The crowds go wild for George.GEORGE CROWDY started the season in magnificent style as his maiden century inspired Camberley to a 147-run victory against Cove on Saturday.
Crowdy, who hit 104 off 110 balls, looked imperious throughout, pouncing on anything short or angling in on his pads with devastating effect. An innings full of superb strokeplay and timing only ended in the 40th over as he looked to up the run-rate with five overs to go.
Steve Hulks also made an attractive 69, putting on 130 for the fourth wicket with Crowdy. Hulks showed an increased level of maturity in his innings as both batsmen took advantage of some poor fielding, with easy singles and twos available almost every delivery.
In reply, Lloyd Morris struck with the fourth ball of the innings, and that set the tone as wickets fell at regular intervals as Cove limped to a heavy defeat. There were four wickets for Chris Pike, three for Phil West, and one for Morris and Jordan Gibbs, as well as a run out.
The day had started with a rather rusty warm-up, however that was long forgotten as Crowdy and James Reeves set about the Cove attack. They began in watchful manner, taking singles here and there, until Reeves crunched one opener back over his head into the trees, shortly before creaming the other opener twice through the covers for four. The partnership had reached 48 when Reeves was bowled by a good delivery from Spellman for 24.
James Harrison came in at three and looked in good touch before being adjudged lbw for 12, then Mac Syed played a short but sweet knock of the same score before smashing a drive straight to cover. Syed's departure brought Hulks to the crease at 98-3, and, given that his warm up was dire, one could have been forgiven for thinking his stay at the crease would have been short-lived. But he proved all his critics, most notably himself, wrong, as he combined brute force with a lot of skill and patience. He complimented a long six and plenty of fours with some good timing and placement, taking singles off the majority of balls he faced, before being bowled in the 36th over.
But while Hulks fell short of three figures, Crowdy was not to be denied. He cruised past his previous best score of 77, and while his dad nervously watched on from the boundary, the 17-year-old showed no signs of nerves, dispatching two fours through the leg side to move from 90 to 98.
With the magic mark within touching distance, Crowdy punched one into the leg side and took the single. But, not for the first time, there was a misfield to which Tom Green was alert, and he turned for the second run, allowing Crowdy to come back for a very well-deserved hundred.
The achievement was met by cheers from everyone associated with Camberley, and Crowdy followed up the milestone with possibly his best shot of the innings, piling into a cover drive that left captain West saying, "God, he hit that harder than me."
Looking to score off every delivery led to Crowdy being bowled shortly after, but it didn't detract from a wonderfully constructed innings that proved to be the cornerstone of Camberley's eventual total of 289-9.
With half the job done, West emphasised the need to complete the job in the necessary way, and Morris clearly took heed of his captain's teamtalk by having Loubes caught behind with his fourth delivery. Pike also took an early wicket, when Gudge mistimed a drive to Hulks at point, but struggled to find his rhythm and was replaced in the eighth over by West. The off-spinner changed his pace well and bowled a typically economical spell of 9-3-16-3, taking wickets at regular intervals.
Morris' dangerous opening spell was ended when Gibbs was brought into the attack, and the leg-spinner showed what an enigmatic bowler he is, following a waist-high full toss with a ripper that spun from leg stump to well outside off. Gibbs' deserved wicket came about due to a superb catch from Syed at cover, who leapt and took the catch one-handed above his head.
Those wickets plus a run out from Pike meant Cove were 75-7, and a quick finish looked likely. A quickfire 49 from number nine Steve Lynch put a slight halt on proceedings as he bludgeoned the ball to all parts until he was dismissed by Pike, thanks to a very good catch from Reeves behind the stumps.
Pike then completed the job with the final two wickets, both of which cleaned up off-stump, to finish with figures of 4.2-0-28-4. It completed a very satisfactory day for Camberley, who will hope to build on the performance against Normandy on Saturday 23rd.
With many people due to be inline for selection, competition for places will be intense, but one man will be assured of his spot at the top of the order. The day belonged to Crowdy, and if he can replicate this performance throughout the season, Camberley will be tough to beat.