This final league fixture was played in glorious conditions and on the best facilities in Middlesex Div 2 this summer had considerable implications with Enfield requiring a win to stave off relegation and Southgate in search of 4 points to take the Div 2 Championship.
Having won the toss Southgate Skipper Rob Johnson elected to field, a decision he may have regretted after Enfield posted a highly competitive 249-4 in 50 overs with Jack Plumb posting a gutsy unbeaten hundred.
The Southgate bowlers had worked hard with the consistent Matt Creese keeping it tight from one end for the majority of the innings. The fielding was excellent, especially from Kumara, Creese and wicket keeper Phil Dunnett.
In reply Southgate got off to a good start with Jamie Jouning playing positively to put on a 50 partnership for the first wicket with Alvin Durgacharan. As was the case in the 1st innings, spin was introduced early and Nick Jackson’s off spin accounted for Jouning caught at point. Tom Allan back in the side at number three was out for a 2nd ball duck but a well constructed Matt Creese innings kept Southgate in the hunt.
Alvin Durgacharan was out with 20 overs to go and replaced by Faisal Mir who provided good impetus and support to Creese, with the equation of 100 to win from 15 overs it was a tall order but not out of reach. Creese along with first Mir and then Chathuranga Kumara played exceptionally well against some very canny bowling but fell stumped to the impressive Jackson.
The stage was now set for 19 year old Kumara to show what a talented and intelligent batsman he is with a quite stunning display of batsmanship.
With valuable support from Johnson, Yeomans and latterly Phil Dunnett, Kumara expertly guided his team within striking distance of a remarkable chase. With twenty runs required off the final 2 overs seamer Kumara hit Blair’s first ball for a boundary with an audacious ‘Dilscoop’ putting the pressure firmly on the Enfield bowlers and fielders. Dunnett was not to be left out and coming in at number 9 looked every inch an accomplished batsman with some sweetly timed shots finding the gaps in this most pressurised of situations.
With half a dozen needed in the final over Dunnett showed no sign of fear and a well struck sweep for 4 brought the travelling Southgate support to their feet. A single allowed Kumara to take strike and finish the chase and so he did finishing 56 not out amid emotional scenes and generous applause from both sides and all in attendance.
Captain Rob Johnson said: “I’m incredibly proud, it was a fitting finale to a memorable summer, Chathuranga Kumara played magnificently well and I was delighted to see two talented young cricketers see us home to a great win. Commiserations to Enfield who played their part in making this a tremendous game of cricket”.
There is still some cricket to be played with the Jim Conroy Trophy to be contested in the next couple of weeks, the 1st XI with the challenge of Premier Division Cricket in prospect next summer can reflect on a successful summer in which they maintained 1st place in the table throughout.
For the record, the score
Enfield 249-4 dec (43.1 overs)
Southgate 253-7 (49.4)
Southgate won by 3 wickets
Defeat by Kenton sees the second XI relegated
Southgate v Kenton
Kenton won by 1 wicket
Southgate 214-6 dec (50 overs)
Kenton 215-9 (47 overs)
3s end the season with a draw
Southgate v Edmonton
Southgate 245 all out (52 overs)
Edmonton 179-9 (42 overs)
On a glorious early September Saturday afternoon, Southgate and Edmonton locked horns in this greatly anticipated clash of the mid-table titans. Despite the fact that both outfits were merely playing for pride and local bragging rights, skipper Lassman was determined to put one over on the local rivals.
From ball one the banter was flowing from left, right and centre. Completely unfazed by all the gas coming from the Edmontonians, Hughesy ploughed his way to a neat 26, playing some delicate leg glances against a somewhat lacklustre Edmonton bowling attack. Batting for tomorrow, Temple was not so fluent in his stroke play, however shortly found his touch playing some exquisite cuts; taking the word late to whole new levels on his way to a defiant 15. Karim and Anton came to the crease with the whole weight of Southgate CC on their shoulders.
Building on the platform that the openers had provided, Karim played aggressively, making no mistakes in despatching some quite frankly wild bowling before departing for 16. Meanwhile at the other end, Anton showed no evidence of the copious amounts of red wine he had allegedly consumed the previous evening, caressing anything in the hitting zone to all corners of the ground. Unfortunately, Anton’s classy knock of 60 was short lived after a minor hamstring tweak. In a similar fashion Mike demonstrated some fine aggressive stroke play on his way to 30.
Despite the Southgate onslaught, the chirpy Edmonton fielders showed no signs of abstaining from the verbal abuse, in this highly coveted North London derby. However when big hitting Greg came to the crease to rub salt into the already sincerely painful Edmonton wounds, the extreme banter began to die down. Rattling our way up the much desired 200 mark, pinch hitting Berman came to the crease. Before being utterly bamboozled by a well disguised slower ball, Berman departed for a belligerent 20. Greg continued to dominate the limp Edmonton bowling attack carting all pies to the rope effortlessly. Fortunately for the Edmonton bowlers and Greg’s cholesterol the pie shop closed when skipper Lassman made a bold declaration at the 51 over mark with a very healthy score on the board.
Fuelled on Skippy’s mushroom risotto and the scent of victory the 10 men of Southgate (thanks Julius) took to the field. With cheers and jeers coming from the 4th xi players who had had time to return to the ground, Berman steamed in from the Walker school end. The raw pace proved to be too much to handle for batsman no 1 as Hughes snaffled a fine catch in the slips. From the other end Greg bowled very tidily and proved hard to get away. The pressure mounted as the run rate began to escalate. The first major point of controversy occurred as Habbs began his spell. Under the pressure from the restless 4th xi Edmonton players who had gathered round, the umpire melted into no balling everyone one of Alex’s deliveries. After some persuasive bull-shit from the Edmonton faithful, Habbs had to finish his spell picking up the solitary wicket.
This infuriated the mouthy Edmonton 3rd xi rejects. Wickets continued to tumble at frequent intervals with a fine display of line and length bowling from Karim. Furthermore, Nadeem also bowled accurately examining the techniques of the Edmonton lower middle order. As darkness began descending on us, the 3rd xi outcasts showed no signs of shutting up, as the abuse continued, particularly towards Greg; but what can u expect wearing fluorescent pink glasses, ey??
Answering his critics, Greg took a superb catch coming out of the dark night sky. Some controversial umpiring, which involved the batsman covering up all their stumps knowing that an LBW decision was next to impossible, with the umpires under strict instruction from their gobby captain on the sidelines. Unfortunately, due to some childish time wasting at the end complaining about the light, an excruciatingly painful over-rate from the Edmontonians, some unbelievably biased umpiring and sportsmanship that left a lot to be desired, Lassman’s army felt harshly deprived off a much deserved victory with the Edmonton tail wagging, 9 wickets down.
Hopefully Delroy and the gangsters returned home safely in difficult driving conditions. Josh Berman
And the 4s? They were away to Edmonton and if the game was as much fun as the reverse fixture then I’m certain everyone had a lot of, er, fun.