Camberley off to winning start.
A new-look Camberley 2nd XI made a winning start to the new season with a hard-fought win over Old Rutlishians on Saturday.
A strong all-round bowling display restricted the hosts to 133 all out, and, despite a middle-order collapse, Camberley scraped over the line for a pleasing two-wicket victory.
Dan Wakeling was the pick of the bowlers with 10-2-15-3, while other seamers Jon Cooles (10-2-33-3), Chris Pike (9.4-4-27-2) and Lloyd Morris (10-5-20-0) also impressed.
Sam Holmes took 6-0-23-1 and also joint top-scored with new captain James Parrott in the run chase as both made 38.
After a lengthy trip into South-West London, the visitors won the toss and Parrott elected to bowl on a track which was fairly soft and slow, but ultimately held up fairly well considering recent weather.
With Cooles and Dan Bowles stuck in traffic, Camberley played the first few overs with nine men, but that didn't trouble Morris, who began his customary tight spell with three straight maidens.
Cooles' absence meant Pike shared the new ball, and he also produced a useful opening spell which culminated in the first wicket of the new season as he cleaned up George Tidey for three.
Cooles and Wakeling replaced the openers and bowled equally as impressively, as the hosts lost wickets at frequent intervals and struggled to score at more than two an over.
After an indifferent first few deliveries, Cooles suddenly hit his straps with devastating effect. First, he induced an edge from one batsman, but although that catch was dropped, Cooles was not to be denied, striking with his very next delivery as Michael Dodd lobbed a simple catch to Jordan Gibbs at cover.
He followed that up in his next couple of overs by bowling two more batsmen, while Wakeling was also not to be denied, producing a superb inswinging delivery to remove Jon Mapp, reducing the hosts to 34-5 after 16 overs.
A small partnership was then formed as young Ryan Patel dug in and captain Liam Flanagan mixed defence with attack.
But, with the score on 73, debutant Bowles made his mark, taking a superb catch at slip to remove Patel. Off-spinner Sam Holmes induced a thick edge that looped up off keeper Mike Collins' pad and looked like it was going to drop to safety, but Bowles dived forwards and held on to a sharp catch.
Another 30-odd-run partnership followed, but it was broken by highly unusual means.
Searching for a breakthrough, Parrott introduced leg-spinner Gibbs to the attack, but, unbeknown to his captain and most of the rest of the team, Gibbs instead decided to bowl medium pace.
But, before anyone could question his decision, the visitors were celebrating as Holmes hung on to a spectacular catch at short cover, giving Gibbs a wicket with his first ball of the season.
New keeper Collins then produced a very good piece of work to stump Kamran Khan after Wakeling bowled one down the leg side, before the 15-year-old left-armer straightened his line to bowl Fawad Anis.
Pike finished off the innings by clipping the top of Richard Woolland's off stump to complete a very satisfactory bowling and fielding performance.
In reply, Camberley opened with Gibbs and James Harrison, but got off to a stumbling start as the latter left a straight one and was bowled by Khan for two.
That brought Holmes to the crease, and he wasted little time asserting himself as he struck five fours and a six in an innings that towered over all that came before it and most that came after.
Gibbs made a positive start to his innings but became bogged down and ultimately fell chasing a wide delivery, only succeeding in scewing a catch to point for nine.
Parrott came in at four, and, despite a slow start which included him being on three off 33 balls, the new skipper kicked on as the two of them made the first and only fifty partnership of the match.
With the score on 82-2, the visitors would have hoped to close out the game without alarm, but Anis made sure that wasn't the case as he produced a spell of highly unpredictable bowling to spark chaos in the Camberley changing room.
Despite bowling at least seven wides in his seven-over spell, he also came up with numerous jaffas to remove four of Camberley's middle order, beginning with Holmes in his first over.
Parrott's run-rate had increased dramatically after the introduction of Woolland, but the young spinner ultimately gained revenge as he held on to a very good return catch to turn up the pressure on the away side.
Nick Kempton also succumbed to Woolland before Anis took centre-stage. He removed both debutants Collins and Bowles before they'd troubled the scorers, before also taking care of Cooles for eight, as Camberley collapsed to 117-8.
Still needing 17 to win, Morris and Pike adopted very different styles in their efforts to get the runs. With 13 overs remaining, the latter chose to play straight and patient, while the former looked to attack at every turn.
It was a formula which worked in the end as Morris clubbed Patel to the mid-wicket boundary to wrap up the game and complete a win that was slightly more nervy than it could have been.
It was a win which took Camberley top of the table as no other match was completed, which should serve as a boost going into this week's home game against newly-promoted Sanderstead.