By Harry McLusky
Despite the lack of sun and freezing temperatures (certainly unsuitable for cricket!) the 1st XI came out victorious against Reed’s School, winning by 2 wickets in a tense match, which culminated in a nail-biting finale.
Playing only their second home game of the season so far, the 1st XI was looking to follow up their previous win against Tiffin with yet another victory.
Captain, Zack Gellatley, won the toss, choosing to bowl under the overcast conditions. The forecast predicted brighter conditions later on, making this toss potentially pivotal to the outcome of the game.
Naayva Sharma immediately made the breakthrough for Hampton: a brilliant in-swinging yorker taking out the batsman’s off-stump, putting us on the front foot early on. This was reinforced by Gellatley’s wicket shortly afterwards, leaving Reed’s on a score of 13-2 after just 6 overs.
Runs came at a premium early on for the away side, with their top order resolutely withstanding the storm of Hampton’s pace attack. Their number 3 and 4 helped them reach 57 runs off 18 overs, before Leo Hartley took his first wicket of the match, bowling round the batsman’s legs to break their partnership.
He got his second wicket soon afterwards, yet again dislodging the bails leaving Reed’s on 85-4 off 24 overs, going into lunch.
The break seemed to be the turning point in the match for their opposition, with their captain putting on a brilliant display to score 65 runs off 101 balls. His 90-run partnership with the Reed’s number six put them back in the game, before the latter was dismissed from the bowling of 5th Year Nat Taylor.
Taylor would go on to dominate the Hampton bowling attack, with his turn and drift with the older red ball finally finding results for the home side. Complemented by the economic Will Knowles (0-30 off 10 overs), there were opportunities aplenty to push home the advantage for Hampton.
Half-chances came and went, with some tricky catches being put down in the outfield and the ball often landing in the middle of three Hampton fielders – luck was not on our side! Nonetheless, Taylor’s dismissal of the Reed’s captain at 173-6 seemed to turn the tide. The opposition only added a further 39 runs, finishing on 212-9 after their 50 overs.
Taylor finished with outstanding figures of 4-57 off 9 overs, just one shy from his maiden five-wicket haul. Wickets from Leo Hartley (1-45 off 10), Naavya Sharma (1-32 off 9) and Zack Gellatley (1-25 off 10) helped push Hampton over the line, restricting Reed’s to a very much achievable target of 213.
Hampton got off to the perfect start after the interval, with Matthew Moffatt’s early aggression accelerating Hampton to 23-0 off the opening four overs.
His attacking playstyle was balanced by Nat Taylor’s composure and control with the bat. The two openers put on an impressive stand of 95 runs, including Moffatt’s 50 off 89 balls, which was ended by an unfortunate top-edge to the keeper.
Two further quick wickets put Hampton on 118-3 off 33 overs, requiring them to score a further 95 runs to win the game off 102 balls.
James Page’s return to form was perfectly timed for Hampton, with his entertaining 27 off 34 (including a magnificent six over long-on) keeping us in the game.
Zack Gellatley put in a captain’s performance to further bolster Hampton’s chances. His rapid 19 off 16 (with an almost identical six to Page’s) combined with Naavya Sharma’s precise 20 off 26 to leave Hampton’s tail-end needing 28 runs off the final 6 overs to win the game.
Handy runs from Joshua Vergunst set up a thrilling finish, with Louis Simonds-Gooding and Tetsuro Kato at the crease in the final over, needing seven to win.
Simonds-Gooding was the saviour at the last minute for Hampton. His cover drive for three on the fourth ball of the over left the hosts within touching distance of victory. On the penultimate delivery, Simonds-Gooding expertly guided the short ball down to third man, running the single and giving Hampton the win in the final breaths of the match.