A classic edition this week, with tales of promotion and cup final glories, many thanks to all correspondents.
SCC 1st XI Match Report
Harrow CC 176 All Out (45.1 overs) – Mohammad 65
Southgate CC 178-7 (53.2 overs) – Jouning 71, Woffinden 4-44, Sivarajah 4-36
Southgate Win (10pts)
So…this was it. A stop-start, up and down, wet and hot, winning and losing (quite literally winning drawLESS) season came to end at Harrow CC. When you can’t really see the wicket for the square and you are contending with large pile of poo on the corner of the square during the warm, it never fills you with that excited feeling you crave on the last day of the season. However, what it does imply is that there is a good chance of a result, and a result is what the Gate Men (sounds a lot like Gay Men when Faisal shouts this in the field) needed to give themselves a chance of promotion to the big time.
One late arrival to report of…Guess who?? Woffers of course. With respect to Woffers he had managed to get up, make coffee and a continental breakfast for the lovely Tamara, hoover the house, get the kids washed, taken one to football, one to ballet and the other for ice cream, followed by a light 20k jog before picking them up, picking up a Pret lunch for Tamara, dropping all of that off at home and heading to Harrow CC. We’ll let him off.
Good warm up (poo well avoided), good tossing from Faisal once more and we were out in the field. The start of Harrow’s innings delivered mixed fortunes for the Trees. A fine display of hostile opening bowling from Mir removed handy youngster Hussain for 4, before a slightly older at 3 was wrapped on the gloves and then set up a treat with the fuller ball which was taken beautifully at slip by Jouning (cue monkey off back), which brought in…Hussain at 4.
While this sounds like SCC must be massively on top in the first 10, at the other end Mohammad was essentially ‘teeing off’, with a combination of lovely cover drives on the up and some more agricultural stuff. Kalagara and Stevens were both finding it hard to stem the flow of boundaries, and a couple missed chances later Mohammad has made a fine 50. At the other end Hussain, who provided vital runs batting at 10 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, is playing a handy supporting, finding the boundary regularly and proving difficult to remove.
With 100 up, enter the slow bowlers (sorry Dave). 107-2 became 108-5. Woffers did the trick to remove Mohammad for 65, playing one big shot too many which remarkably found Kalagara’s hands in a Mêlée with Setia. The big West Indian Overseas Aaron Johnson rocked up late and was typically nonchalant walking to the crease. He shouldn’t have been as Sivarajah’s first ball was met with ridiculous shot and he was cleaned up, first ball. Departures is that way big lad. The 5th wicket – out for a duck – frankly looked clueless for all of 17 balls and played one of the worst innings I have ever witnessed.
The angry Sivarajah, following a Friday night Nando’s date which left him subsequently in the ‘Friend Zone’, picked up the key wicket of Hussain st by Dunnett for 37.
This was followed by some rearguard action from the lower order, including a handy 13 from Patel and an even handier 35 from captain Karia, but Woffinden bowled beautifully to wrap up the innings at 176 off 45.1. Woffinden’s 4-44 (15.1 overs) in tandem with Sivarajah’s 4-36 (12 overs) showed that pace off the ball proved to be the key. On a firm wicket which was playing well, and the two big hitters only making 65 between them, we were happy.
Tea time delivered mini magnums for the first time this season which went down swimmingly with the boys, of all ages. Stevens and Edrich strolled to the crease for the last time this league season to set up about forming a solid based for what could be a promotion winning run chase.
Stevens went early for 6 in controversial fashion, edging a disputed catch to slip. However this early loss was followed by some competent batting from Edrich and some fine strokes from Mendis, who was looking to set to transfer his Sunday / mid-week form to MCCL stage.
At 44-1 things were looking good, but we’ve been here before. Cue the wobble. 44-1 became 58-4. Just when he was looking sublime and settled on 20, poor Mendis had an LBW appeal against him turned down, only to find himself standing outside his crease and run out by an opportunistic shy at the stumps. Prior to this Edrich was bowled by a decent nut for 15 and a little later Dunnett goes LBW to the handy Hussain for 7. Enter the experience. Skipper Mir and the evergreen Jouning went about plugging a few holes in the promotion ship and building the partnership which was vitally needed at a key period of the innings. Jouning as ever waited patiently for balls in his strong areas which were more often than not met with fine shots to fielders, but the smattering of boundaries in amongst these kept things ticking along nicely. Mir, as pumped as you would imagine when a win could hand us promotion, supported Jouning well with singles, experience and a lot of energy.
The news is rolling in from elsewhere in the MCCL. Brentham have f***ed it! Uxbridge have set 172 and rolled them for 94. Now Uxbridge are in line to get promoted if we cock up. If I could draw any positive from the appalling loss to Eastcote last week, it would be that it appeared to have turned them into the best side in the league while also making them like us a lot. Eastcote piled on 266 off 55 overs, giving Chez Bu little or no chance of winning. Nerves are now setting in amongst the boys. The realization dawn on us that promotion is all of a sudden well and truly in our hands.
When Mir went LBW for 12 with the score at 87-5, some heads went into hands and Southgate boys started to think the worst. However, with one eye on keeping up with the run rate and one eye on not getting bowled out, Setia came in and played with confidence, expressing himself and showing the talent which he possess. His two boundaries in quick succession got us past 100, but a badly timed run out meant his innings was cut short. Suresh only managed to get one lusty blow to the boundary before being bowled by Patel, and Southgate CC found themselves 124-7 and on the brink of snatching another season in Div 2 from the jaws of promotion.
I have used the word experience a couple of times in this report. Never more could this word be used more appropriately than when describing what was then shown and used by Jouning and Johnson at the crease. With a fine balance between keeping up with run rate and not losing wickets desperately needed, Jouning continued to play beautifully, dispatching the balls he could to the boundary and never looking flustered. Johnson, like Mir earlier in the innings, kept things ticking over and most importantly…stayed at the crease with Jouning. Even thought the run rate was slowly creeping up…Jouning and Johnson kept us in the game.
Jouning brings up a fine 50 and all of a sudden we find ourselves needing just below 7’s with a fews over to go, but still confident that even requiring 10 or 12 off the last with 2 wickets in hand gives us a chance. Boundary!…And another! It looks like Johnson has uttered words ‘I’ve got to go here’ to Jouning before the penultimate over. A bold and courageous swing, saw the ball fly to the third man boundary, going straight through the big West Indian who was thinking of Caribbean warmth and rounded off what had been ‘a shocker’. Another from Jouning and we’re on the edge of glory. Johnson celebrating each boundary like we had won in the dark in Karachi.
One of Jouning’s knees appeared to have finally fallen off, but fortunately the runner was sent back and he recovered quickly.
4 off the last, surely we’d done it. FOUR!! ITS ALL OVER!!
Another Johnson heave ho and the balls flies the third boundary sparking jubilation on the sidelines. A knock of the season from Jouning (71) displayed experience which was not only vital to the cause, but a joy to watch. It was the perfect run chase.
There was a period of uncertainty as messers Edrich and Dunnett were frantically texting / tweeting to get news from Eastcote. Dunnett got through, and we got the news we wanted to hear.
As Jouning sat there in pads, beer in hand, calm, cool and collected like he was on set in Milan, next to Johnson, a physical wreck of a man, there was a sense of disbelief amongst the camp.
To have lost as many games in dismal fashion as we did and get promoted seemed remarkable. However, Southgate’s 8 wins delivered destructive bowling displays, couple with some fine top and middle order batting partnerships. It was unorthodox, it could have been made easier, but my word did it make promotion even sweeter. Southgate CC back in the Middlesex Prem.
2nd XI Report
Report on the 2nd XI victory is still to follow but here a team photo!
3rd XI Report
Having debuted for SCC in 1979, by 2014’s final league match there were very few things that I hadn’t experienced – one however that I had always wanted to partake in was a Tie – that at least is my excuse for missing a straight one after Roy & I had, for the 10th wicket, carefully crafted the 8 precious runs needed to bring the scores level against Indian Gymkhana Cricket Club. The rest they say is history……
Under Shiv’s fledgling captaincy, SCC just about had 11 men changing at the side of the boundary by 12.31pm. For those of you who have never experienced it, welcome to “The Home of Cricket”, aka Boston Manor Playing Fields, the shared Home ( like the San Siro is for Inter & AC Milan ) of Indian Gymkhana & Wyckham House 3s, which is adjacent to the elevated section of the M4 motorway. Upon winning the toss Ind Gym. were promptly inserted and over the course of a reasonably long spell Roy made up for spending the past 3 weeks under the Spanish sun by snaring 4 wickets. 14 year old Liam once again impressed with his immaculate length and it was good to see the 2 other young quicks, Will Dias & Niroosh also get their names on the scoresheet. Helped by a very sharp slip catch from Ankit and an equally sharp legside stumping from Ricky, Ind G. were hustled out for 155 in just 38 overs, leaving us to potentially receive back a near Premier league ( topical !! ) allocation of 54. I remarked at tea ( and I’ll come to that in a minute ) that if we batted all 54 it would be a pretty dire affair.
After taking the short drive from the boundaryside to the pavillion ( I’m sure it was a very pleasant building in it’s 1930s heyday ) all we could see were empty tables. A minute or two later however Tupperware containers arrived to reveal what proved to be a very tasty “bring-in” ( the opposite of take-away if you get my drift ??? ) curry. Tea was served from a Thermos flask and that was it – no cakes or fruit or anything else. But as I said the curry was really delicious.
After driving back to the boundaryside the chase began. The only semi-meaningful contribution from the top order was 23 from Sal, but then the middle order really kicked in: Sarfaraz 17, Ricky 24 & the young allrounder Niroosh 19. Having said this we never really were in full control which meant that the 9th wicket pair of Liam & Roy were brought together with 20 or so still required. Carefully they inched their way towards the 156 target but with 9 still required from 3 overs there ensued what I will simply refer to as “A Bad Light Incident” brought about by IG having bowled their overs at a derisory 14 per hour, and this conveniently takes me back to Paragraph 1.
So a season which at one stage had looked so promising has ended in mid-table mediocracy but I don’t think that matters too much because there have been many enjoyable matches and a very good atmosphere in the team throughtout the whole year. Let’s look forward to 2015.
Middlesex Development League Shield Final
After reaching the Shield Final for the second consecutive year, our boys were extremely excited about the opportunity to ‘defend’ our shield as we made our way around the North Circular for an 11am start at Barnes. Our opponents were Indian Gymkhana, with whom we have had some interesting matches in the league, and I felt it was likely to be another close game.
After being inserted on a green wicket, Hughes (52) and Dunnett (62) got us off to the perfect start. Phil in particular exploited the short boundaries with some powerful shots, as both openers scored fluently. This gave us the perfect platform, as we didn’t lose our first wicket until the 18th over, while consistently scoring above a run a ball. Both openers fell in quick succession, allowing a new partnership of Mendis (118*) and Setia (57) to form. These two scored even quicker than the openers, with Kushy hitting the ball hard and straight, and Karan showing more innovative shots behind square. Indian Gymkhana probably brought on their 1st team overage bowlers too late, as our 3rd wicket partnership plundered the spinners too all parts. Karan fell with 4 overs to go, leaving the skipper to swing and miss at a few before they eventually got one straight, and then Marchy to more successfully rotate the strike to Kushy, who powered his way past a very classy hundred. This meant that we finished on a dominant 313-4 after 40 overs.
Indian Gymkhana had to come hard at us with the bat, which they did against the young new ball pairing of Henry and Niroosh. Runs came at around a run a ball but both picked up a wicket in their opening spell, as well as Henry having their first team skipper dropped twice. It was left to our change bowlers, Ashley (3-40) and Suresh to dismiss their more experienced players and make the game safe. In fairness to Indian Gym they kept swinging until the end, as the bowing changed with Phil and Marchy both picking up wickets as the runs continued to flow. Fittingly it was Henry who picked up the final wicket, as we bowled Indian Gymkhana out for 188 in the 31st over.
We moved onto Richmond to claim our medals and the shield, to confirm it had been another successful season for our development team. Perhaps if we’d won one more group game, we’d have been able to compete in the main trophy, but the team should still be pleased with how it’s gone. New stars such as Henry (who also took 5 wickets in the semi-final) have come into the team in 2014 and the development league has offered some of our exceptionally talented young players some much needed confidence as they look for more success in Saturday cricket.
From last week:
2nd XI v Wembley
Despite it being very unlikely, we could still be relegated as there was one of those equations lingering around, where if the team at the bottom won all the rest of their games and we lost all ours we would go down.
So all 11 of us had only a positive result on our mind.
I won the toss (after losing the previous 5 tosses in a row) and elected to bowl on what was a fairly green track.
In our previous meeting with wembley we had completely outplayed them but again due to rain delaying the start and me having lost the toss then as well, we were only able to get 4 points!
No rain this week so no excuses.
Abdul and Sam Wadham took the new ball bowling good lines keeping wembley’s run rate in check.
We got the breakthrough at 20 off 10 overs. The other opener was a good left hand batsmen played himself in and started playing some good shots.
I thought changing the bowling by adding a bit of extra pace may do the trick and get us a couple of wickets.
So Karl and Omair were introduced into the attack.
Unfortunately Omair struggled with his run up resulting in a few no balls, which the left hander took advantage of and Karl’s radar was slightly off track for his first few overs resulting in some extras.
Wembley were now 60 off 18 overs and we started to fall behind the over rate which their umpire kept on reminding me of after every over.( very annoying. We were not behind deliberately)
Karl eventually got into his groove and picked up their number 3.
Their overseas Australian all rounder was in at 4 and looked pretty decent, timing the ball well and pushing the score along comfortably.
By now our very own version of wreck it Ralph , “Rev it Rav” was introduced into the attack and had both batsmen in all sorts of trouble. The left handed opener was let off with the simplest of chances being dropped.
There have not been many occasions this season where our players have lost control of their tempers.
Unfortunately this started to happen. Clumsy fielding, poor throwing, poor backing up- just the basics not being done right thus resulting in some bickering amongst our own players !
There was a passage of. 20 mins at this point where I started to feel the pressure of not only trying to get on top of the oppo but try and control my own team too.
However Ravi kept going and got the left hander bowled all ends up for 44.
96 for 3.
Despite our poor fielding, there was then just that one moment of sheer brilliance to rejuvenate the side again.
The left hander guided one to the right of Matt stratten at point which what looked to be a fairly comfortable single on offer.
Matt dived, stopped the ball and while still rolling over on the floor threw the ball to the bowlers end ( this is from point don’t forget) and with the loud clatter of a direct hit we had the Aussie run out by a yard.
I bought myself on replacing Karl . Along with Rav we started to get through the overs as quick as we could to recuperate some of that time back.
We picked up a few wickets in the process and with Wadham back in the attack and Omair for a final burst we restricted wembley to 162 all out off 52 overs.
From a side falling apart in the field and giving away 32 extras we managed to turn our performance around and get 2 more run outs.
Ravi ended up with 4 for 26.
Sam Wadham, Karl and myself picked up a wicket each.
The pitch seemed to have got better as the game went on, short boundaries and plenty of batting in the shed I was fairly confident this would all work out well.
However their Aussie all rounder (L Hutton) turned out to be a fairly sharp opening bowler moving the ball both ways.
He got the wickets of the in form Matt Stratten, Alvin and Hughes ( caught at slip, bowled and lbw) who scored 8 runs between them and left us in a spot of bother.
However, on the other end the recently out of form Karl was playing a gem of an innings keeping our run rate up and the scoreboard moving.
At 36 for 3, Bellwood and Jankowicz added another 40 taking the score to 76 before ollie was bowled ( L Hutton).
Unfortunately we then lost Karl for an entertaining 43 (bowled l Hutton)
85 for 5 and panic started to set in.
With another twist in the game Omair Ali promoted up the order along with Marcello started to steady the ship. Both players played some good looking shots and at the score at 111 we lost Omair Ali (12)(bowled L Hutton)
Our backs were against the wall again when we also lost Marcello (15) at 111 . 7 down now and Approx 55 needed 18 overs to do it in.
Sam Wadham and myself had a good chat out in the middle and with plenty of encouragement at each other the scoreboard started to move along and despite L Hutton still going strong and bowling an absolute Jaffa every now and then.
We started to get a few runs off his overs and the runs required were coming down in 6’s every over.
We got to the 164 target with over 40 balls to spare.
Sam Wadham ended up with 17 not out and myself 35 not out.
It was an all familiar scenario where our tail has got blown away but not on this occasion.
L Hutton finished with a 6 fer.
We added 10 more points to our total and another 10 points this Saturday would leave us finishing the season in 4th place from worrying about being relegated the week before, that’s how tight the table has been this year.
So here’s hoping to finish on a high.
We had a memorable last game against Ickenham last year and will strive for a positive finish this year too!
This Saturday and Sunday we play Edmonton and Enfield in the Jim Conroy Cup. Both fixtures are away from home, 40 overs per side and start at 12:30.
Good luck to all this weekend.