10 July 2016 v Old Cranleighans

Cranleigh, led by Eds Coppleston, won the toss and, with moisture in the pitch following overnight and early morning rain, elected to field first. Having been inserted, the Ramblers got off to a flying start in the late morning drizzle, with Justin Langen and Jack Halstead giving the innings early impetus. The duo made light work of the Cranleighan opening pair, reaching 50-0 off just 8 overs. Two quick wickets left Eton at 59-2 and it was down to Henry Hayes and Will Gordon Lennox to steady the ship. The duo did exactly that, Hayes picking up on anything short of a length and Gordon Lennox taking on the medium pace of Harrison to good effect. Hayes’ innings came to an untimely end on the cusp on lunch, though, as he shouldered arms to a Harrison delivery that nipped back and removed his off stump. Both sides tucked into a delightful curry over lunch and, such was the quality of the Marsala, it accounted for Gordon Lennox straight after the interval. Roy was the next to succumb to Harman’s left-arm spin, bowled by a canny quicker delivery. Not for the first time this season, a Rambler collapse was underway. After a brief rebuild from Olly Richards and Gyles Scott-Hayward, the latter found himself given out in the cruellest of circumstances. Having attempted a straight drive to the medium pace of Chetwode, Scott-Hayward wandered out of his crease to tend to the pitch, only for the Cranleighan gloveman to whip off the bails and appeal.

Fox, in next, did his best to give support to Olly Richards who was, quite rightly, starting to lose faith in the batsmen around him. Richards took a particular liking to the bowling of Chetwode, picking up on several short deliveries and launching them for six over the midwicket boundary. The late flurry of Richards boundaries took the Rambler score up to 187, before he, too, succumbed to Harman who returned impressive figures of 6-40 in 12 overs.

Eton got off to the perfect start in their bid to bowl the Old Cranleighans out, with two excellent opening spells from Fenwick and Scott-Hayward. Fenwick roared in down the hill and bowled with great accuracy, often producing balls that were simply too good to nick. Scott-Hayward had the harder task of running in up the hill, but bowled a very tidy set and was unlucky not to have been rewarded with a wicket or two. Trower and Kent dug in for Cranleigh as they reached 45-1 off 12 overs. It was time for a bowling change and Fox brought himself and Henry Hayes into the attack. The off-spin twins immediately made inroads, with Fox picking up the wickets of the Cranleigh opener as well as their number 5, Fenwick taking a smart catch in the deep. When Hayes accounted for the Cranleigh number four, Gilberg, the Ramblers sensed a rare victory was on the cards.

Coppleston and Chitty were tasked with stemming the flow of wickets and, with Cranleigh in the mire at 54-5. After tea, though, Coppleston and Chitty offered stubborn resistance and the pairing started to look more comfortable against the Ramblers’ off-spin. Justin Langen replaced Henry Hayes as Coppleston began to look more assured, cutting any deliveries that were short of a length. Fox felt it was time to inject some pace into the attack, replacing himself with Olly Richards. e. Three overs was all he needed to change the game, turning it back in Eton’s favour once more. First, he removed Chitty’s off-stump, before pinning Coppleston LBW. Cranleigh were now 120-7 and the Ramblers again looked like closing in on an historic victory.

Cranleigh had other ideas, however, and the combination of Harrison and Harman frustrated the Eton old boys as they were dogged in defence whilst also picking up boundaries with regularity. At 160-7, the Ramblers were running out of ideas and some measured batting from Harman and support from Horsey took the Cranleighans to their target with three overs to spare.