Farnham Cricket Club’s first team lost by 15 runs at Stoke D’Abernon on Saturday.
Skipper Jim Berry won the toss and elected to bowl first, backing Farnham’s long batting line-up to chase whatever total their opponents were to post on what looked like a decent pitch and lightning outfield.
Stoke D’Abernon’s opening batsmen started strongly and put pressure on the Farnham bowlers.
It was Farnham’s new Australian overseas player Brady Poole who dangled a carrot outside off stump for the first wicket as James Corbishley edged through to wicketkeeper Jamie Strachan.
At the other end Stoke D’Abernon opener Max Subba Row continued his aggressive approach, and so Berry quickly looked to introduce the spin twins of Nathan Thorpe and Jake Henderson into the attack.
Henderson, who has joined Farnham this season, got his first wicket for the club, and then took a second not long afterwards when Subba Row spooned one to Berry at cover for 51.
The pressure of spin at both ends continued to pay dividends.
The agile Rob Goldsworthy pounced on a mix-up in the middle to throw to Thorpe for a run out, leaving Stoke D’Abernon 86 for four.
The home side, however, continued to accumulate runs quickly with their number four Tom Frost going aerial and using the quick outfield to rebuild to 175 for four with 15 overs still remaining.
Frost was looking at ease at the crease, but a moment of madness saw him reverse sweep straight to Tom Grimes off Thorpe for a quickfire 81.
Thorpe then took two quick wickets, including a smart stumping from Strachan, to pull the score back to 181 for seven.
Despite some valiant efforts from the Farnham fielders, Stoke D’Abernon’s batsmen continued to come out swinging and punished loose deliveries for the remaining overs.
The opening bowlers, Poole and Goldsworthy, were brought back into the attack and it was the latter who was able to mop up the tail with Stoke D’Abernon finishing on 235 all out.
Goldsworthy and Thorpe took three wickets apiece, Henderson two and Poole one.
It was a challenging score for Farnham to chase, but on a good track and quick outfield, certainly not out of sight.
Farnham needed a strong start from their openers Thorpe and the evergreen Guy Hicks.
Hicks started confidently with some classy boundaries through cover and mid-wicket to bring up 30 in good time, before both Farnham openers fell in quick succession to bring in captain Berry and the in-form Tom Flack.
The pair showed resilience against a strong bowling attack and looked to build a platform for the run chase, taking the score from 30 for two up to 126 for two, with a further 110 required from 18 overs. The chase was on.
However, with the pair set, neither was able to capitalise from their starts and they too both fell in quick succession. Berry departed for 55 and Flack fell for 39.
This brought Harry Morrogh and Tom Grimes to the crease.
The pair immediately went to work on the spinners, pushing for singles in the ring and twos in the outfield to ensure the run rate was always kept within reach.
Morrogh, who recently turned 18, was exceptional in his shot selection, sweeping hard and driving with conviction, showing a wise head on young shoulders.
He hit 15 off an over, including a huge six to mid-wicket, to swiftly bring up his half-century.
Grimes was creative in his strokeplay before he fell for 23, with Farnham requiring 30 off 20 balls with five wickets in hand.
The incoming batters worked hard to get the set Morrogh back on strike, with a few sacrificial run outs before Morrogh (58) himself was short of his ground coming back for two.
In the end, Farnham fell short by 15 runs, finishing on 220 for nine off their 50 overs.
Although disappointed with the loss, Farnham fought hard throughout the match and there were a lot of positives from their defeat.
Farnham will host Old Hamptonians on Saturday in the first game in the timed format.