Rickmansworth’s traditional curtain-raiser was against a strong Chorleywood side who only 2 years ago were in the Herts Championship. Ricky meanwhile were missing a few League regulars and certainly showed some rustiness in subsiding to 40/4 in the early exchanges. Taz, Shammi and Ibby all got starts, but with the top 5 all getting out Bowled or LBW, it was either a low early-season wicket, or just sticky footwork to blame. Cookie and Majid are probably two of the cleanest strikers in the side and their resilience showed in a 70+ run partnership which saw Majid reach 51 before being out. Chorleywoods Ryan Toms then made short work of the tail, getting all three for ducks, again LBW or Bowled, to see Ricky subside from 160/7 to 160 all out. Unfortunately a batting performance that won’t win many games in the league this year.
Chorleywood played much better with Ryan Evans retiring on 55 and Tom Smithson (38) giving them an opening partnership that was halfway to the target before Zaf got one to scuttle and hit the pads. Indeed it was only the spinners, Zaf and Cookie, who took wickets as Chorleywood reached just short of the target 2 down before Zaf grabbed 2 more for a 3 wicket return. A 6 wicket win for Chorleywood was a deserved result as they played rge better Cricket and caught the Ricky batting a little cold. Luckily there are still 2 weeks to go before the season starts and everyone now knows the levels that must be reached to compete in Div 5 this season.
Rickmansworth 2nd’s had an equally disappointing match, not through the result which was a comprehensive victory for the "Town", but more for the rather one-sided nature of the game. It’s true that Harvey and Tom bowled an immaculate line and length on a good pitch, but if it wasn’t for extras, Chorleywood would have just 6 runs off the first 10 overs and lost 3 wickets in the process. A good catch by Bobby at 2nd slip and another at mid-wicket, saw Harvey take 2-7 in his 5 overs. Indeed the quality of the next bowlers, Bobby and Waheed, was such that Chorleywood didn’t score a single boundary off the bat in the first 17 overs. By this time they were 40/6 and a short game looked inevitable. Tossing the ball up with spinners Ali and Khan, did enable the "Wood" to post 87. Ricky agreed to bat hard and set a target for the Chorleywood batsmen to chase in a 2nd innings, to give the Chorleywood batsmen some valuable time in the middle.
Paul and Kasser did indeed bat hard and the initial target was reached quickly in 15 overs. Kasser 45* and Paul 34*. But the heat and tempo of Ricky’s batting was perhaps too much for a frazzled Chorleywood as they declined to play on and asked for the game to finish at 4.45pm.
The Ricky 3rd/4th XI picked up a fixture against Northwood, as Chorleywood were unable to raise a 3rd team, and were welcoming to the visitors who had a make-up of younger and more experienced players. And Ricky started with a bang, opening with 14 year old leg-spinner Callum Watson-Humphreys who tore through the top order of Northwood with 5 for 35 in 7 overs. Catches were held and Northwood were 50 for 5. But then the stronger Northwood players came to the fore and wickets came at a premium. The Middlesex team finished on 176 for 8 which was a decent score on an April wicket.
Ricky’s reply was anchored by Trigger’s 34, which was hugely valauble, but it did need the other batsmen to play at a higher tempo at the other end. Vishal, Adeel and Vijay all contributed but not with match-changing numbers and the game petered out with Callum getting bowled in the last over with almost 70 runs still required. If the game had continued like it did in the first hour, then Ricky would have beaten a similar 4th XI team, but Northwood were much too smart and experienced to let that happen and ran out worthy winners.
Next week it’s the club game. Let’s hope for similar weather!