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Falkland slip to third as strugglers Cookham spring surprise triumph

Falkland slipped one place to third in the Thames Valley Cricket League Division 1 table following a 69-run defeat to Cookham Dean.

Skipper James Bird won the toss and elected to field and Falkland started well enough with the ball as both Callum Johnson and Elliot Seddon struck to remove Cookham's openers before either had much of an impact, leaving the score 57/2.

However a 94-run third wicket partnership and an unbeaten 91-run fifth wicket stand put the hosts in control as three successive batters reached half centuries, helping them to a healthy 271/4 from 52 overs.

Jason Williams was expensive as Cookham’s batters attacked. Pictures by Phil Cannings
Jason Williams was expensive as Cookham’s batters attacked. Pictures by Phil Cannings

The tireless Elliot Seddon got through 15 overs, finishing with figures of 2-79, while Bird (1-71) and Callum Johnson (1-28) also chipped in.

Elliot Seddon, who took two wickets with the ball, diving in the outfield
Elliot Seddon, who took two wickets with the ball, diving in the outfield
James Bird finished with figures of 1-71 from nine overs
James Bird finished with figures of 1-71 from nine overs

Daminda Kolugala was unfortunate not to pick up a wicket, although he conceded just 43 runs from his 15 overs and so was by far the most economical of Falkland's bowlers, with Johnson the only other bowler to finish with an economy rate of less than 5.

Jason Williams with ball in hand
Jason Williams with ball in hand

The visitors endured a nightmarish start in response, slipping to 9/2 after Bird was caught behind for 9 and opening partner Will Herrington was trapped lbw for a duck.

Falkland rallied somewhat but needed a big partnership from somewhere and while Connor Wardlaw (46), Craig Williams (31) and Anthony Hennis (28) all made starts, no visiting batter passed 50.

Jason Williams (22) and Daminda Kolugala, who survived 40 balls and finished unbeaten on 18, offered some late resistance as Falkland looked to hold on for a draw but it proved in vain, with Callum Johnson the last wicket to fall as the visitors were all-out for 202 with six overs still remaining in the innings.

There was better news for the second team, who were 57-run winners over Wargrave 2nd in Division 3a.

Captain Duncan Johnson won the toss and opted to bat and opener Jim Ettridge set about making sure his decision looked the right one, scoring an elegant 71 that included eight fours and featured a second wicket stand of 90 with Seb Chapman, who scored a quickfire 40.

Johnson himself added 30 from just 35 balls but the visitors didn't quite make the most of their strong position as three of the next five batters were out for single figure scores as Falkland went from 155/2 to 227/8.

Gul Faraz Afridi smashed three boundaries as Falkland managed some late runs before Johnson called time on the innings after bang on 50 overs with the visitors having reached 257/8 and Afridi unbeaten on 16 with a strike rate of over 100.

Johnson then took control with the ball, removing three of Wargrave's openers and, along with a wicket for Aaron Graham, reducing the hosts to 108/4.

The spin of Graham Beal proved the Wargrave middle order's undoing as he saw off three of the next five batters while there was a wicket apiece for Faraz Afridi, Razon Dash and Henry Chapman as the hosts were all-out for 200 inside 40 overs, 57 runs short of Falkland's total.

Meanwhile, John Woodbridge scored 44 but the third team suffered an emphatic 64-run defeat at the hands of Eversley 3rd in Division 7a.

Eversley won the toss, chose to bat and, after Theo Smith removed one of the openers for 1, recovered well to post a commanding 285/5 from their 45 overs.

Smith and George Hawkins finished with two wickets each while there was one apiece for Nigel Trumper, Soorya Anbumurasoli, James Bloodworth and Max Seaward but it was a good afternoon with the bat for the hosts, with two players scoring half centuries.

Falkland made a similarly poor start, losing skipper James Bloodworth for a second ball duck.

However the visitors were unable to summon quite the same powers of recovery, finishing on 221/8 from their 45 overs despite Woodbridge's battling 44 and the fact that seven batters reached double figures.

Elsewhere, the development side moved up to second in the Berkshire, Chilterns and Mid Bucks League Division 3 thanks to a comprehensive 83-run win over Welford Park 2nd.

After skipper Neil Rider won the toss and elected to bat, Prakrit Bhagat dealt almost solely in boundaries, hitting 10 fours on his way to 53 as Falkland reached 180/8 from their 40 overs.

The visitors’ reply never got going as Shiv Bhagat took four wickets in a blistering five over spell, conceding just six runs.

There were two wickets each for Prakrit Bhagat, who had a very good game indeed, Kevin Smith and Ollie Smith and Welford Park were all-out for 97 in just 32.1 overs, 83 runs shy of Falkland's first innings total.

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