Sunday XI- Stewart-Taylor and Waller grab victory from jaws of defeat

Rain dominates at Headley
August 6, 2012
Sunday XI: Pickering Sr and Jr combine against Reigate Priory Cavaliers
August 20, 2012

Sunday XI- Stewart-Taylor and Waller grab victory from jaws of defeat

Mogador Wanderers- 173 all out (Waller 3-18)

Lost to

Headley- 177-8 (Stewart-Taylor 46*, Waller 45)

By 2 wickets

The sun finally returned to Headley for the annual visit of old friends and rivals the Mogador Wanderers. And for a long while it seemed to be smiling on Mogador, who fought their way up to a competitive total and then had Headley’s reply in tatters at one stage at 40-4, and then 110-7. But Seb Stewart-Taylor had other ideas, and a gritty anchor knock from the young Scotsman, combined with a brutal late power surge from Grant Waller, brought Headley an unlikely narrow victory in front of a packed house.

Having won the toss earlier in the day, Headley had decided to bowl. With 5 consecutive weeks of no cricket, it was decided to let the Mogador’s work out what a decent score was. Initially this looked like being about 475 as their hard hitting opening batsman (not seen before at Headley but surely likely to fancy another crack)- had them racing along at 10 an over. It was somewhat of a relief when Clarke avenged some heavy early punishment by inducing him to chip to cover with his famed ‘slower ball’. It was a particular relief to fellow opening bowler Henry Elburn who had previously almost had his knee removed by a bullet straight drive. Mogador were 67-1. From here on in there followed some attritional cricket where perhaps neither side would have been sure who was on top. Headley kept chipping away at the top order, with Grant Waller bowling a superb spell in the middle overs to take three wickets, aided by the ‘King of Spain’ Neil Sunderland keeping things tight at the other end. Mogador meanwhile crept the score up to 100-5 with the left handed Honeyfield looking the mainstay at No.6 and hitting the occasional huge six. With a platform built, Mogador then threatened to cut loose, but Headley raised their bowling and fielding to take some late wickets, with first Woodall striking- then the returning Elburn bowling two (including Honeyfield), before Mitch Pickering rounded things off leaving Headley with 173 to chase. This looked quite gettable but the wise Chairman and part-time-major-sporting-event coordinator Andy Pickering remarked that it would take some hard work and discipline.

Headley’s chase was initially the stuff of nightmares as James Midmer chased a wide one, Will Midmer was yorked and Barney Hesketh chopped on- to give three early wickets to Mogador’s impressive young opening bowler. Andy Pickering briefly steadied the ship, but when he top edged a full toss he departed with the score on 40-4. With the old guard comprehensively dispatched, it was left to the young middle order to knuckle down, with helpful comments coming from the previously mentioned old guard in the pavilion. Seb Stewart-Taylor looked busy from the outset of his innings, hitting a number of well timed drives off the opening bowlers, and then using his feet well to the spinners who replaced them. Mitch Pickering batted in his own way at the other end, blasting some huge sixes to take the score over 100-4. The momentum then shifted again as Pickering fell for 35. attempting one heave too many off Hirst, and Woodall fell for 2 soon after to leave Headley back in trouble at 105-6. Stewart-Taylor continued to tick things over, but he needed some support and after a promising start Elburn soon fell LBW. At 110-7, with Clarke and Sunderland among the remaining batsmen, Headley were now being quoted at 100-1 to win the game by umpire Dickie Moran. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man and Grant Waller limped to the crease. Waller proceeded to play a stunning innings, blocking good balls, slapping anything short through the covers, and heaving balls miles over midwicket whenever they were in the slot. With the help of Stewart-Taylor, who continued to use his feet well to play almost a chanceless innings- Waller raced the score up to 155-7- just 19 needed off 5 overs.

The watching pavilion had become fraught with nerves as the game became closer, but the ice-cool Waller then smashed three consecutive sixes from Mogador’s off spinner to bring the scores level. Waller was well caught attempting a repeat, but Stewart Taylor hit the next ball for four and Headley had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite Waller’s pyrotechnics it was perhaps fitting for Stewart-Taylor to hit the winning runs as he had played a superb anchor knock. Mogador fought hard and will probably reflect on a chance missed and the return fixture in September will no doubt be eagerly awaited by both sides.

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