RUSS Golding and Tom Grimes showed their class with an unbeaten stand of 65 to ease Farnham to victory at Valley End.
It was the first team’s first visit to the hosts’ new-look pavilion – a project that Farnham themselves hope to see completed in the near future.
Losing the toss, Tom Grimes’ team were asked to field in the exposed outfield. Tasked with opening the bowling were the consistent Rob Goldsworthy and the fiery Mike O’Mahoney.
Both were unlucky not to strike in their first over when Shaun Young was dropped at cover off Goldsworthy and second slip off O’Mahoney.
The latter was soon rewarded for his accurate bowling, though, when Young was clean bowled for 16.
Young’s opening partner Lane took the attack to Goldsworthy, resulting in a change of bowling to 14-year-old Luke Griffiths, bowling in the league for the first XI for the first time.
Bowling with good pace and accuracy, he soon bagged his first wicket, number three Dunnett caught behind by newcomer Steve Pope.
This, however, brought Valley End’s ex-professional Edward Young to the crease. He looked at ease against the Farnham attack and he and opener Lane started to build a partnership.
With Thorpe unavailable for the second week running, skipper Grimes was forced to turn to his part-time spin options of himself, Golding and Rooney, who all struggled against the quality batting.
The returning Goldworthy dismissed opener Lane for a fine 73 from 63 balls and soon had Valley End’s skipper Kingsnorth snaffled by a fantastic catch by O’Mahoney.
This left the game well poised at 131 for four, and the fifth-wicket partnership accumulated 28 more runs when Farnham’s premier all-rounder James Berry claimed the prized wicket of Edward Young, trapped LBW for 52 from just 40 balls.
With Grimes running out of options, he turned to the unlikely seamers of Guy Hicks, who hadn’t bowled in a league game since 2005 under the Farnham legend Ian Thorpe. The gamble paid off, however, when he and the returning Luke Griffiths worked their way through the middle and lower order, restricting Valley End to a total of 201 all out.
Hicks returned the superb figures of three for 18 from his four overs and Griffiths three for 29 from 7.3 overs.
It represented a good effort from Farnham not to let the game get away from them in the heat and a lightning-fast outfield.
With 202 required from their 40 overs, the visitors looked to Guy Hicks and Toby Ward for a solid start.
The aggressive Ward gave them just that when he took the attack to opening bowlers. By the fifth over he and Hicks had amassed 51 runs to put Farnham ahead of the game.
However, Ward couldn’t resist a short wide ball and hit it straight to the waiting Tom Nevin on the cover boundary.
Berry joined Hicks and the run rate slowed with tight bowling from the Valley End first-change bowlers.
However, the pair still made progress and took the score to 113 when Hicks was undone by a Young arm ball, clean bowled for 44, and Berry soon followed with a poor shot, caught for 27 off the bowling of Dunnett.
Pope’s stay was then cut short by an unlucky run out at the non-striker’s end when a Rooney drive was deflected on to the stumps by the bowler.
When Rooney was dismissed by the delivery of the day for 11, Farnham found themselves in a potentially tricky position at 139 for five.
However, with spin in operation from both ends, Russ Golding and Tom Grimes came together and showed their class, with Grimes displaying a sweeping masterclass and Golding displaying a fine touch and power.
Their unbeaten stand of 65 saw them knock off the target with three overs to spare, Golding finishing on 36 and Grimes 33, wrapping up a comfortable win against a strong Division One side.
After a first-week washout at Stoke D’abernon, Farnham seconds’ attention turned to a more familiar foe in Valley End.
Farnham lost the toss but got their wish in bowling, and opener Adam Elstow took to work in his first over, claiming the prized wicket of Justin Gray.
Elstow bowled with commendable control and pace, and earned his rewards throughout his spell, picking up a further three wickets.
At the other end, the evergreen Peter Goldsworthy toiled, going at 2.38 runs per over in his allocation of eight overs, and was unfortunate not to claim any wickets but set the home side up brilliantly with Valley End 58 for four after 16 overs.
There was little let-up when Harry Morrough came on to bowl his leg spin and Dan Jones took over from Goldsworthy.
Morrough bowled impressively, picking up the wicket of Adam Gould, while Jones utilised what shine was left of the aging ball.
Valley End lifted the handbrake with 15 overs left, though Jayden Clarke set about a bludgeoning counter-attack, Ollie Godden and Hugo Cooper the unfortunate recipients.
Clarke, batting at six, had amassed 80 from 49 balls by the time Jones caught the right-hander off the bowling of Cooper.
The momentum continued down the home straight of the innings as George Freeman fired 37 off 17 and Freddie Brennan accumulated well as Valley End finished their 40 overs with a score of 255.
After the returning Wesley Taylor was cleaned up in the second over, Godden and Sam Ruffell were left to lay a foundation.
The rebuild job looked to be working until a mix up-between the wickets did for Ruffell, as the in-form junior was run out for 26 – an innings which again proved the potential of the young man.
It sparked somewhat of a collapse as Farnham slumped from 61 for one to 82 for five and the home side were left with a mountain to climb.
After Godden popped a catch to cover three short of his half century, only the reliable late-middle order could offer some resistance.
Debutant Tiago Alvares made a scurrying 16 while Goldsworthy contributed the same score with some free hitting.
Farnham were bowled out for 146 with seven overs to spare, 110 runs short of victory in their first completed game of the season – but with positives to take forward in this truncated season.
Farnham’s third XI arrived at a sunny Walton on Thames with a young side, containing four under-15s, to take on a side a lofty four divisions above them.
Always likely to face a tough day, Farnham bowled first and the Walton openers quickly got under way, the left hander passing 50 well before drinks.
Jake Hayden bowled economically for no reward in his first spell and Ed Milton-Seall provided some welcome pace to peg the openers back.
Riley Morrisroe took his first senior wicket to break the opening partnership, a good catch in the deep from skipper Steele, as Farnham fought back after drinks. There were three wickets for Henry Beattie, again proving a consistent threat in the middle overs, and three for Hayden as he cleaned up Walton’s tail end.
Limiting Walton to 202 for eight from their 40 overs marked a strong fightback from Farnham, as the hosts looked to be heading for a total of 250-plus earlier on.
However, the runs were always likely to be too much for an inexperienced batting line-up which was missing a few key faces.
The Walton openers bowled a probing line, moving it both ways and with good pace, consistently picking up wickets.
When Steele fell for a well-made 13, Walton cleaned up Farnham up for 42.
While a small total, it didn’t quite reflect some of the resolve shown at the crease,suggesting there are better days to come with the bat.
The trip to Walton will have given Farnham’s third team much to learn, especially Jake Harris and Riley Morissroe, who made their senior debuts and showed a huge amount of promise for the future.
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