjar caught without troubling the scorer and Ali falling on his second ball after a superbly-timed flick off his legs for 4. With just 13 overs gone, things were not looking that positive as WSL were ripped apart by Warfield’s Gander who picked up 4 of the 6 wickets.
With S.Sainani and Malliff at the crease things settled with the target now being to eat up the overs, rather than set to achieve a particular score. And for a while, things seemed to be going well as for the next 15 overs they not only managed to see off a lot of balls, but rack up a reasonable score along the way. But with the score on 124, Malliff (20) succumbed to a low-bouncing top spinner from bowler Rajab who had bowled superbly throughout and deserved his second scalp of the match.
WSL struggled on, with Guliani (0) and Mathur (7) also falling cheaply before the tail wagged with 8 n.o. from Kumar as S.Sainani finally fell for a well-earned 41. With 150 on the board, the 1s went into tea and some respite from the sun.
Back out into the field, the Saints opened up with a seam-spin combination to try and unsettle Warfield from the start and after a series of uncomfortable air-born shots against Kumar’s spin and deliveries flying passed the outside edge from Malliff, Kumar finally got the wicket of opener Laing with 24 on the board. WSL persevered with pace from one end, but despite a series of play and misses and low economy rate, the Saints needed to take wickets in order to win the game.
With two spinners on, Warfield were having to work really hard to score runs and it was only a matter of time before WSL started to pick up more wickets, with Kumar quickly getting himself to a 5-for (14-6-37-5) before Venkata (12-3-29-3) and Mathur (8-2-20-2) broke the resolve of Warfield and sealed the victory for Waltham.
A great win, in fantastic weather sees WSL pick up 33 points and maintain their position at the top of Division 2.