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Newbury throw away game in exciting finish

Match report - Newbury 1s vs Thatcham 1s 23rd May 2015
Thatcham Town earned local bragging rights on Saturday as they beat rivals Newbury by 16 runs in an absorbing game at Brownsfield.

Home captain Johnson won the toss and elected to bat first on a drying wicket. Openers Rider and Mahoney looked in good touch until Raj Pal struck with three quick wickets in a hostile opening spell that reduced the home side to 23 for 3. First to go was Rider caught by Mills at gully for 3, then Wright was trapped lbw without scoring followed by Mahoney clean bowled for 17. When Anstey then dismissed Bartholomew for 7, Thatcham were struggling on 41 for 4 in the 18th over.

Young and Winfield then came together in what turned out to be a match winning partnership, putting on 72 for the fifth wicket. Young was in sublime form, rotating the strike and picking off the bad balls for four. At the other end, Winfield played the aggressor's role, hitting 2 sixes and 7 fours in a run a ball innings of 57. Winfield did offer the visiting team a few half chances before Raj Pal came back into the attack and had him caught by Farrow at point. With Young also falling to Anstey lbw for a fine 47, Newbury began to get on top and although skipper Johnson (15), Williams (8) and Callum Johnson (12) got important late runs, the hosts were all out inside the distance for what looked like a below par score of 172. 

Raj Pal was the stand out Newbury bowler looking threatening throughout both his spells and returning with 5 for 46 off 12 overs.  Anstey also bowled well in his return of 4 for 48, with Mills supporting well with his 1 for 32 figures off 10 overs.

After tea, Johnson decided to go with the old ball and was immediately rewarded when Bird trapped Anstey lbw in the very first over.  Bird struck again in his third over, inducing Sastry to pop one up to Bartholomew at short extra cover. This brought Farrow to the crease with Newbury struggling on 8 for 2. However the left hander together with Douglas began the fight back with the pair looking increasingly comfortable against the tandem spin attack of Bird and Williams. Both batsmen began to find the boundary with increasing regularity which forced the hand of Johnson to take the new ball. Disaster then struck in the 17th over when a mix up left both batsmen at the same end and Farrow was run out for 32 just as he looked set for a big score. 

Uden joined Douglas at the crease and the two set about seeing off the new ball and building a winning platform for the innings. Callum Johnson beat the outside edge on a number of occasions and was unlucky not to get a wicket in an accurate new ball spell. The Newbury pair weathered the storm and looked to be cruising at 108 for 3 when captain Johnson forced a leading edge off Uden (24) and take an excellent caught and bowled. When Douglas (47) followed soon after lofting an off drive straight to Wright off Winfield, the game's momentum looked to be be turning Thatcham's way. 

Harris had other ideas though and with first Raj Pal (11) and then Ferguson (10) looked to have wrestled the initiative back Newbury's way with a positive brand of cricket leaving the visitors needing just 21 runs from 6 overs. However when Williams had Harris caught for 20, the game looked to be swinging Thatcham's way again. When Mills was run out trying to sneak a second run, Newbury were reduced to the last pair of Ferguson and Vynatheya still needing 17 runs to win the game.

Ferguson gallantly continued to try and win the game for Newbury, but it was all over when he was out brilliantly caught on the boundary by a running catch from Rider off the excellent Bird. Newbury were all out for 156, 17 runs from their target and Thatcham savoured their well earned victory which kept them top of the table. 

Bird was the pick of the Thatcham bowlers with 4 for 38 with Williams (2 for 40), Johnson (1 for 19) and Winfield (1 for 29) all chipping in with important wickets.

Newbury drop to 5th and travel to Purley-on-Thames next Saturday while Thatcham make the away trip to Royal Ascot.
Author :  Ed Uden
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Date:  25/05/2015