Southgate v Eastcote
Eastcote won by 5 wickets
Southgate 285-7 dec (66 overs)
Eastcote 286-5 (50.3 overs)
With a punchy 10:30am start in prospect Captain Johnson gathered the Southgate troops on the outfield for some catching practice and, upon losing the toss, we were inserted on an unusual looking Southgate surface.
Jouning departed in the first over, caught behind, and there may well have been a sinking feeling among a group of players who this season have been only too familiar with a first-innings collapse and an early shandy in the bar.
Eastcote were without two of their four Middlesex squad players and, fortunately for us, it was the two who bowl. However with the experienced pair of Metcalf and Goodchild taking the new ball, two of our three Toms, Messers Edrich and Yeomans, had a tricky hour in store.
A few spectators arrived, as did a few of the 2nd and 3rd XI players. “Yes,” we told them, “we started at 10:30”. We’d got through an hour or so still one down with Yeomans looking to be positive with trademark drives and Edrich digging in solidly at the other end. Adam Rossington, fresh from a four-day stint behind the stumps for the county, was given the opportunity with the ball and nearly took a wicket first ball as Edrich miss-timed a pull. Tom Scollay’s off-spin initially looked to be generating a lot of turn spin but the Toms looked in control as an excellent partnership of 74 for the second wicket ensued. It was however Scollay who made the breakthrough as Yeomans conspired to be caught at leg slip as the ball deflected off the wicketkeeper and ballooned up for a simple catch. This was a real shame as he’d looked in excellent order and having survived a difficult first hour was ticking along nicely.
Dunnett at number four has been lacking the runs that his ability merits and searching for some confidence at this level that only really comes with time in the middle and runs under the belt. He started intelligently looking to rotate the strike with singles in the gaps against both seam and spin and he and Tom Edrich played in a composed fashion through to lunch. Without doubt this was the strongest position we’d achieved batting first at lunch and our young guns left the field to generous applause.
Sue’s beef and ale pie followed by apple crumble and ice cream was polished off and play resumed with Southgate looking to build on their good start. Edrich moved up a gear or two and reached a maiden league 50 for the 1st XI which included five fours, while at the other end Dunnett, who was looking increasingly fluent, helped himself to a couple of classy straight drives and nearly put the Eastcote short leg fielder in hospital with a savage pull shot into the lad’s back. Sadly with 54 to his name Tom perished to a loose shot caught at extra-cover. Having done the hard work before lunch it was a shame to give it away, but it was a solid innings nonetheless and with 139 on the board a reasonable platform to build on.
Johnson at number five came into join Dunnett, who continued to pile on the runs in good time with some excellent shot making. Eastcote were beginning to show signs of genuine concern with approximately 70 having been scored in a ten-over period since lunch but an LBW dismissal one shy of his own maiden 1st XI half century sent a disappointed Dunnett back to the sheds.
Johnson fell to a David Goodchild change of pace for a breezy 21 but Tom Allan, offered an early reprieve from a goober at extra-cover, looked set to make Eastcote pay as he moved through the gears with increasing levels of authority at the crease.
There followed a highly entertaining partnership with Hadgie taking centre stage. At this point Eastcote’s stand-in death bowler may have been wishing he’d kept his gloves on as Hadgie and Tom dominated the closing stages.
Tom fell for 45 and Adeel Saeed was sacrificed looking for swift runs in the final over, but a sweating, breathless Hadgie marched off having hit a belligerent 52 from only 37 balls with five 4s and a glorious 6. The score of 285 for 7 in 66 was a significant improvement on our recent efforts.
After the short interval we started poorly with Yeomans thrust into taking the new ball with Le Roux back in Johannesburg and Faisal unavailable. His opening over went for 23, which wasn’t as bad as Carmi’s the week before but was far from ideal. Hadgie, having taken on a bottle of water and a few Bensons, did his magic up the hill and removed the dangerous Tom Scollay for 22 from eight balls to drag things back, but the Eastcote number three came out all guns blazing as well until Southgate’s mystery first-change bowler Phil Dunnett picked up a wicket as he picked out deep cow with a fairly brainless slog across the line. Even with this second breakthough Eastcote had got the start they needed with 50 on the board in no time and plenty of quality batting to come.
Post tea Southgate’s three spinners (who’ve gone collectively for in excess of 1000 this season) bowled ok with Haseeb the pick, but unfortunately anything loose went to the fence and the runs continued to flow, and with their best batsman still to come in at seven things were far from over.
Middlesex’s Adam Rossington showed that he’s not afraid to go after the spinners, with reverse sweeps and conventional shots over the top and he spread the field expertly. It was then a canter home with four overs to spare, his 72 coming from 54 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes.
Had Southgate fielded a their full bowling attack it may have been a different story perhaps. but sadly another defeat for the Trees. There were some notable performances from the batsman that were highly encouraging, but our bowling wasn’t good enough on the day. Rob Johnson
Scorecard available at http://middlesexccl.play-cricket.com/scoreboard/scorecard.asp?id=11392801
Wycombe House v Southgate
Southgate won by 5 wickets
Wycombe House 164 all out (54 overs)
Southgate 165-5 (43.4 overs)
And now Mr P Lassman with two match reports in one…
2nd XI vs Harrow Town (25th August) and Wycombe House (1st September)
Keen Bugle followers – those of you who eagerly await each weekly edition and, once published, devour the reports with hunger and passion – may remember an earlier effort of mine, at the start of the season. On May 19th, still under the influence of final school exams, I penned my account of our fixture with Ickenham in the style of a sixth-form history essay. Today, faced with the prospect of writing two reports in the same evening (I forgot to write last week’s report, so my teammates reprimanded me by assigning this week’s scribble as well), I choose to return to my earlier style, structuring this effort as a high-school literature essay on the following question: Compare and contrast the key themes of “Harrow Town in the Rain” and the sequel “Away at Wycombe House”.
The tales of Harrow Town in the Rain and Away at Wycombe House begin and end in similar fashion. Both open with a successful coin toss for protagonist Adrian Carr, and conclude with a triumphant run chase by the Southgate batters. At the close of each, supporters can rejoice at the accomplishment of ten, hard-earned points. And, while the frustrating news of yet another Wembley win knocks the stuffing out of the post-Wycombe House celebrations, both victories are welcomed and enjoyed by the central characters from the Southgate 2s.
Suresh Kalagara and Omair Ali share the new ball on both occasions. In Harrow Town the setting is a grey, rainy scene at the Walker Ground and, while the opening few overs cause trouble for the Harrow Town batsmen, the brief yet torrential storm that follows, and the subsequently soaking wet ball, puts an end to the opening bowlers’ success. In contrast, the setting for Wycombe House is a dry west-London day and a green wicket that, in many places, is largely indistinguishable from the outfield; here, unsurprisingly, Suresh and Omair bowl incredibly dangerous opening spells. In Wycombe House an early wicket is denied when the opener edges a wide one behind; the player-umpire apologises, explaining the overhead aeroplane prevented him from hearing any contact, the batsman adopts a look of shocked disbelief and taps his pads in justification for the booming snick. Southgate players are unsure whether to laugh or argue, so remain admirably silent and continue with the game.
The prevailing tone of Harrow Town is frantic, chaotic, and interrupting, a stark contrast from the sedate monotony of Wycombe House. In Harrow Town, further rain breaks and a decrease in available overs to just 74 spark a hurried race to a declaration target and a flurry of boundaries, wickets and dropped catches. 197-5 declared, in 38 overs, is the game situation halfway through Harrow Town. Conversely, after struggling to 20-2 in 15 overs, Wycombe House continue their innings with an unbelievable lack of intent, and close on 164 all out in 54 overs. Characters of importance in this opening half of Wycombe House include Sam Faruqi for a strong spell of bowling, Max Joseph for a stunning catch, and your scribe, Paul Lassman, for somehow managing to stay awake at cover point, a position to which the ball ventured no more than an exhilarating three times during the course of the entire innings.
The contrasting tones recognised above continue in the second part of both Harrow Town and Wycombe House. In the former, opening batsmen Paddy Robinson and Dave Woffinden attack the Harrow Town bowling with great intent, founded on the effective combination of strong running between the wickets and a very slow outfield. In the latter, after the fall of two early wickets, it is with myself that Paddy forms a partnership, albeit one of a notably more relaxed pace that the previous week. At drinks in Harrow Town, Southgate need about 100 off 18 overs with six wickets in hand; at drinks in Wycombe House the target is a similar 95 runs required, although with more overs (23) and wickets (8) still remaining.
Great literature keeps its reader continuously involved; fittingly in both tales the Southgate batsmen pace their chase at such a rate that the opposition is always in with a chance. In Harrow Town, the unexpected departures of Max Joseph and Alex Kennedy, both for 48, leave Suresh Kalagara and Sam Faruqi to hit the winning runs, which, in keeping with the high intensity of the whole tale, they do so with stunning drama. Suresh finishes with a crucial 40*, and Sam on a characteristic 9*, off three deliveries. In Wycombe House, it is Paul Lassman’s wicket for 62 that leaves the final runs to be scored by Paddy (54*) and Shiv-Raj Sharma (20). After Shiv is out caught with one run to win, Suresh (in keeping with the low intensity of the whole tale) leaves his first ball to craftily induce a scampered bye that brings the game to its close.
To conclude, despite differences in tone, pace and intensity, the dominant theme of both Harrow Town in the Rain and Away at Wycombe House is the same: 10 points. If, as can be expected, the two short tales fail to change the direction of our season, fail to secure our promotion, that will be a shame. We can, however, take heart from such victories, where we’ve played good cricket and enjoyed good results. Bring on Hornsey this Saturday. And then bring on 2013. Paul Lassman
Southgate v Harrow Town
Southgate 237-8 dec (50 overs)
D Woffinden 46
A Quiyum 44
M Hughes 41
J Dangerfield 33
R Mahbubani 22
Harrow Town 182-8 (50 overs)
D Woffinden 4-47
A Quiyum 3-52
The game was played on a sunny day and a strong Trees side rocked up to a flat batting track with the prospect of a ‘Steve McQueen jumping fences on a motorbike’ style great escape on the cards.
With the team suitably bolstered by good availability, all were upbeat at the thought of a last-ditch attempt at salvation.
The going was tougher than expected but the captain’s faith in his top order was kept intact as Jez and Mark toiled away for a very well worked opening partnership of 70. After some standard LBW controversy and a few wickets falling, it was down to Woffers to be the backbone of the innings as things progressed. At 100-2 off 30-ish overs, it was definitely time to push on and after a short flurry from the number four, he silently slipped into the background as pinch hitter Abdul jogged out to the crease. After playing himself in with a few skied (but fairly conservative compared with what was to come) 4s through midwicket with a shot we all know and love, it was down to the serious business of putting us in a strong position. This was achieved through a combination of hitting – three sixes in a row for Abdul – and excellent support play from Woffers and then keeper-batsman Ram Mahbubani.
The next task, following Sue’s vegetarian specials and 1st XI leftovers from tea, was bowling the opposition out.
The ball was swinging around quite nicely for openers Abdul and Berman and some smart bowling from Josh frustrated the opposition captain into a rash shot, gladly caught by Woffers at cover. After a couple of slip catches were snaffled by Dangerfield and a caught behind by Ram, we’d made an inroad into the middle order and were quietly confident of all ten points.
But, needless to say, the dreaded catch-dropping plague had not been purged from our midst and as three chance went down (one frustratingly by yours truly off his own bowling), a recovery was in full swing from Harrow Town.
Perseverance paid off and Woffers’ steady away swing proved too much for some hit-out or get-out batsmen, clearly not concerned about the league standings. However, as the sun went down and the forward defensive came out to play in the last four overs, a victory seemed just an unattainable inch (steady…) away. A late glimmer of hope emerged after Jouning took a good slip catch off Abdul’s bowling, but on the day it was not to be.
The first winning draw of the season against fellow strugglers Harrow Town was too little too late for the Southgate 3s as we go into the final game, 15 points adrift at the foot of the Middlesex League, impending relegation knocking at our door. Mike Carter
Brentham v Southgate
Brentham won by 6 wickets.
Southgate 197-9 dec (47 overs)
Rashed Zaman 58
Anton Devkamalth 34
Brentham 200-4 (40 overs)
Julius Thomson 3-31