Pike effort in vain as youngsters lose thriller.
Chris Pike's maiden Test match fifty was not enough to ensure victory for a very young Camberley development side at Oxshott on Sunday.
Pike's innings of 60 was the only score above 12, however a considerable amount of extras saw the away side to 174 all out.
In reply, Josh Halsey was the star with the ball, taking 4-31 from seven overs as the home batsmen struggled to deal with his areas and skiddy deliveries.
Despite a late rally, Camberley came up just short, as Oxshott captain Humayoon Nasir hit the winning runs in the penultimate over with his side nine wickets down.
Having won the toss, captain Sam Holmes elected to bat on a very dry track with short boundaries.
George Crowdy took his customary position at the top of the order, but his partner was slightly less experienced in the trade.
You could have got very good odds on Pike outlasting Crowdy and Dom Peter at the crease, but that's exactly what happened. Crowdy looked like he meant business in the first over, crunching three fours, but he added no further score before top edging an attempted clip through the leg side in the second over.
Peter was then the victim of what looked a harsh LBW decision, but he had to go for a duck.
While all the carnage was going on at the other end, Pike also could have fallen; dropped at slip while still on nought.
Captain Holmes came in to steady the ship at four, and, after a shaky start, Pike started to resemble more of a batsman.
Some good shotmaking and running, combined with some horrific fielding meant that Camberley continued to score at a good pace, until Holmes was trapped LBW for 12.
Dan Wakeling was next up the ramp, but after looking fairly solid at the crease, he was deceived by a good delivery from Nasir which spun back between his bat and pad.
With all the wickets falling at the other end, the innings became increasingly dependent on Pike getting a good score - something he wasn't particularly adept at.
But, after a mix of streaky edges, well-judged singles and the occasional good shot for four, the man who batted number eleven the day previously found himself on 49 for the first time.
A quick single to point was taken and once Harry Green made his ground at the striker's end, Pike had achieved the unthinkable.
Cheers from the boundary would have been in disbelief as much as appreciation that Pike had actually done a half-decent job.
Green played nicely during his short stay at the crease before he was well caught and bowled by Oliver Pike for six.
Pike fell shortly after, as he missed an agricultural swipe at leg-spinner Meesome Hussain and was bowled. Despite being annoyed at having thrown away a good position, he would definitely have settled for 60 before the game, and especially after being dropped on nought.
Shaan Joshi looked good at the crease, slashing one four through backward point, before he tried to repeat the trick and dragged on.
Toby Woodland looked untroubled against people many years older, and even managed to get off the mark with a reverse sweep before being stumped off Hussain.
Blake Howell added some valuable late runs as he struck two fours before he was run out by the superb fielding of Oliver Pike.
Halsey then defied his position at number eleven by crunching a backfoot drive through extra cover for four, before he was well caught by Oliver Pike off the bowling of his twin brother Alex, leaving Max Carter unbeaten at the crease.
In reply, Wakeling bowled his customary good areas, while Pike bowled his customary wayward areas, but neither could prise a wicket out of the Oxshott openers.
Both were replaced by spin, and Holmes' off-spin took the first wicket, well caught by Peter at mid-wicket.
Peter himself bowled a very good spell of 8-0-20-1, ragging his left arm variations all over the place. His deserved wicket came courtesy of a good catch by Joshi at mid-off, before Halsey took centre stage.
With the score at 103-2, the young medium-pacer took four of the next five wickets to haul his side back into the game. First, he bowled Alex Pike, shortly before having Phil Salt well caught behind by Crowdy, who performed admirably in his first game behind the sticks.
Halsey continued to bowl superbly, and he bowled two more Oxshott batsmen, with Holmes claiming also claiming a wicket between the two.
Halsey's efforts balanced the game nicely, with 39 runs or three wickets required for either side. But a partnership of 27 between Nasir and Oliver Pike seemed to have settled the game, before Pike was bowled by Pike (lol).
Peter's superb pick up and throw from mid-on then ran out Jo Lidbetter, meaning the game would be settled by a six or a wicket.
Halsey was brought back to bowl the penultimate over, but sadly for Camberley his fantastic effort didn't quite have the fairytale ending, as Nasir smeared him through the leg side twice in succession to finish the game in the hosts' favour.
It was a tense game that was ultimately decided by Camberley's poor batting display, but provided good experience for a side with an average age of just over 16, and only two people older than 17.
Next Sunday will likely provide a similarly inexperienced side as Camberley have to field sides for two games. So far this season finding eleven players on a Sunday has been tough enough, so it'll be interesting to see what availability is like this week.