Beaconsfield end Wokingham CC's unbeaten runBy Adam Lee
June 27, 2012
A top-order batting collapse left Wokingham with what proved to be an insurmountable hurdle as they fell to their first defeat of the season against Beaconsfield in Division 1.
Chasing a target of 190, Wokingham lost early wickets and found themselves 50-5 in reply.
A seventh-wicket stand from Stevie Smidt and Craig Beales did give them some hope, but Beaconsfield’s attack proved too strong in the end, as Oaks were dismissed 35 runs short of victory.
Winning the toss, Wokingham put their visitors in to bat, and with Will Ellison in excellent form opening the attack, Beaconsfield were restricted to two and a half runs an over for their first 26 overs.
However, when Jason Harrison joined Chris Thomas at the crease, Beaconsfield rebuilt their innings, and went on to post 190-5.
Only Smidt, who took three wickets, made any real impact on the Beaconsfield top order.
Wokingham’s reply was off to an awful start as their opponents tore through them, leaving them well short of their target with five wickets down.
Smidt (41) and Beales (44) did put together a useful partnership to get Oaks back into the contest, but the damage was already done, and the task proved too much for the tail.
Skipper Dan Reddyhough, though, refused to be downhearted after seeing their unbeaten record finally ended.
“We’re pragmatic enough to know that it is a big ask to go through the season undefeated and in some respects getting it out of the way early and having the chance to get back on track is no bad thing,” he said.
“This season was a bit of an unknown with regards to how strong the other sides would be, but I was always very confident with the depth of the squad and the balance of the team as well as the skills we have at our disposal.
“I expected us to be up there fighting and that is where we are and I will be very disappointed if we aren’t still in the mix for the run in.
“We let it slip up front with the bat on Saturday.
“Our guys at six, seven and eight nearly got us out of the mire and within shouting distance of the win, but at 50-5 on a slow pitch it’s asking too much of those guys.
“We didn’t bowl particularly badly and we fielded okay, and we thought 190 was chase-able.
“But a few loose shots gifted them a couple of wickets and gave them the momentum. If maybe two of the top five had contributed we may have won the game.”
Reddyhough was also quick to praise the impact of overseas player Smidt.
His skill with bat and ball almost got Wokingham out of trouble on Saturday, and his contribution throughout the season so far has been equally influential.
The 22-year-old New Zealander was brought to Sadlers End as both a coach and a player to lead their bowling attack, and he has proved to be a matchwinner on more than one occasion this summer.
He is proving to be an economical bowler as well as a useful batsmen, and at an average of three wickets a game, has been vital for Wokingham’s early promotion push.
“He has slotted in to the club well and has provided a real focal point for us in the bowling attack,” said Reddyhough.
“He’s also an excellent fielder and is a more than capable batsman who would be batting higher than eight for many other teams in the league.
“It’s always good when a club investment, which is what he is as a coach and figurehead for the first 11, makes an impact.
“However, we proved last year having lost our overseas player halfway through that we are not reliant on anyone.
“He’s a great player to have in our arsenal, though.”
Wokingham will be without batsman Stuart Parsons for Saturday’s trip to Henley 2nd as they look to get their season back on track.
However, Stuart Hayter has played himself back into contention following some impressive displays for the 2s, which included a four-wicket haul and an unbeaten 68 in Saturday’s win over Teddington Town.