Wokingham CC impressive, but title challenge falters against ReadingBy Adam Lee
August 01, 2012
There was final-ball heartbreak for Wokingham as they suffered a two-wicket defeat at the hands of Thames Valley Cricket League Division 1 rivals Reading at Sadlers End on Saturday.
The loss leaves Wokingham's promotion dreams in tatters as they dropped down to fourth in the table, 49 points behind their local rivals.
Reading were 118-8 with a ball to go, when Khalid Zafar enjoyed a slice of luck, lofting the ball to deep extra cover where Stuart Parsons looked set to take the catch.
However, Parsons couldn’t hang on to the ball, giving Zafar and Alex Patterson the opportunity to take the second and winning run.
The Thames Valley League leaders made hard work of the game after dismissing the home side for just 119 thanks to six wickets from David Hartley.
The game ended and started badly for the host side, as Rukshan Soza was run out for a duck in the fist over by Paul De Chaud.
Wokingham recovered to 60-2 as Dan Reddyhough (24) looked set for a good innings, but the Oaks then collapsed dramatically to 61-6.
Hartley caused most of the damage, taking three wickets in the same over as the Wokingham middle-order failed miserably.
Simon Myles led a mini-recovery, taking the total to 90 before being bowled by Jon Gaffney for 28.
But Wokingham were all out for 119 in the 50th over, with all but the first wicket falling to the spinners.
Hartley finished with his best figures of the season so far – 20-9-25-6 – while Gaffney took 2-30 off 8.5 and Zafar 1-30 off 13.
Wokingham skipper Danny Reddyhough got the message and relied heavily on his spinners as his side battled back to rock Reading for a time.
The visitors’ opening pair of De Chaud (5) and Gareth Harte (12) both went cheaply, but David Barr and Shelvin Gumbs improved the situation with a stand of 43.
But, with the total on 78, Gumbs was bowled by Sanjay Jain for 35, made off just 39 balls, and then Barr was adjudged lbw to Paul Dewick for 16, having spent an hour and a half at the crease.
When Tom Fray (6) followed them back to the pavilion Reading were in trouble at 80-5 and Jack Beaven followed in Jain’s same over.
Wokingham were now sensing they could win the game and they applied heavy pressure on the batsmen with Dewick and Jain both having the support of two fielders close to the wicket.
The home side then took the new ball and it paid off as Stevie Smidt had Sukhi Kang (13) brilliantly caught at slip by Myles to leave 101-7 in the 46th of their 50 overs.
For a time it looked as though Reading might just play out for a draw, but Gaffney had other ideas.
With 16 runs needed off two overs, he hit Will Ellison for two boundaries and also scored two runs, only to be bowled for 11 to leave Reading 114-8, needing six to win off the final over bowled by Smidt.
Zafar couldn’t get the first four deliveries away, but he then smashed a boundary, followed by his two runs.
For Wokingham, Jain had excellent figures of 10-6-10-3, while Dewick finished with 2-38 off 22 overs and Smidt 2-33 off 10.