FARNHAM took comfort from a fighting draw at fellow strugglers Leatherhead in the first all-day ‘timed’ game of the season.
It was almost a ‘double pointer’ as the two sides searched for their first win of the season in the Surrey Championship Division One and Leatherhead elected to bat on a hard wicket that looked like it might break up later.
Farnham started well. Ben Ungaretti, returning from a back injury, soon sent Brewster Surridge’s stumps cartwheeling and Rob Goldsworthy followed up by bowling Oli Trower.
Leatherhead 30-2, but Mike Nicol and skipper Adam Dyson dug in and kept the run-rate ticking over in the middle overs.
Rob Dale and the young spinners, Nathan Thorpe and Chris Terry, all bowled with admirable control as Farnham strove for another breakthrough. But Nicol shared partnerships of 63, 52 and 46 with Dyson, Matt Joblin and Simon Roberts respectively.
Tom Grimes could not wrestle the ball from Thorpe’s hands as he bowled over after over. Dale returned to take some quick wickets as Leatherhead were forced to take risks, but Nicol batted on and reached his century with some great driving and hitting over the top.
Dale (4-66) finally got him for 125 and Leatherhead used their full quota of 66 overs to reach 269-9. Thorpe finished with 3-80 from a marathon 20 overs.
Farnham lost Guy Hicks early and Thorpe went at 56, but number 1 Joel Walker picked up where he left off the week before and stroked the ball to all parts.
At 68-3, Toby Ward joined Walker in an excellent partnership. Ward swept both on the leg and off-side with control and power, while Walker’s sweet driving and clever placement took him to a third consecutive half-century.
At 135-3, with the pair really gaining momentum, Ward was adjudged leg before to Dyson for 35. Ciaran Rooney and Walker added 24, but Farnham’s challenge fell away when Walker fell for a superb 79, caught and bowled by Dyson, and Grimes and Ungaretti were dismissed by Marcus Dawes with only a further seven runs added.
With victory now looking a long way off, Rooney and the late order set their sights on the win-draw score. Terry scored useful runs, but when he was eighth man out at 191, Leatherhead started to race through their overs.
Goldsworthy and Rooney battled hard and the latter’s 39 not out steered Farnham to the losing draw.
Dyson wheeled away for 24 overs, taking 3-72, and Dawes had 2-54 in 17.
Leatherhead took 11 points to the visitors’ eight, but this was significant damage limitation for Farnham as they prepare for a local derby at Camberley this Saturday.