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Fixture Report

Mogador Wanderers v Merstham (26/05/2019)    

Mogador Wanderers Won by 2 wickets.  Final Scores: Merstham - 228-9. MWCC - 229-8

THE MIRACLE OF MERSTHAM
The Mogs recorded a miraculous victory at Quality Street to reclaim the Matthew Lewis Memorial Shield, in front of a festival crowd on an overcast, drizzly Bank Holiday May afternoon. Skipper Tharp won the toss and asked a strong Merstham team, made up of many Saturday First XI regulars, to make first use of a slow but true wicket, livened up by on and off drizzle. The Mogs took to the field in front of a decent crowd who had travelled far and wide to remember Matt and watch a match that rarely failed to produce fireworks.

Joseph opened from the Surrey Hills end and Jamie Freeland, playing his first game for three years, from the golf club end and both set to work with rigour. Despite a delay for a heavy shower, both openers bowled a mixture of unplayable “Jaffers” and full balls that were struck meatily to the boundary, a classic contest of opening bowlers V opening batsmen. In the 7th over the Mogs struck as Joseph bowled a slower ball that was “flicked” from the side of his hand, swung, seamed and disturbed the stylish Merstham opener’s off stump. After 14 overs however our hosts were on 84-1 but a new dawn in Mog folklore began, when Joseph (1-36) was given his cap and replaced by 14 year old debutant, Alfie Hewitt. Using the breeze and slope to great effect, he bowled quite beautifully and soon the wickets started to fall. Skipper Tharp thought he was our fastest bowler on the day but he was certainly our straightest and in a 6 over spell, he bowled Merstham’s other opener and sent their League playing No’s 3 & 4 with LBW’s, finishing with remarkable figures of 6-2-21-3. Proud dad Alex Hewitt, replaced Jamie (8-1-42-0) and desperate not to be completely outshone by his son, snared a couple of wickets of his own, one of which was a quite remarkable catch by Oscar Jago Lewis, to remove Merstham’s Sunday stalwart Sunny for just 4. Oscar’s wicket keeping was an absolute delight to watch; standing up to every bowler he gathered everything with panache and his work down the leg side was heaven sent. Whilst he failed with the bat later on in the match, he must have prevented at least 20 byes and he contributed fully to our win.

Merstham had subsided to 136-6 but with Alfie only able to bowl 6 overs and Alex given a season opening spell of 7-0-27-2, Andy Tharp and Will Cooper were brought on to wrap up the innings and ensure that we did not have too big a total to chase. Merstham’s no 6 had other ideas though. A Twenty20 specialist, playing his first 40 over game for three seasons, he hit the ball with Thor-like power and Ralgex was soon required for stiff Mog necks as they strained to see the small red ball disappearing ever further, mostly over the Long Long On area. Cooper (7-1-46-3) chipped away at the Lower Order but the last few overs were spent trying to work out if a jug was going to be required for a coruscating 100. Skipper Tharp (5-0-43-0) had other ideas and bowled 4 balls rather than 6 balls and the 40 overs were finished with Merstham reaching 228-9 and their no 6 finishing on 93 not out.

Tea was a treat with Graham Attridge serving up a master class of sandwiches (of which the egg & cress was a clear winner), sausage rolls, cake & fruit. By this time the pavilion was full of spectators, seeking shelter from the returning drizzle. The wise men of Merstham (Loosely, Mantell, Ryder, Turner, Mendis, Prentice et al) thought that they had enough runs on the board but what did they know?
If you cast your mind back to the 39th Ryder Cup, you will remember that coming in to Sunday’s singles matches, Europe found themselves 10-6 down and Team Captain Olazabal mixed up his team to ensure that there was still plenty of firepower at the lower end of the team order. Tharp followed suit. Merstham were so far ahead at the 20 over mark, there was surely only going to be a win for the home team. Furner (5) was out LBW sweeping (a decision that the Little Master was not altogether happy with), Turner (17) hit a Long Hop to mid on, Oscar (0) walked past a straight one, Fairclough (24) was brilliantly caught behind, Alfie (4) ran himself out and when Cooper (27) found Mid Off, the Mogs required 145 with 4 wickets in hand and just 16.5 overs remaining. Only an Asian bookkeeper would have backed the Mogs, who were staring down the barrel. Unbeknownst to the spectators, Senior Umpire Bunyon had decided that it was now so gloomy that it was unsafe for any of Merstham’s quicker bowlers to operate and Alex Hewitt and Tharp started to take a liking to the slower bowlers. Soon the boundary was being peppered, with Hewitt driving and Tharp hooking, sweeping and launching and when Hewitt (35) was out skying a long hop, the Mogs required 78 off 10 overs. Tharp played wonderfully and reached 50 (later to be declassified to 48 by Official Keeper of the Records Furner) but perished soon after and it was Jamie Freeland who strode to the crease at No 9, joined soon after by Dr Murali Bhat. Murali had had an interesting day to date. Not due to play he had been summoned by Will Parker to inspect his bent digit and upon telling him that it was fractured, Murali was asked to don his whites. Him & Jamie set upon the bowling with relish. Both batsmen mixed orthodox style with agricultural power and in the 38th over Murali scored 15 thrilling runs with 3 beautiful boundaries that Sachin himself would have been proud.
Soon the winning runs were scored [Furner: with 7 balls to spare] with Jamie unbeaten on 32 and Murali also recording an unbeaten 30. Tharp delivered a rousing speech as the Mogs reclaimed the Matthew Lewis Memorial Shield on its 10th playing, in front of an exhilarated , emotional and proud Mog family, warmly applauded by our magnanimous hosts. It had been a thrilling, Corinthian game of cricket and all Mogs had contributed to an epic victory in front of a large, raucous crowd and the day finished in fitting fashion with players of both teams taking curry together in Reigate under the instruction of Colonel William Jalfrezi Parker. Matt would have enjoyed the day enormously and as ever, he was missed greatly but remembered most fondly by friends and family alike.

Alex Hewitt


 
Batting        
Peter Furner  
5
 
Richard Turner  
17
 
Ben Fairclough  
24
 
Oscar Jago-Lewis  
0
 
Will Cooper  
27
 
Alfie Hewitt  
4
 
Alex Hewitt  
35
 
Andy Tharp  
48
 
Jamie Freeland  
32
*
 
Murali Bhat  
30
*
 
Joseph Lewis  
 
  Bowling
O
M
R
W
 
  Joseph Lewis
7
0
36
 
1
 
  Jamie Freeland
8
1
42
 
 
  Alfie Hewitt
6
2
21
 
3
 
  Alex Hewitt
7
0
27
 
2
 
  Will Cooper
7
1
46
 
3
 
  Andy Tharp
5
0
43
 
 
  Catches    
       
  Oscar Jago-Lewis   1

  Run Outs    
       
  None    

  Stumpings    
       
  None