Crusaders opened the 2013 Season with a first ever visit to Dorking and returned with a comfortable nine wicket victory.
The pre-arranged 1.00pm meet was adhered to by all but Tabs, whose Satnav advised him that he could get from Dartford Crossing to the ground in 5 minutes.
Wajih duly won the toss and after some consideration, followed by the Moral-boosting words - ''We don't want to be rolled over for 50'', decided to field. The decision was doubtless based on our lack of pre-season practise and the fact that several of our players appeared to have been far too regular at the 'All you can eat Buffet'.
The evergreen Moysey was offered the new ball and within three deliveries, he was clutching his shoulder and taking an eternity to return to his mark. Eventually he managed to complete his opening over, even getting a couple to pitch. Shakil was the complete opposite, as he immediately found his range and was causing both batsmen discomfort.
Dorking's openers stuck to their task and battled their way to 30, before Shakil got his reward, with Russel taking a sharp catch low down at Square-Leg. Moysey managed to complete six overs before Debutant Azam Erahi took over. It did'nt take him long to snare his first wicket for Crusaders, with Spud taking a low catch at first slip.
After that it was very much a one-man show, with Tabs sending down an extremely mixed bag of deliveries that contained the odd 'jaffa'. With the run rate hovering around 2 per over, Dorking obviously decided to target what they perceived to be our weak link, but this only brought about a middle-order collapse and a maiden Five wicket haul for Aftab. Spud bowled some very mediocre slow stuff to support Aftab and ensure he had free rein to take as many wickets as he liked.
At 91-8 Dorking were in deep trouble and owed much to some strong hitting from Kelsey (22) and a stubborn show of resistance from Smith (23) to rally them to a score of 141. Chand picked up two wickets late on and Shakil ran out a rather lumbering Pike with a direct hit to complete the dismissals.
After a very good tea, Wajih was joined in the middle by Jabs to pursue our target of 141 for victory. The questions most people wanted answers for were - 'Is Wajih a lapsed user of Grecian 2000' and 'Just how much food is there left in Kashmir after Jabs' visit'.
After a watchful two overs Wajih carried on very much where he had left off last season. A firm believer that nets just make you practice bad shots, Wajih soon launched into the Dorking openers, clearing the in field with some hefty drives. Jabs having had the 'benefit' of a Friday evening net, defended solidly and was happy to watch the 'Asian George Clooney' go about his work. With two of the more 'reluctant runners' in the club occupying the crease, the scoring consisted of boundaries and slowly ambled singles. Wajih passed fifty first, with a knock that contained eight boundaries and he was soon joined by Jabs, whose innings contained six fours and a maximum. Despite teasing Dorking with some aerial shots the pair were relatively untroubled raising an opening stand of 136, before Jabs was sent back lbw for 57 - a bit of 'brotherly love' from Tabs. It was left to Russel to knock off the remaining runs and victory was achieved with nearly 17 overs to spare. Wajih finished unbeaten on 72.
After a quick beer and Tour discussion at the ground, Jabs led a two car convoy to the Red Bar and Lounge in Dorking. Alas a journey of no more than five minutes descended into farce, when John and Co-Pilot Chand decided to follow a random Ford people carrier instead of Jabs. Eventually we reached our destination and some fine ales from Dark Star and Surrey Hills.