Southgate v Ealing
Ealing won by 111 runs
Ealing 246-7 (51 overs)
Southgate 135 all out (50 overs)
J Jouning 74
Harrow Town v Southgate
Harrow Town won by 5 wickets
Southgate 160 all out (48 overs)
Harrow Town 161-5 (46.2 overs)
Harrow Town 2nd XI are still bottom of the league. They are a poor side, and on Saturday they were good enough to beat us. It is tempting to end the match report there, but given that most reports you will read this week will concern where it all went wrong for Woy Hodgson and his England team, it seems wrong to rob you of a rare alternative. Albeit an equally depressing one.
Captain Carr lost the toss and we were asked to bat first. The wicket played a lot better than it looked, so the collapse of the top order was inexcusable. M Stratten, playing his last match for Southgate this season (he will be missed), top scored with 34, A Saeed and O Ali each made 26 but nobody else made it past 20. It was a lacklustre performance. I don’t think anyone will believe they were beaten by a delivery that they could do nothing about, indeed there was a plethora of pretty awful shots and dismissals. One of their bowlers picked up 5 wickets for just 46 runs in his 16 overs.
Defending a little over 3 runs per over, it was imperative that we got off to a tight start and took early wickets, so when S Kalagara (19-4-60-2) returned a wicket maiden in his first over, it was a perfect start. Kalagara has been excellent in recent weeks, and he continued this form on Saturday. His new-ball partner was the returning O Ali (17-5-38-1) who after a few overs of cobweb removal returned to his usual self – the highlight being a classic inswinger that clean bowled Harrow Town’s left-handed opener. Two useful direct hit run outs from M Joseph and P Robinson meant that by the time Harrow Town were half way to their target, they were 5 down and the required run rate had risen to over 4. The other two bowlers available to the captain were himself (5.2-1-32-0) and A Quiyum (5-2-16-0). If you take into account the maidens from those sets of figures you will see how Harrow Town’s numbers 4 and 7 took advantage when Ali and Kalagara were rested. It did feel as though our valiant opening bowlers were shouldering a workload heavy enough to be detrimental. The fielding was passable, although it did suffer when it seemed as though defeat was inevitable. When the winning single was taken courtesy of a misfield by an understandably exhausted opening bowler, it felt like a fitting conclusion to a regrettable affair.
Assuming we still have ambitions to get promoted, Saturday’s efforts are simply not good enough. Our batting lineup was weaker than in previous weeks and we are desperately missing a spinner, but you can bemoan poor availability until you are blue in the face. If people can’t play you can’t make them. What we can do is make more of an effort with our preparations. We are consistently starting a warm up with less than half of the side present, and everyone who played on Saturday must feel like they have something to work on in training, so I expect to see good numbers of 2nd XI players on the coming Tuesday nights. Max Joseph
Ealing v Southgate
Ealing 226-9 dec (50 overs)
S Faruqi 4-34
If a tree falls in a wood when no one’s around to hear it, does it make a noise?
Indeed, the answer to this old and most problematic question is as seemingly evasive as a win for the 3s at the moment. This was another Saturday of “oh so close yet oh so far”.
Winning the toss gave captain Carter a re-found faith in the laws of statistics (finally a head in six attempts!) and he duly put the oppo in, bored of slugging it out with the bat first up.
Some early wickets and dodgy batting by a side who’d been knocked over for 60-odd against Uxbridge not long since, inspired even more confidence in the Southgate ranks. Their batting line-up seemed shaky at best, with their number four asking Omar behind the stumps for tips on how to hit the ball, how to hold the bat and whether the bird-dropping-splattered pitch affected the ball’s bounce.
This may have all seemed a dream to Roy Marett who, drugged up to the nines with painkillers and under strict instructions to ‘take it easy’, got through 17 overs straight (for just 47 runs) with Mike and Sam operating the other end, restricting the opposition nicely.
But all was due to change, as we are so accustomed to discovering this season, with the appearance of a rather handy number six. Supported by a couple of youngsters, he cruised to a confident hundred before eventually succumbing to Ravi’s darting deliveries. Sam and Ravi then mopped up most of the tail and they ended up on 226-8, a very chase-able score.
Particular credit goes to the Dias brothers in the field for a fine performance both in the circle and in the deep, really setting the standard and showing the promise of youth coming through.
After a pretty satisfying picnic lunch (7/10), the Trees went into bat.
We had a decent start, despite losing a couple of wickets and were well ahead of the rate at 25 with the score at about 120-2. Adam Jouning and Vernon Dias played nicely for 36 and 31 respectively which put us into this commanding position but unfortunately, were not supported by the middle order. Five through eight were quickly skittled to leave us in a very precarious spot with eight down and 15 overs to bat.
In came the finishing maestros Ravi Desai and Roy Marett who guided us to a point and some sort of dignified end to a match full of outspoken wicket keepers (not ours), poor banter (some of it ours) and missed opportunities (most definitely ours). Mike Carter
Southgate v MTSCC
MTSCC won by 6 wickets
Southgate 154 all out
MTSCC 159 for 4
Last Saturday marked the end of my exile from cricket, and turning up at the Walker 20 minutes late was hardly a good start. As it turns out however, I was earlier than half the team, which is a good and a bad thing. When the team sheet on the website reads 11 players, you always have to take it with a table spoon of salt with the 4th XI, and sure enough two players were missing at the start of play. A damp, uncovered pitch was soft and promised for some unpredictable bounce and the outfield made Bill Bailey’s hair look tidy. Scatterings of leaves, mud, branches and probably small children who’d managed to get lost in there meant that there would be a lot of running for our shallow batting order. It was an important toss to win for Alex, and predictably the opposition skipper called it correctly. Southgate first to bat then.
I don’t have a scorebook to hand, so this is all going to be from memory, so please excuse any errors. Sal and Anton opened, and some early boundaries looked promising, as big hitting from Sal and careful shot selection from Anton guided us through the first few overs. Then disaster struck as Sal’s bat cracked after a few decades of good service it seemed, and he was immediately caught at slip next ball. In walked the out of form, unfit slogger. Surprisingly, just one aerial shot was played in the next half an hour, as Anton and I negotiated a range of vegetable pies (many of the oppo were vegetarian), tennis balls and shooters, with the odd peach from a rather pacey youth. The 2nd wicket partnership exceeded expectations as Southgate looked strong on 90 odd for the loss of 1 after 28 overs. Finally, a loss of concentration brought a head in the air heave from yours truly, spooning an easy catch to mid off, ending an innings of 35 and a stand of over 60 with Anton.
Will and Julius accompanied Anton for a few more overs, however when they fell Southgate looked on the verge of collapse. Anton pushed through to a well made 50 on a difficult track but eventually was caught for 67 as the lower order gave their wickets away cheaply. Resistance from Niroosh who stuck in for a few overs was futile and eventually the Southgate skipper, bringing up the rear, was dismissed for a golden blob to a sharp yorker.
154 was the target to defend, and with no less than 6 pace bowlers in the side, this could’ve been our chance to redeem a lacklustre batting performance. However on a slow track, pace off the ball was definitely the way to go and without any spinners or slower bowlers in the team (for once) it looked to be another struggle. Thanks to Rohan Silva, which came in at late notice to provide us with an extra fielder and his pace bowling. Spirits were high, and edges were flying all over the place, particularly through gully. It was only a matter of time when one came, and eventually Alex found a thick edge, but the poor fielder at point lost sight of the ball in the trees and passed up a half chance (read: I dropped a sitter). However Alex, fuelled by displeasure, struck back with a great delivery that took out the middle stump. Julius held a good chance at cover point to give Niroosh a well deserved wicket for some tight bowling, and at drinks we looked ready to take advantage of a seemingly weak middle order.
However this was not to be. Southgate bowlers toiled away but to no avail as some IPL wides, and some tired bowling accounted for MTSCC’s highest scorer: extras. At least 40 were conceeded, and in a total of 150 that was partially the reason we were unable to put up a better fight. Of note is Will Temple’s wicket keeping, surely saving 30 runs, byes and wides behind the stumps which was invaluable to the team’s mentality.
Hopefully this weekend will show up some better batting and bowling efforts, as Southgate look to topple Brentham at home. Shiv-Raj Sharma