Alex sticks to his probing Lines to keep promotion hopes alive
Aussie seamer tears Datchet apart with 9-54
ALEX Lines wrote his own chapter of Amersham history on Saturday to bowl them to a seventh successive win and within an ace of the promotion places.
The Aussie paceman tore in first from one end and then the other to produce stunning figures of 9-54 to settle a tight game at Shardeloes amid ever-increasing tension.
Lines’ swag bag of wickets is a record for Amersham in the Home Counties League, but only puts him fourth in the club’s bowling feats overall.
Kevin Heffernan remains top of their list having taken 10-31 in a second XI game back in 1975, while Michael Hurry also claimed a full set while bowling for the thirds back in the ’80s. And Michael Atkinson holds the first XI record with 9-15 against Kew in a Thames Valley League encounter in 2009.
Lines first appeared at Amersham two years later from his native Sydney, playing four years in the club colours before spending the 2015 season further north with Formby. He returned at the start of this campaign to claim his place in Shardeloes folklore.
Chairman Ian Rogers believes Lines’ feat stands up there with the best.
“Alex’s wickets have come at a much higher level than the two guys who got 10, so that makes them all the more impressive,” he said.
Prior to Lines’ heroics Amersham were put in and despite a determined 41 from Bruce Friderich they were in trouble at 110-7.
Haseeb Ali (24) joined skipper Andy Viney in a precious half century stand before both fell in quick succession, the latter the last man out for a gritty 58.
The question is would it be enough – Cue Mr Lines. Bowling first one end, then the other he tore out the top half, leaving Datchet 59-5.
Visiting captain Steven Naylor stood firm though and found staunch support from Tim Alldis as they carried the score beyond 100.
When Maduka Liyanapathiranage removed Alldis for 19 little did anyone suspect he spoilt a 10-fer.
Then it was Lines back in the spotlight, bagging another wicket before inducing Naylor to nick one to the keeper for 60.
Seven down soon become 138-9, but Datchet’s last pair of Samuel Finn and Thomas Lambert inched their side closer.
Just 10 were needed when Lines, Cornfield behind him, surged in once more to scatter Lambert’s stumps and cue the celebrations.
Then it was time for the man of the moment to head to the clubhouse to get in the obligatory round of drinks.
They now sit two points shy of the promotion places with a visit to leaders Oxford next on the agenda on Saturday.
Amersham 2s beat Bagshot by 86 runs thanks to 110 from Chris Owen and Duncan Ward’s 5-60, while the 3s beat Kew by five wickets.
Smart Alex: Amersham’s Alex Lines in action during a recent match against Chesham.