During the winter there is a WCC indoor team. Indoor cricket is a fast paced, 6-a-side, 12 over per innings game. Whilst taking the competition seriously it also serves as a great way to keep up your skills, stay in touch with your mates and to stay involved in the game over a long winter.
During another gruelling winter, a special group of Indoor fanatics once again took on the Surrey Indoor League. Playing weekly on a Thursday evening, our TWC Squad produced some emphatic wins. Confidence and momentum saw the team play 13 matches, winning 12 and only losing in the Regional Semi Finals to a strong Canterbury side at the home of Kent Cricket. This was the furthest the mighty Dons have progressed in the competition.
As Champions of Surrey, the current years’ campaign is well underway. At the time of writing, commander in chief Carlton Anand has led the team in another impressive run of 10 wins from 11 games. This has sealed our place in the Surrey Play offs and we wish Carlton and the squad the very best of luck as they try to better last year’s record-breaking run.
2017/18 Review of the season
Having gone through the entire Surrey competition unbeaten in our title winning 2016/17 campaign, we lost our opening round-robin game to Spencer. This proved to be a temporary blip, however, as we won our next 7 games to easily qualify for the knock-out stages, before losing our final group game to Super Sixers (a.k.a. Hampton Wick Royal who we beat in the 2016/17 final). In a repeat of the previous year, we were drawn to play Oxted & Limpsfield again in the quarter-final. This time would prove to be a much closer contest, however, as Oxted & Limpsfield posted a competitive 106/5 from their 12 overs. The run chase could hardly have had a worse start as we slipped to 18/3 and when Carter was given out LBW for 21 the game seemed to be up with still 60 needed for victory and our last two batsmen at the crease. However, winning has become a habit for the indoor side and E Anand and Ehtisham calmly added 33 before the latter was brilliantly stumped to leave 27 more needed as a last man stand. E Anand was still looking in complete control and the match came down to the final ball – 2 runs to win for Wimbledon, a wicket or a dot ball to win for Oxted & Limpsfield. When the batsman played and missed trying to turn the ball down the leg side, the fielders briefly celebrated before seeing the umpires arms outstretched – signalling the wide that would take Wimbledon through to finals day once again!
Facing Super Sixers in the semi-final, and with old rivals Spencer awaiting the winners in the final, we were faced with beating the two teams we had lost to in the group stages in order to retain the trophy. Bowling first in the semi-final after losing the toss, Ehtisham made an early breakthrough and the scoring rate was initially kept in check with Super Sixers reaching 23/1 from 4 overs. Despite chipping out another couple of wickets, some undisciplined bowling in the middle overs left the team up against it with 2 overs to go and Supers Sixers well set on 108/3 (wides/no-balls cost 3 runs each and we racked up a total of 43 runs conceded in wides/no-balls for the innings!). However, as so often throughout the competition, we finished the innings strongly knocking over the final 3 wickets to bowl Super Sixers out for 117 – C Anand to the fore as the spearhead of the attack once again, finishing with the impressive figures of 2/12 from 2.4 overs. Despite the strong finish, Super Sixers had still posted the highest total across all the knock-out matches, leaving WCC a required rate of nearly 10 runs per over. The reply started well with Carter rolling back the years and scoring at will – wherever the fielders were placed in the small sports hall, he seemed to be able to pick the gap for an easy three runs and quickly reached his 25 retired. The Anand twins picked up the mantle in the middle of the innings and had reduced the runs required to 25 with still three overs to go before both were out in quick succession to leave the side 4 wickets down. There were to be no jitters on this occasion, however, as Ehtisham combined with the returning Carter to add an unbeaten 22, winning the game with 5 balls to spare.
For the first time in the competition, we chose to bowl first in the final having won the toss. The decision paid immediate dividends as both Spencer openers were dismissed within 8 balls to leave them in deep trouble at 5/2. The Spencer batsman counter-attacked with 3 sixes and a four in quick succession, but this approach was to be their downfall as McKendry took an excellent return catch off the ceiling to leave them 54/3 from 5 overs. With the game in the balance, E Anand may not have seemed the obvious choice to turn to having conceded 24 runs from his single over in the semi-final. In the final, however, he bowled an inspirational spell taking 3 wickets for 4 runs in 11 balls (narrowly missing out on a hat-trick) as Spencer were bowled out in just the 8th over for 62. At this stage most observers were surely thinking that the game was over. Those of us who are used to watching WCC chase totals, however, will know that we never like to do things the easy way! Having looked unstoppable in the semi-final, Carter was out to the first ball of the innings as a leading edge was well taken off the ceiling and when C Anand fell to leave it 10/2 the game was back in the balance. McKendry was playing calmly and looking to hold the innings together, a couple of fine boundaries driven past the bowler interspersed with steady accumulation taking him to a run a ball 16. Spencer were bowling well though and when McKendry was bowled by an excellent delivery to leave the score at 26/3 at the half way stage, WCC were in real trouble still 37 away from victory. A partnership was desperately needed and it finally came with Wills joining E Anand to eke out 25 precious runs. The required rate was climbing, however, and 17 were still needed from the final two overs with three wickets in hand. Having been content just to bat time until this point, it had reached the stage where a few more risks had to be taken – Spencer missed a clear run out opportunity with Wills a yard short of his ground but next ball the skipper had to go anyway, falling LBW as he looked to work the ball into a gap on the leg side. So, in a repeat of the previous week’s quarter final, WCC hopes were resting on Ehtisham and E Anand – 7 balls left and 12 runs to win. Despite being the least experienced member of the squad and despite his regular batting position at the bottom of the order, Ehtisham appears to feel no pressure with bat in hand. He smashed his first ball for 4 to leave 8 required from the final over. This became 5 from 5 balls as E Anand picked off an easy single before another scrambled single from the second ball resulted in an overthrow to bring the scores level with 4 balls and 2 wickets in hand. Still the match was not over though as E Anand could only pick out short cover to fall for an excellent 21, completing a brilliant all-round performance as he finished with half the team’s wickets and a third of the team’s runs in the final! Ehtisham was to have the final say, however, as he calmly blocked the 4th ball of the over before punching through the vacant mid-on for 4 to seal victory with one ball and one wicket to spare. Across the two games, Ehtisham finished unbeaten with 21 runs from just 7 balls, all scored with the pressure on to close out the matches – a fine performance indeed!
While the result in the final might have been closer than it should have been, it is hard to argue that WCC weren’t deserving winners – as was the case the previous year, we demonstrated that we have a squad who are all capable of contributing and that we know how to win the big moments under pressure. A great effort from the 6 who played on finals day and to the wider squad who all played their part throughout the group stages. So, for the second year running, Wimbledon are through to the regional competition where we will face the Kent winners once again.
In a repeat of 2017, the indoor team faced Kent winners Broadstairs in the regional knock-out round. WCC put in a much improved performance than last year, but fell just short in Canterbury against the 2017 national finalists. Having chosen to bat first, Carter, McKendry and C Anand laid a solid platform adding 59 for the first wicket with Carter reaching his 25 retired. A mid innings collapse of 4 wickets for 4 runs threatened to derail the innings, but some fine boundary hitting from Ehtisham in the final overs ensured WCC made a respectable 92/5 from their 12 overs. Broadstairs made a strong start to their chase but a fine spell from McKendry (conceding just 12 runs in his 3 overs) and sharp fielding left the match in the balance with Broadstairs 54/3 in the 8th over. WCC couldn’t force further breakthroughs, however, and the Kent side eased to a 3 wicket victory with an over to spare. A fine effort nonetheless by the indoor squad, who can be justifiably proud of retaining the Surrey title.
2016/17 Review of the season
Surrey Champions for the first time!
After a thrilling one run victory in our first game, the team breezed through the rest of the group stages with a 100% record to top both our initial group and our 2nd round qualifying group. In the Surrey knock-out stages we recorded a commanding 37 run quarter-final victory over Oxted & Limpsfield to reach finals day for the third successive year. Having been asked to bat first in the semi-final we posted a competitive total of 116/5 before bowling AZ Sports out for just 68. In the final we came up against Hampton Wick Royal again, having played them previously in the 2nd group stage. We again lost the toss and this time were asked to bowl first. After conceding 28 runs from the first two overs we came back strongly to dominate the rest of the game. We bowled Hampton out for 95 in the penultimate over and then knocked off the runs with very little alarm, getting over the finish line with half our wickets intact and more than an over to spare. So after a couple of near misses in the previous two years, Wimbledon were finally crowned indoor champions of Surrey! Having qualified for the regional stage of the competition for the first time, our indoor campaign came to a disappointing end as we suffered a comprehensive defeat to Kent champions Broadstairs in Canterbury. We started well with the ball conceding just 6 runs from the first two overs. Despite struggling to contain the batsmen in the second half of their innings, we still managed to restrict them to 121 from their 12 overs, which seemed a competitive but chaseable target. However, our batting innings never really got going in the face of some excellent swing bowling and as the run rate escalated we lost wickets at regular intervals to be dismissed for just 31. Ultimately the difference in experience at indoor cricket told, with Broadstairs able to better utilise the new indoor balls that swung prodigiously for the bowlers. Despite a somewhat chastening end to the competition, we can be rightly proud of winning the Surrey title for the first time and now have a much better idea of what it will take to progress further in the national competitio
The indoor team's season came to an end with defeat to AZ Sports in the ECB Surrey semi-final.
2014/15 Review of the season
Captained by Mark Costin Wimbledon entered the ECB Surrey Indoor League for the first time in the 2014/15 season. We managed to get strong teams out and qualified through our (Outer London) regional division to progress into the Surrey quarter final where we beat Dorking CC by 36 runs. In the semi final we beat Merrow CC by 15 runs to leave us with a final against Guildford City CC with both teams vying to be ECB Surrey champions. Our slightly above par score of 128 was chased down in the last over to see Guildford crowned and progress to the national rounds.
John Harris finished top of the runs chart with 248 @ 31 and a strike rate of 190.77. James Johnson and Mark Costin finished joint top of the wickets with 8 each. John Harris finished as the MVP. Although statistically those were the standout performers, there were strong contributions from all involved at some points. For detailed break downs see below: