Under-19 club cricketers prepare for T20 fever!

Under-19 club cricketers prepare for T20 fever!

ECB is set to launch a brand new Twenty20 competition for teenagers later this month as part of its wider efforts to boost participation and keep more youngsters in the recreational game.

The NatWest U19 Club T20 competition will be piloted in Durham, Kent, Surrey and Yorkshire this year, and aims to improve retention rates for teenage players in club cricket and increase migration from junior to adult cricket.

The pilot project will offer 15 to 19 year olds in the four counties the chance to play the game with their friends, access volunteering opportunities and take ownership of their local club – including selecting their own team-name.

The action gets underway on Bank Holiday Monday (May 26) when Spencer Spitfires host Sunbury Chieftains in the opening fixture of the competition in Surrey. A total of 61 teams will compete in regional leagues across the four pilot counties throughout May to August, culminating in county finals and a national final at Leicestershire CCC’s Grace Road on Monday, September 1.

Much like the NatWest T20 Blast at county level, competing clubs are being encouraged to make an event of each fixture and create a vibrant match-day environment by wearing coloured kits and playing music. In addition to the match result, points will also be awarded by the opposition to the home side for their “match day experience”, and at the end of the season, the team with the most match day experience points will win tickets to the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day (Saturday, August 23 at Edgbaston).

Former England captain and ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, Mike Gatting, said: “The 15 to 19 age group is a key area for the overall development of the grassroots game and our in-depth market research shows that teenagers want more playing opportunities and that clubs need to make themselves more “teen friendly”.

“This pilot project is designed to do just that, giving this age-group the cricketing experience that they want – fast lively matches, played with and against their friends, a great social atmosphere, and a chance to make their club look and feel different for one night a week.”

As part of the project, the ECB has also devised a “Stay in the Game” tool-kit which clubs can access to help reduce drop-off among players aged 15 to 19. The interactive web resource provides clubs with a range of tools to support retention through three key areas: by providing a range of opportunities to play, by recruiting young players and their parents as volunteers, and by creating the right club environment for young people.

For further information and an outline of the fixtures for the NatWest U19 Club T20 please visit: http://ecbu19clubt20.play-cricket.com/ and the Stay in the Game toolkit can be accessed at: http://www.ecb.co.uk/development/club-cricket/club-support/stay-in-the-game

The Bugle is back


The sun shone on week 2 of the league campaign, but it proved a frustrating weekend with two draws, a defeat and some widespread ‘digging in’ from all sides. Read on for the latest club news and match reports from all three matches, (unfortunately we failed to raise a 4th XI, please make yourself available if you haven’t already for this weekend) as well as some of the colts matches.


If anyone would like to contribute to the Bugle moving forward please get in touch!



Latest News


New Club Sponsor Boards at the Walker!
Visitors to the Walker Ground will notice three new perimeter advertisement boards and we owe a huge thanks to the following for their generous support:
www.kapitalprojects.com/ (Karl Jankowicz),
www.uropa-design.com (Sam Faruqi)
www.stephenjamesproperties.co.uk/ (Jeremy Dangerfield)

It would be fantastic if we could build on this with some more sponsor boards at the ground, there is a considerable footfall at the ground through the season making it a great opportunity to advertise and it adds something to the ground as well. If you would like to talk sponsorship please get in touch!



2013 Annual Review
The masterpiece that is Ricky’s annual review is now available online via our website, go to http://www.southgatecc.com/stats/ . Eventually we hope to upload all of the back issues of the report.



Fantasy League
24 teams entered the SCC Fantasy League and after week 1 the leader is Carter’s Crusaders (Mike Carter).


Match Reports Saturday 17th May


Southgate CC – 1st XI Vs Enfield CC 1st XI

Toss: Southgate CC – 1st XI won the toss and elected to bowl
Enfield 235 all out (51.2 overs)
Tony Sayers 124
Southgate 151/7 (48 overs)

Enfield 4 points, Southgate 1 point

Southgate’s second match of the league campaign was a home fixture against local rivals Enfield which on a warm and sticky Saturday contrasted sharply with week one’s rain ruined draw.
Faisal Mir stuck the visitors in for the 2nd time in three weeks and the Southgate new ball pair again delivered a faultless opening burst. Suresh Kalagara nipped out the dangerous Neil Tilly with one that straightened and then removed number three Lazurus who played around a straight one and number four Bacchus-Brown expertly snapped up at ankle height by 2nd slip Michael Stevens. The score at this stage approximately 20-3 with SCC in the ascendancy.

Amid this early flurry of wickets, Cap’n Jack (Plumb) dully dropped anchor playing himself in with typical application and composure; he was joined at the crease by Tony Sayers, formerly of Cockfosters Cricket Club and known to be something of a dasher.

At this key moment in the day the Southgate skipper was unfortunately the victim of a tweaked hamstring and was forced to make an immediate bowling change with left-arm seamer Sam Wadham completing the over.

A fourth wicket at this time could have tipped the match irretrievably in Southgate’s favour but it failed to materialise and so followed a remarkable passage of play and match defining partnership for the 4th wicket. Sayers with long levers and pure timing took the attack to the Southgate attack with rapid results while Plumb booked himself in for bed and breakfast, a vintage ‘dig in’.

Initially it was Wadham who felt the full force of the Sayers blade with a flat six into the screen at the Adelaide end, then Rob Johnson found his first ball – a rank long hop – dispatched with relish, high and handsome in the direction of the tennis courts. Thankfully Ashley Sivarajah settled into a tidy length down the slope and kept Plumb in check, Johnson however continued to bowl at least one bad ball in six, typically the first delivery of the over and the tall Enfield number 5 continued to pull him for some monstrous sixes.

As Sayers’ explosive counter attacking moved into fifth gear, Jack the – polar opposite – seemed to have extended his booking at the bed and breakfast to rival the Major from Fawlty Towers. He seems to enjoy batting against Southgate and as usual wasn’t going to give his wicket away.

Fast forward an hour and Sayers reached his century with a single off Kusal Mendis who had impressed with some darty off-breaks up the slope. It was a brilliant innings with some exceptional ball striking and positive intent throughout. What I suspect ranks this knock higher than many is the perilous position Enfield were in when he walked to the wicket. In a flash he’d moved ominously on to 124 with two gigantic sixes landing in the bushes towards the Church only for Kusal to bowl him when he looked set for 150+.

This much needed wicket changed the dynamic with Plumb’s first and second boundaries of the day met with roars of approval from the Enfield bench. With Faisal Mir searching for wickets Johnson was generously offered a second spell and managed to pick up a couple of wickets while the impressive Sivarajah picked up three of his own. One of which was Plumb whose defiance was finally ended LBW for 38 from approximately 125 balls, an absolute barnacle of an innings but one that ensured Enfield definitely batted the overs and through the pyrotechnics at the other end  got a very good score on the board.

I personally think Enfield batted two overs too long minimum, taking their innings into the 52nd over.  I’ve noted in recent years the aggressive declarations of several sides who’ve taken the initiative and the extra overs allowed by an early declaration and I suspect they might do things differently next time.

Enfield’s bowlers and fielders warmed up vigorously on the outfield as tea came to a close and the opening spell was a very good one. Leon Smith impressed up the hill combining late movement with brisk pace and accuracy whilst the pacy Jamaican Lasbourne Edwards charged in to good effect.

With his parents stationed expectantly in deckchairs under Jim Conroy’s tree, Left-hander Michael Bell padded up to a nip-backer from Smith to fall for a duck allowing fellow newcomer Kusal Mendis to walk out for his first knock in Southgate colours. Unfortunately this didn’t last as long as we’d hoped with a huge leading edge to mid-wicket and a well-judged catch met with massive celebration. Nonetheless may I say how good it is to have Kusal on board this summer, he’s made an excellent impression on and off the field and I’m sure will learn a huge amount from his time with Southgate.

Number four Michael Stevens was dropped early on at square leg but he quickly refocused and with Alvin moved the score along a four runs per over for the first ten. Unfortunately Durgas (18) who had played beautifully straight played across a ball from Edwards, spooning a catch to Neil Tilley at mid-on, this was followed quickly by Saeed (3) bowled by an Edwards slower ball, advantage Enfield.

Stevens and Johnson combined reasonably well to see off the rest of the new ball spell as a vociferous appeal for caught behind led to some constructive debate about the decision and some minor unpleasantness.  It was however the introduction of Enfield’s new off-spinner, Aditya Rai who brought about the wicket of Johnson (10) adjudged LBW. While your correspondent cooled off in the dressing room for 25 minutes a similar partnership apparently transpired with Dunnett (10) caught behind to the veteran seamer Patrick Blair. As I missed the entire knock I can report very little.

At 80 something for six things looked a bit bleak and the Southgate WASP (Winning and Score Predictor for those with Skysports) was into low single figures as a heavy defeat loomed. Enter the skipper battling through with tweaked hamstring to accompany the impressive Stevens who had played wonderfully well.

This experienced pair combined sensibly to frustrate the Enfield attack for the best part of an hour with Stevens falling just before the close for a well-constructed 69. Mir (31*) remained unbeaten and defiant in the face of mounting frustration and some fairly desperate verbal efforts from the opposition towards the close as a losing draw was secured. More importantly Southgate denied Enfield full points, something we’ve failed to do to sides in the past to our cost and something which will only help us in long term.

In conclusion a memorable fixture in many ways, but also a very frustrating one, I suspect for both parties.

We saw a dashing hundred, some excellent seam and swing bowling and some doughty application from players on both sides. I think the wicket was one of the very best I’ve played on at the gate at this time of year as it offered the right amount of assistance to the bowlers whilst also offering batsman confidence to play their shots. It also spun on occasion and I was very surprised that Nick Jackson didn’t play a much bigger role given his history of taking SCC wickets at the Walker Ground.

It is a personal frustration that the present playing conditions offer no real incentive for positive stroke play to the team batting second who find themselves in the mire chasing a big score as we did. Our battening down of the hatches with 18 to go was really the only option available in the circumstances.

Many players around the league suggest a change to pure 50 over limited over rules would be an improvement but I suspect this would have produced negative bowling and fields, a quicker finish and a simple win for Enfield.

Unless fielding captains are prepared to gamble a bit – which they’re generally not – by declaring earlier or bowling more aggressively in the field we face this situation where a side shuts up shop with an hour left which isn’t good for cricket in my opinion. The old school may suggest you need to be prepared to lose a game to win one and there is merit to this.

There’s been a lot of talk about the merits of bonus points and perhaps they may provide the answer, in more ways than one.

Had the carrot of a further bonus point for reaching say 75% of the 1st Innings score been dangled we’d have had the option of targeting a score in excess of 176.
This would have asked us to play some more shots and potentially allowed Enfield the opportunity of picking up those last three wickets, would this have created more enjoyable cricket for both teams?

The same equation could have been engineered had Enfield batted slightly less time and overs and attacked slightly more in the field, a marginally more cavalier style may have allowed the game to reach a decisive conclusion; I suspect in Enfield’s favour.

The final 20 minutes of the 2nd XI match may to some extent unfortunately support this theory and anyone whose read our match reports and scores in recent summers would see that it’s very hard to bowl a side out at the Walker who shuts up shop, but far from impossible when the stakes are raised.

Ultimately a competitive fixture, a hot sticky day throughout and a decent standard of cricket on show, some good bowling some good batting and some points dropped or points denied, it perhaps depends your point of view. There is definitely some work to be done for this young SCC XI but plenty of encouraging signs to build on as well.
I predict another very tightly contested division in 2014.

Rob Johnson

Full scorecard available at:
http://middlesexccl.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11886857



Enfield 2nd XI
222-3 in 51 overs

Southgate 2nd XI
216 all out in 48.1 overs

Enfield 10 points

For the second week running the 2nd XI arrived at their league fixture feeling confident about the names on the team sheet, but this time knowing that the weather wouldn’t get in the way. After a delayed warm up (we only had 5 players at the ground when Enfield started theirs – must do better chaps) Skipper Faruqi won the toss and inserted the home side. I think Enfield were surprised at this, but as the pitch was typically very flat it should’ve been difficult to bowl a side out, so chasing seemed the best way to achieve 10 points.

O Ali (13-1-70-1) and J Berman (9-2-22-0) did well to restrict scoring at the top of the innings, but only managed to take one wicket – O Ali enticing an edge that was caught by M Joseph at first slip. S Faruqi (13-0-64-1) struggled to find the rhythm that made him leading 2nd XI wicket taker last season ***Ricky Gunn is currently conducting a stewards enquiry after this point was protested by S Kalagara*** and Enfield scored a little more freely during his spell. R Desai (16-1-59-1) again bowled well and after trapping C Barrell LBW – no shot was offered to a ball that turned sharply – he frustrated the remaining Enfield batsmen as they attempted to increase their run rate towards the end of the innings. An expensive 51st over prompted Enfield’s declaration, which set Southgate a very gettable 223 in 49 overs.

Tea was decent and a realistic example of what we should be providing. It was comparable to what we receive, but 50% more in quantity of every element. Where we have to negotiate who is going to have the last sandwich or slice of cake, here there was plenty for a second helping and a few scraps to pick at after the game. Not that any of us had much of a stomach for post-match snacks after what happened next.

Southgate’s innings got off to a great start. K Jankowicz (56) and J Jouning (31) batted sensibly and punished Enfield’s bowlers when they strayed to put on 68 for the first wicket. Once Jamie fell, Joseph (65) and Jankowicz put together another half century stand to bring the required total to within 90. At this point the home side looked flat and beaten in the field. When K Jankowicz miscued and M Stratten came and went for 6, S Ellis came to the crease. His quick-fire 31 contributed to another 50+ run partnership with Joseph and Southgate were within 20 of the target with 7 wickets in hand. Again, everybody in the ground thought the inevitable conclusion was a successful run chase. Unfortunately, a succession of dismal shots saw Southgate unfathomably fall to 216 all out. I don’t wish to labour the point, but it was the most freakishly woeful performance I’ve ever had displeasure of watching (and participating in). We were the masters of our own downfall with 3 players holing out to long off/on who were the only fielders on the boundary. Understandably, the Enfield players were jubilant, while we were gobsmacked.

As appalling as we were in the last 5 overs of the game, there are actually a lot of positives we can take. While the bowling perhaps lacked a cutting edge, our fielding was very good, and for more than 40 overs we were in complete control. It’s also good that this happened early in the season as it will steal us. I for one pity the team that come up against us next as we will be desperate to put this right.
Max Joseph



Southgate 3s versus Enfield 3s

SCC 3rds 191/8 (48)
William Dean 95

Enfield 3rds 94/4 (46)

We knew ahead of the game that Enfield would be one of our biggest rivals this year in the fight for promotion back to the Middlesex League.

However, rather than being able to relate a battling Dunkirk-esque epic (see last season’s encounter) of two titans of the 1987 League fighting it out to the last ball for supremacy, all I can tell is a tale of a frustrating day when one starts to question the format of the game we try to enjoy each week.

As you might have already guessed, this match ended in a draw.  A winning draw for us, but not one that felt like a win.

We lost the toss and were duly put in to bat on a good flat-ish wicket.  Indeed, had one been playing any other format of the game (T20, 40 or 50 over a side or even a four or five day match) any side would have jumped at the chance to bat.  However, given the difficulty in beating the swing or block teams of the lower leagues, a ‘bowl first’ decision is your only option if ten points are desired.

Anyhow, enough grumbling.

Amey and Doug strode out to the wicket and got off to a steady start, keeping the scoreboard ticking along nicely against some tight bowling.  However, and as happened in past years, the two best bowlers in the league (yep, respect rightly deserved here) started to make inroads into our top order.  A few winter cobwebs still clung to our bats that duly failed to connect, misconnect or, at least, not come to our aid in times of need and we slumped to 42-5.

Despite this set-back, we were somehow not too perturbed.  Indeed, this can only have been because the sight of Gunn and newly re-emerged Bill Dean gave us a sense of ease and calm, unknown to this captain of recent years.

And we were not disappointed.  A fine 95 from the former 1s opener and an ably put together 39 from our keeper batsman saw the partnership of 135 narrowly miss the club’s sixth wicket partnership record in League cricket (by two runs) and take us confidently up to around the 170 mark.  A quick late flourish saw us reach 191 declared from 46 overs.

Feeling much better about our chances and with a strong eight-man bowling attack (potentially) to come, we felt we would be able to restrict anything Enfield could throw at us.

However, it turned out Enfield didn’t really have anything to throw at us at all.  Having been reduced to 40-4 from 15 overs by openers Marett and Ravi Martin, the opposition decided that they had nothing left in the tank, nor the bank and an afternoon of blocking was what was needed to ensure we didn’t win.

They were successful.

That potential eight-man bowling attack turned into an actual eight-man attack as skipper Carter threw the ball to everyone to try and lure the batsmen into a mistake.  While we were successful on the odd occasion, the catches were put down or the batsman didn’t walk (let’s not say any more about that) and we were not able to finish them off.  Thus, they finished more than a hundred runs from our target with just four wickets down.

To leave on a positive though, we were able to get a good look at two developing Colts coming up through the system: Callum Silva and Ravi Martin.  Both impressed with their medium pace swing bowling, posing a real threat to the opposition and giving this captain a much welcomed selection headache in the weeks to come.

Mike Carter

Full scorecard available at:
http://southgate.play-cricket.com/view_results_details?id=11972833


Southgate Under 11s vs Winchmore Hill ‘B’ Under 11s, home, Thursday 15th May

Southgate 110-5 (20 overs)

Winchmore Hill 67-7 (20 overs)

Southgate (10 points) won by 43 runs

Southgate were put in by Winchmore Hill who clearly wanted to assess the opposition they were up against. They were probably as surprised as I was at the result, as big hitting from Harry Showell (24) supported by Alex Stanton (15 retired), Charlie Bates (10 retired) and William McLoughlin (8 retired) plus the habitual glut of extras saw Southgate rattle up 110 in their 20 overs.

Winchmore Hill were never in the hunt and Gautam Datta bowled out three batsmen at a cost of only 7 runs in his 4 overs.  As a result we were allowed the luxury of experimenting with the lesser known bowlers, of whom Andy Rosen and Freddie Austin impressed in particular. Everybody played a part which was especially pleasing, and the fielding was superb, showing considerable alertness and enthusiasm.

Next week’s match will be against Winchmore Hill ‘A’ who will be a tougher proposition but there is every reason to believe that if we played the way we did last night we should beat them too.


Hotwhites Trinibis Under 13s 113-5 (20 overs)

Southgate Under 13s 45 all out (10 ‘men’) (14 overs)

Southgate lost by 68 runs.
Having beaten Edmonton comfortably in the previous round Southgate Under 13s came across more formidable opposition in Holtwhites Trinibis. On a hot sunny Sunday morning Holtwhites batted first and the first ball was it hit for four and bounced irretrievably over a high garden fence. A second new ball was produced (!) which sufficed for the remainder of the match. Holtwhites hoisted a sizeable score thanks to powerful hitting from Rebecca Evans who retired on 34. Ollie Gakhar was the only bowler to provide an appreciable threat taking 3-15. However, a short boundary on one side provided enough opportunity for free scoring as long as we didn’t lose wickets.  A good catch to  account for Devin Dhanki (16) who was hitting the ball powerfully knocked the stuffing out of us and although Tom Parsons (7) tried to tick the score along it was all rather a lost cause, with a spinner Alex taking three wickets for 0 runs in two overs.
Now to concentrate on the league …
Ricky Gunn


Nets

Thursday this week, 18:30 start



That’s all for now, thanks to all contributors and good luckk on Saturday!

ECB Under 13 Club Cricket KO Championship

Hotwhites Trinibis Under 13s 113-5 (20 overs)

Southgate Under 13s 45 all out (10 ‘men’) (14 overs)

Southgate lost by 68 runs.

Having beaten Edmonton comfortably in the previous round Southgate Under 13s came across more formidable opposition in Holtwhites Trinibis. On a hot sunny Sunday morning Holtwhites batted first and the first ball was it hit for four and bounced irretrievably over a high garden fence. A second new ball was produced (!) which sufficed for the remainder of the match. Holtwhites hoisted a sizeable score thanks to powerful hitting from Rebecca Evans who retired on 34. Ollie Gakhar was the only bowler to provide an appreciable threat taking 3-15. However, a short boundary on one side provided enough opportunity for free scoring as long as we didn’t lose wickets.  A good catch to  account for Devin Dhanki (16) who was hitting the ball powerfully knocked the stuffing out of us and although Tom Parsons (7) tried to tick the score along it was all rather a lost cause, with a spinner Alex taking three wickets for 0 runs in two overs.

Now to concentrate on the league …

Ricky Gunn

U11s Match Report 15/5/14

Southgate Under 11s vs Winchmore Hill ‘B’ Under 11s, home, Thursday 15th May

Southgate 110-5 (20 overs)

Winchmore Hill 67-7 (20 overs)

Southgate (10 points) won by 43 runs

Southgate were put in by Winchmore Hill who clearly wanted to assess the opposition they were up against. They were probably as surprised as I was at the result, as big hitting from Harry Showell (24) supported by Alex Stanton (15 retired), Charlie Bates (10 retired) and William McLoughlin (8 retired) plus the habitual glut of extras saw Southgate rattle up 110 in their 20 overs.

Winchmore Hill were never in the hunt and Gautam Datta bowled out three batsmen at a cost of only 7 runs in his 4 overs.  As a result we were allowed the luxury of experimenting with the lesser known bowlers, of whom Andy Rosen and Freddie Austin impressed in particular. Everybody played a part which was especially pleasing, and the fielding was superb, showing considerable alertness and enthusiasm.

Next week’s match will be against Winchmore Hill ‘A’ who will be a tougher proposition but there is every reason to believe that if we played the way we did last night we should beat them too.

Ricky Gunn

Southgate 4th XI v West Harrow III – Match Report

West Harrow 83 all out (20.5 overs)

Southgate 55-0 (15 overs)

West Harrow conceded with 30 overs remaining.

Southgate 10 points

The result above is what is recorded on the 1987 League weekly results schedule and it might be wiser to leave it at that with no further qualification. It might also be worth drawing a veil over such irrelevancies as a non-English speaking nine-man opposition and the interpretation of a wide. Full credit to Akash Patel, their captain, who acted as interpreter over both linguistic and cricket law difficulties and who behaved impeccably throughout.

The game saw the august but reluctant return to the battlefield of Bugle-smith Ron Hewit – no games last year, one game the previous year but still full subs paid – to augment our merry band.

Fearing that we may not provide much competition to an unknown but emerging club, on the horror of winning the toss, the decision was taken to take the field.  The first three overs were jubilantly hoisted in the general direction of long-off and long-on and an uncomfortable session beckoned. However, a skyer in the catchment area of Shaffick Babwah was safely pouched and reality gradually dawned that not many of these guys had actually played much cricket at all, their only apparent experience being the extensive televisual coverage of the IPL. Wickets consequently fell regularly, punctuated by breaks for heavy showers until WH were all out for 83. Heroes with the ball were Ron Hewit, on the mark from the first ball with 3-32, Rohan Silva 2-24 and Tom Clark with two in consecutive balls to close the innings (2-9).  Congratulations to Devin Dhanki and Shanuk Wickramaratna who at 13 played their first adult games and fielded with enthusiasm.

Doug’s insistence that ‘we did it properly’ meant that Gunn and Gordon reprised the well-trodden opening trail of some 30 summers and, despite Ricky’s efforts at catching practice, found themselves at 55-0 when another break for rain forced the combatants from the arena. At this point the lads for whom a monsoon only came once a year, not in 15-minute modules over an extended period of months, were sufficiently wet and demoralised that they announced they wished to concede. “There was no point in continuing, you were going to win anyway.”  “Can you do this? I mean, is it legal? I’ve never seen it happen before.”  Well, Akash was insistent so we rather bemusedly packed up and went back to the pavilion possibly carrying ten points in our bags pending endorsement from the 1987 League powers-that-be. Happily this seems to have occurred. We are top equal with Old Actonians IV.

Ricky Gunn

2nd XI Match Report 3/5/14

Southgate versus Winchmore Hill

The 2s start the season unbeaten

The nature of the game was quickly decided between captains and following a toss win by new skipper Faruqi, the 40 over aside contest began. All balls down the legside were wides and the only things missing from the gorgeous May day were some garishly coloured pyjamas and a pink ball.

Carter (feeling relaxed from a day off captaining duties) and Lassman strode out to the wicket to meet the rare combination of two left arm over opening bowlers. After a solid start, with tight lines bowled and the odd singles taken, Mike clipped one through to the keeper and in strode Jeremy Dangerfield.

Paul broke into double fingers before falling and Sal and Jeremy attempted to move the score on a bit quicker. After both had got starts but found ways of getting themselves out, we were precariously placed around the half century mark, at the half way mark, with half the team out.

Not to worry though, as Ollie better-late-than-never Bellwood showed up to have a bat with newlywed Omair Ali. Average attempts at banter aside, the partnership not only saved the match but put us firmly on the front foot as ninety was added in double quick time before Ali fell and Abdul, Josh and Sam stepped in to have a bash at the end. Josh played some excellent shots which got us to the 185 mark and made sure he stole the end-of-innings glory from Ollie by unceremoniously running him out before he could bring up a deserved fifty.

Abdul and Omair opened the bowling, with the former taking some useful early wickets and the latter working off a year’s worth of cobwebs. First change Will Dias showed promise with the ball as him and the skipper worked to knock over a couple more wickets before one batsman started to get some traction with the lofted cover drive and worked them up to a solid 70-odd from twenty overs.

It looked like it was going to be tight, with catches going down in the field and the run rate on the rise but seam duo Berman and Carter stepped up to bore and frustrate the Hill into submission. The ball stopped finding the boundary and the Winchmore skipper – who scored the majority of their runs – soon felt the pressure, having got little support at the other end and charged Carter, who wobbled one past into the leg stump.

A few more wickets later and twenty six needed from the final over, Omari stepped in to knock over the tail and wrap up the victory.

A good team effort from a side made up of more threes than twos players, with excellent ground fielding a particular highlight. Everyone contributed and one couldn’t ask for a better set-up to the season.

Mike Carter

Winchmore Hill v SCC 1st XI Report

The second and final game of the First XI warm up programme took us to neighbours Winchmore Hill on a beautiful spring afternoon but with an adulating outfield that looked more suited to links golf.

The bowlers ( well this one anyway ) were relishing the day when we would finally see the back of this awful Tiflex balls and welcome back the feel of a nice Duke in our hands. Unfortunately this was not to be that day and Faisal’s winning of the toss was tempered by the home side wanting to use up their stock of Tiflex balls.

The day started well enough with Kalagara and Wadham bowling decent areas and Suresh was first to strike when inducing an edge that was taken smartly by a tumbling Ellis behind the stumps.

That was to be our only success until well after drinks as opener Morgan was joined by skipper Gatting and after a spell of playing and missing they showed that once settled, the track was pretty decent.

These two took advantage of the Southgate seamers still bowling an “indoor length” and they bit cut and pulled the ball well in their partnership of 138 which came in good time.

The introductions of Stevens and Desai started to slow the run rate and by cutting down on the amount of boundary balls on offer they gradually bought us back into the game. Stevens got his just reward when bowling Morgan in the last over of his spell.

Wadham (veteran of two stag trips in the previous week and literally sweating pure alcohol) was reintroduced into the attack at this point and somewhat fortuitously accounted for Gatting quickly when he has him well caught by Durgacharan at long off. That ball was travelling!

This proved to be a bit of a turning point in the innings as Winchmore Hill looked set to post a score in excess of 270 at this point.

Wadham ended up picking up two more wickets in the middle order and Kalagara came back to knock over most of the lower order in a good second spell. No one could however shift the Hill’s #11 and his 14 off of the last over of the innings would prove crucial at the end.

Kalagara finished with 4 for 45, Wadham 3 for 30 and there were wickets a piece for Stevens and Desai during good spells as Winchmore Hill finished on 231 for 9.

We were confident of chasing this score down following last weeks successful run chase and Bell and Edrich were the first to set about this task.

Winchmore Hill (now bowling with a Duke of course) found good swing early on and Edrich was first to fall when well caught at slip with the score on 13.

Stevens joined Bell and they both looked solid and untroubled as they mixed getting themselves in with the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Southgate were finding runs a little harder to come by than Winchmore Hill did and when Bell went searching for runs with a sweep shot he ended up picking out a fielder to succumb for 25.

Durgacharan came and went quickly when falling to a dubious LBW decision following a couple of boundaries.

Mir joined Stevens and they set about a stand of just over 50 that saw Faisal play with his usual flair and Stevens reach his half century in good time by mixing rotating the strike with some good stroke play.

This period of the game saw the momentum swing back in favour of Southgate during this partnership but the quick wickets of Mir for 30 and Stevens for a well made 60 saw two new batsman at the crease and the run rate climb to over 8 an over.

New batsmen Jouning and Saeed had to manage the task of getting used to the fading light along with keeping the run rate within realistic targets.

Saeed was the first one to decide to have a go and at this point he started smashing the ball to all parts of the ground with great success. This coupled with Jouning manoeuvring the ball into gaps for two’s and occasional boundaries yielded a partnership of 60 which came in good time and bought us back into the game.

Saeed’s demise when caught for 41 which came off of 27 balls was a real blow and it left Jouning to Marshall Ellis and the tails towards the victory target.

Jouning was still there with 13 required for victory but only Wadham for company and Desai in the hutch and when Wadham swept the ball into the leg side a lack of communication resulted in Jouning being run out for 30 while attempting a third and the game was all but Winchmore Hill’s.

The last pair tried in vain to find the 11 required off of the last over but Southgate finished 5 runs short.

A good game, bring on the league!

Wadders

An update on Play-Cricket performance

If, like me, you had a problem getting onto play-cricket this weekend, this is the reason and what the ECB IT boffins have to say by way of explanation:

As many of you will be aware we had problems with the performance of the new Play-Cricket website this weekend, for which I am sincerely sorry, as I know it caused many people considerable difficulty at a critical time when trying to upload and view your scorecards.

Starting at around 8.30pm on Saturday, some of you started to experience problems using Play-Cricket and got the infuriating automated message ‘website under heavy load’ when trying to update and view your results. Many of you gave up and tried again on Sunday morning and as a result, the same thing happened again on Sunday.

The reason this happened was due to a truly unprecedented load on the system. Over the weekend, each day we had an average of over 150,000 visitors to the site, peaking at 172,000 visitors on Sunday, and an average of 3.4 million hits a day, peaking at 4.1 million hits on Sunday. Play-Cricket last year received a total of 48 million hits across the whole of the year, so all in all we had nearly half our year’s usual traffic in one long weekend.

Because the new system is on a modern ‘virtualised platform’, we were able to take steps to increase the performance of the system by adding more processor power as the problems started to occur. Unfortunately we hit the maximum amount of processor power we could apply to the system (without taking it down for a considerable time when people most wanted to use it). The good news is that we have been able to quickly add more servers to the setup this week which will massively increase the capacity of the website for this weekend and beyond.

Why couldn’t we have foreseen this? We believed that we had exhaustively performance tested the system prior to launch with triple the maximum amount of visitors the system had ever received in the past. That, coupled with the additional capability to ‘dial-up’ the processing power at peak times, gave us the confidence that the system would cope with the heaviest of loads. However, with this week’s work to add additional servers, we are looking forward to no more recurrence of the ‘website under heavy load’ message.

Please see below for a more detailed explanation of the numbers.

Yours sincerely,
Damian Smith
ECB Head of IT

The numbers

As stated above, the reason this happened was due to a truly unprecedented load on the system. Play-Cricket last year received around 48 million hits across the whole of the year, and around 18-20% fewer per year prior to that. On Friday we received 2.2 million hits and on Saturday night we received 2.8 million hits; on Sunday we received 4.1 million hits and on Monday we also received over 3.5 million hits. On Friday we had 75,000 unique visitors, and on Saturday we had 112,000 unique visitors; on Sunday we had 172,000 unique visitors and on Monday we had 139,000 unique visitors. All in all we had nearly half our year’s usual traffic in one long weekend.

Our initial thoughts on Saturday night were that we were being attacked by what is known as a ‘Denial of Service Attack’ but it appears that the requests to the system were all legitimate access from legitimate computers and devices. Some of the additional access may be due to the new layout of the system and we will investigate if the navigation is unnecessarily complex and simplify where necessary. A lot of the hits appear to be people having an extra look around when they accessed the site, probably because they hadn’t seen it in its new guise. Finally, around 4% of the hits at the peak time on Saturday night appear to be from search engines, especially Google, attempting to index the site as new scorecards and statistics are added. We will be working with Google to manage this access over the coming days and weeks.

We have done our sums and can calculate that we will provide much more capacity than is required, but I still have a small doubt in the back of my mind that we don’t know how many people didn’t manage to get on to the system and hence gave up which meant that they did not figure in our statistics. I am also concerned that we may have removed one performance block only to expose another, although we have done everything in our power to mitigate this eventuality. Suffice it say that we will be watching the system like hawks this weekend and working tirelessly to avoid a repeat of last week’s problems.