Some disappointing results last weekend with only one side (3rd XI) picking up maximum points. The 1’s failed to defend 230 on a flat one at home , while the 2’s had their backs against the wall after the opposition managed to rack up 290 batting first and were rolled over cheaply. The 4’s picked up a draw alongside the development league on Sunday.
1st XI vs Shepard’s Bush (Home)
229-8 ( Edrich 74, Mendis 67 )
After last week’s disappointing batting display at Uxbridge the 1st team were looking to put up a better performance with the bat at home against Shepard’s Bush. Having won the toss at Uxbridge the skipper was all set to bat only for a downpour to occur at 12.45pm which lasted 30 mins and so somewhat clouded his judgement but this week there was no sign of rain only blue sky with the sun beaming down on what was a hot , sultry afternoon. The wicket looked a very good batting surface so having negotiated the toss there was no hesitation in having a bat first.
The talk before the game and during the week was for the top order to take the responsibility and bat long to try set the platform for the team to put up a competitive total , somewhere in the region of 240/250. Edrich and Durgacaharan opened up and the Bush seamers bowled decent lines with the openers being very watchful. With the score on 16 Durgacharan failed to keep one out which nipped back sharply and bowled him , not the start we were hoping for and strangely enough the only ball to misbehave throughout the day.
In at number three was Mendis our overseas import who strode to the crease with a purpose after having a really good week of netting. In truth the combination of indifferent weather/pitches and the somewhat on/off start to the season has not allowed Kusal to really get going but with the good weather set in for the last fortnight now was the time to start expressing himself.
So what transpired for the next 20 overs was a superb partnership of 118 between Edrich and Mendis whereby the ever watchful Edrich was rotating the strike and dispatching the loose deliveries to the boundary. At the other end Mendis was showing what a talent he is for only 19 and was dominating the Shepard’s Bush bowlers with a vast array of shots all over the ground . A couple of straight sixes into the sight screens were the highlight of his innings and after taking 12 of the first four deliveries of the spinner Mendis fell trying to clear the mid on once again only for him to not quite time it for a classy 67 . A great partnership between the two and more importantly Kusal’s first league fifty, with the score on 137-2 the team were in a great position to capitalise on the last 20 overs.
Mir came in at 4 and set about working the spinners alongside Edrich who was looking very comfortable at the crease, the talk was for Edrich to see it through while the skipper looked to up the rate. With the oppo toiling in the heat both set about putting more pressure on them by taking quick singles and dispatching the loose stuff. However Mir fell to a leg before appeal in the 35th over off the spinner with the score being 157-3, with 15 overs to go we were in a decent position to add 90/100 more runs and finish off at our projected score of 240/250.
Unfortunately this didn’t quite turn out the way we had hoped as Edrich soon fell a few overs later bowled for a very well constructed 74 of the spinner who was now getting into a bit of a groove. After that we didn’t really recover with guys coming in and getting out and with the next best partnership being 24 after the 118 stand it summed up our eventual score of 229 of 52 overs. Instead of getting 240/250 of our 50 overs and carrying some momentum through with us we ambled along to 229 of an extra 2 overs.
The 229 total at the end was very disappointing knowing that 3/4 of the bowling attack were missing and so we were going to have to bowl really well especially our spinners on what was now a very good batting track.
The talk before we went out was to build the pressure and really concentrate to try not let them get off to a flyer. It seems the Bush batters had other ideas and had realised that going after the new ball was the key and took their chances from the first over . With Sivarajah opening up at the other end due to the lack of seamers available he struggled to find a rhythm and boundaries started to flow . After 2 overs the skipper took himself off knowing that pace off the ball was going to be the order of the day and also to allow Sivarajah to come from his favoured end . Mendis bowled his off spin from the other end while Siva now came downhill but both failed to close out their overs and it was always a boundary or two involved. Mendis did manage to snare out the opposition skipper with a catch by Johnson at mid off (who looked to take out the umpire with his return throw, has previous ) with the score on 33. With the number three coming in we thought this was the chance to slow things down and put the pressure back onto the oppo . The very first ball Mendis fired one straight into the batsmen pads with his quicker ball, hitting him full on and an all mighty appeal went up knowing that it had hit him right in front, unfortunately the umpire was the only one who wasn’t convinced and turned it down much to the dismay of everyone.
After that the number three with the very assured and confident opener looked to take the attack to our spinners , Mendis had been whipped out of the attack and Johnson had been brought uphill. Both Johnson and Siva failed to find a groove and with the number three chancing his arm every ball, he managed to accumulate a succession of boundaries with a very dominant bottom hand.
We didn’t really recover after that and the game was heading in an early finish , however after drinks we did look to tighten things up and reduced the scoring which resulted in Siva picking up two wickets, the dangerous number three and the four. The opening batsmen (overseas) played a classy chanceless knock of 95 alongside their number 5 (41*) which ultimately guided them home by the 40th over.
229 was never enough on what was a very flat Southgate pitch ( not quite a road but a very good batting surface where not much was happening for either spinners or seamers ) and even though the top order batted well ( Edrich and Mendis in particular) we let ourselves down in ironically our strongest suit this year the bowling department. Not having 3 frontline bowlers didn’t help and we really needed a bigger score to defend but all is not lost as we are only 20 points from the top in a very compressed table so have to start churning out results from now on.
Having played well in certain areas of the game throughout the season the 1st team haven’t put in a complete performance , something which we shall look to do at Eastcote this weekend.
2’s report to follow………
3rd XI vs Old Actonians ( Home)
217-7 ( Dangerfield snr 83*)
120 all out
Saturday marked a crucial match for the 3rd XI against an Old Actonians team who were likely to be contenders for promotion, alongside ourselves. Clear skies and what looked to be a belter of a track awaited us, as Mike lost the toss and we were put in to bat.
With a silly mid off in place the opening bowler served up a juicy long hop which the skipper duly put away to the mid wicket boundary. The opening duo of Carter and Gordon batted patiently and rotated the strike regularly taking the score to 33 before Mike was well caught at point looking to up the rate. Gordon departed soon after and as Sharma continued to poke and prod, Sarfaraz timed the ball beautifully from the off, dispatching anything loose to the offside boundary with ease. After a long 5 overs of digging in, Sharma finally got off the mark, hit a boundary and then was brilliantly caught by the bowler. Geale’s stay at the crease was short lived as he fell to a good full length delivery, and Dangerfield wobbled out to the crease. Sarfaraz (23) fell soon after to another great caught and bowled, and Temple was bowled by an inswinging yorker. At 111-6 it looked like we were going to limp along towards 150, but Jeremy and Ankit had other ideas. After a couple of dropped catches, they looked to hit anything short to the boundaries, and rotated the strike well by keeping out the good deliveries. While our top 6 largely failed to take advantage of the great batting conditions, a partnership between the two amassed 91 runs in 16 overs, which put us in a great position when Ankit finally holed out for 28. Niroosh gave the strike to Jeremy for the final few overs who struck some huge blows to get us to 217-7 off 46 overs, with Dangerfield unbeaten on 83.
After a sufficiently decent tea, we walked out to field knowing that early and regular strikes would be the key to winning. Niroosh took the new ball bowled a nagging line and length to keep the batsmen wary around their off stump. A short wide one was thumped by the opening batsman, straight into the boot of Justin at short extra cover. Despite the pain, Justin had the presence of mind to catch it on the rebound and the batsman had to drag himself off the pitch after a combination of fortune and good pressure in the field. Niroosh had the other opener in his next over, as he looked to smash a full ball into the tennis courts, but only found Jack Stapleton at mid off who took an important catch in the context. While their number 3 looked for a big dig in, number 4 played some great drives down the ground before he was undone by the experienced Marett, who kept the ball full and bowled him through the gate. At about 30 for 3, we knew we could win the game. Marett trapped number 5 in front, and Justin plucked a brilliant catch over his head at short extra cover off a classic Mike Carter full toss, bringing a colt out the middle at 7. After some questionable defensive shots, he struck clean blows straight down the ground. Number 3 was finally dismissed by Niroosh in his second spell, as he finally looked to play an attacking shot and was well caught by Ankit at mid off. Numbers 7 and 8 launched something of a counter attack, until the captain threw the ball to Dangerfield. In his first over he took the wicket of number 8, caught and bowled. Niroosh persisted with a fuller length to the colt and got his reward with a good yorker to knock his middle stump back. Dangerfield took the final 2 wickets, LBW and caught simply by Ankit. A very good win for us, which we wouldn’t have thought possible at the start given how well the wicket played, and our depleted bowling attack. The bowlers were consistent in their lines and rarely gave width, and kept good pace up despite the heat. In our innings we were gifted 47 (!!) extras, however we gave up only 6, a fair showing of the consistency of our bowling and fielding, and the great work behind the stumps from Temple. However perhaps if one of our top 6 had managed to convert a start into a big score, it could have been a more comfortable win. I hope we can keep up the effort in coming weeks, and start working our way up to the top of the league.
Southgate 4th XI v Bessborough IV (away)
Bessborough 260-5 dec (47 overs)
(Shaffick Babwah 3-38)
Southgate 171-7 (45 overs)
(Ricky Gunn 45, Graham Clark 32)
Match Drawn: Southgate 1 point
The opposition somewhat surprising opted to bat first, maybe thinking that the four who were yet to arrive for Southgate were county prospects. After half an hour’s play we were pretty much up to full strength but not before Bessborough had enjoyed a whirlwind start, thanks largely to a totally flagrant abuse of an LBW call which saw S. Heaney on about 15 progress rapidly to 77. The unsatisfactory nature of playing these sorts of teams in this competition had once again ignited fuses. Bessborough, as in the 3rd XI fixture last year, seemed incapable of running beside the wicket rather than down the middle. The usual polite requests were made, followed by pointing it out to the “umpires”. Finally, without the parental guidance of Mike Carter to cool things, a public statement was made by the visiting captain to remind them of how unsporting that action was and that in a more perfect world they would be penalised five runs a time for any further infringements. That seemed, in the main, to do the trick.
After the initial barrage the innings moved into a second phase where we stemmed the run rate and picked up a few wickets, largely due to slow left-arm Shaffick Babwah’s 3-38 in 9. Newcomer Dave Wakefield (but old-comer if you know Eastcote) bowled like a Trojan to take the other two wickets in his 15 overs but he and Julius Thomson suffered in a final onslaught from Wasi Ali (self-confessed 2s player becoming available late) who hit 66 batting at 7 in no time at all. 260-5 bore all the indications of being somewhat out of our reach.
Their bowling was generally tight and accurate although Mustapha’s careless shot would have disappointed him as much as it did me. Peter McLoughlin (14) and Ricky took the score to 70 before the latter was joined by Graham Clark and the two of them succeeded in absorbing overs as much as scoring runs. Although both fell (Ricky for 45 and Graham for 32) Shaffick batted 47 balls for a valuable 22 and Tom Clark and Julius saw the innings out with a little style. “I think we may have batted a bit too long” quote from a square-leg fielder to the umpire. Perhaps the others were more intent on filling their boots rather than winning points.
Sun 29th June
Development Squad vs Stanmore (away)
Match drawn, Southgate 4 points
The Under 21s turned up on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon to Stanmore confident of a positive performance. With our pre match kickabout complete, Tom lost the toss and we were inserted on a heavily worn pitch.
The start was good with some wonderful shots off the bats of both Edrich and Hughes, before Mark was caught off a leading edge. Kusal ‘Handsome Boy’ Mendis came in at 3 and opened his account with boundaries around the ground, looking to dominate the bowling. The partnership between Edrich and Mendis lasted over 10 overs before Kusal was caught at extra cover looking to find another boundary. Saeed was looking good before being bowled by the left arm spinner, who soon also claimed the wicket of Setia with his quicker delivery. Meanwhile Tom had reached his half century, continuing his good form on a dusty, turning wicket. Sharma joined Edrich and looked to attack the spinners, hitting a few boundaries over the top and using the edges of his bat to good effect. Such was the ungainliness of his shots that frustration mounted for the Stanmore players, and misfields were taken advantage of with some positive running. Edrich was finally bowled by the leg spinner for a solid 73, bringing Dunnett to the crease. He and Sharma rotated the strike well, before an unfortunate miscommunication brought about Shiv’s run out for 33. Henry didn’t trouble the scorers, and Ashley completed his 3rd duck on the trot. Will Dias scored just 3 but importantly gave Phil as much of the strike as possible, which he used effectively through his late cameo of 42, including 2 wonderful straight sixes over the head of a bemused leg spinner. This took us through to 218-9 declared off 44 overs, bringing about complaints from the Stanmore captain (as most things that day had).
Tea was lovely; a good selection of fruit, sandwiches and pasta accompanied with some ice cream. During tea at least 5 new members joined the 850 following the ‘Kusal Mendis Fan Page’ on Facebook, and with this we took to the field.
Phil took the new ball and showed good pace early on, giving the batsmen very few run scoring options. From the other end, newcomer Henry Thompson bowled a wonderful line and length, frustrating the batsmen throughout his spell. His reward came with the score on about 25-0 after 9 overs when a nothing shot presented a simple chance to mid-on. In his very next over, number 3 chipped to the same place but the chance was squandered by a sprawling Sharma. However Southgate kept plugging away, giving away nothing to the batsmen who looked to be setting up for a big dig in. Ashley bowled to a field not often seen in limited overs cricket; 3 slips, a gully, 2 short covers and a short leg. Chances flew left and right of the fielders, but eventually wickets began to fall as number 3 was brilliantly run out by Mendis, throwing down the stumps. Some good fielding accounted for the next couple of wickets and W. Dias bowled a peach to dismiss the Stanmore skipper. At 70 odd for 4 after 25 overs we were right in with a chance of winning the game, however their number 5 timed the ball beautifully from the start of his innings, dispatching anything marginally off line to the boundary. Wickets continued to fall from the other end as some clever field placement and intelligent bowling restricted the hitting areas of the batsmen. Number 6 was dismissed with a great catch from Saeed at mid off, and Edrich running back from slip accounted for number 7. Ashley claimed the wicket of the impressive number 5, caught well by Thompson at fine leg and with 5 overs to go and 3 wickets left we were hunting the 10 points. Setia trapped number 8 in front, and bowled a tight spell which the batsmen barely survived through.
We failed to take the final 2 wickets despite great efforts in the field, but taking 4 points from a strong Stanmore team away from home was a good result. Hopefully we can convert this good form and team spirit into the full 10 points against Hampstead at home this weekend.