A bad day at the office!
1st XI v North Middlesex
Southgate were comprehensively beaten by a North Middlesex team who had lost three of their previous four games, albeit by narrow margins.
Having won the toss and deciding to bat the home team’s openers proceeded steadily against the Southgate quicker bowlers and reached 61 without loss before Farhad surprisingly clean bowled Holmes.
It was time for Southgate’s team of spinners to take control and wickets now fell steadily despite what seemed to be a rather lacklustre fielding display. Ashley Sivarajah (1-22 in 9), Haydon Morton (1-31 in 10 overs) and Mukesh Bhatt with 4 wickets and two juggled catches changed the picture of the game and by the 40th over North Middlesex had collapsed to 141-8.
Rashid returned to hopefully ‘finish them off ’ and with Mukesh bowling beautifully at the other end it was now Southgate’s game to lose.
This I’m afraid they did, as Southgate’s poor attitude in the field reared its head and the home team’s last three batsmen took advantage and added 63 in the last 10 overs including no less than 34 in the last three.
Southgate’s reply can only be described as pathetic. Two good opening bowlers bowled an excellent line and length into the corridor of uncertainty outside the off stump and the Southgate batsmen were unable to cope. Later on a series of wides (18) by their first change bowler boosted the total to 56.
A pity such a display was watched by Southgate’s biggest travelling support of the season, 15, although that figure did include my two granddaughters and Karl’s dog, Biggles!
Eastcote next week and I would remind everybody, the batsmen especially, that next week’s batting line up will probably be identical to that which recently notched up 275-6 against Twickenham.
Think Twickenham NOT North Middlesex!
“You’re riding high in April, shot down in May…”
(2nd XI v MTSSC)
So sang ‘Ol Blue Eyes, Mr Frank Sinatra. And no-one will feel that sentiment more deeply this week than Southgate CC 2nd XI this week, especially interim captain, another chairman of the board, Rob Johnson. Pre-match confidence could not have been higher coming into this one. This was, after all, a home fixture off the back of four wins from the first four games of the season, the fourth a convincing result against our local rivals
Things started swimmingly. With the opposition arriving in dribs and drabs (they only had six ready to go at the scheduled start time), we won the toss and had the choice of batting against half a team, or taking advantage of the bowler-friendly conditions. It was, to be honest, a win-win situation, and we fielded, expecting the Sun to come out later in the day. With a solid showing from our opening pair of Abdul Quiyum and Sam Wadham, the latter playing possibly his last game in a Southgate shirt, we were delighted to have taken three wickets in the first five overs and were right on top. This was backed up by Ravi Desai and a very good spell from Omair Ali.
At 70 for 7, the visitors were wobbling and we aimed to keep them to 90, which is when the more astute observer would have noticed a crack in the gloss of our performance. A feisty 9th wicket stand by two batsmen who would undoubtedly have batted higher had they been at the ground earlier, edged the score to 119. This represented a tricky little chase, certainly more than we had anticipated.
While we tucked into baguette sandwiches and potato wedges, London’s unusual weather took an absurd turn as Wadham was caught in a cream cake shower. Bringing a whole new depth to the term “sconed”, this will surely be the last dessert to fall on his head as a Southgate player.
So, onto our fateful run-chase. A youthful opening pair of Shiv and Lynchy, plus Waqas at 3 (the victim of a seriously good low catch), were able to get us to 40 before disaster struck. Johnson was a little over-eager and contrived to miss a straight one, Scott Ellis played an eminently forgettable heave aimed over mid-wicket. A ring-rusty Bellwood became the third man bowled leaving the innings in disarray. 40 for 3 had become 50 for 6, which quickly became 60 for 9 and all was lost, or was it?
Throughout the madness, our number four Adeel Saeed, had been resolute in his defence, restricting himself to almost no drives at all. In Ravi Desai, batting at 11, he found a kindred spirit and playing for pride rapidly evolved into playing for points.
Sam Wadham’s last prediction as a Southgate player will read as follows; “if they can get us to a hundred, we’ll win.” Well, they got us to 96 (for a point), to a hundred, and to 108 (for a second point). Unfortunately, having batted so admirably, and farmed the strike expertly, Adeel played on to his own wicket trying to find a single at the end of an over. It had been superb effort from our final pair on a two-paced wicket, and put the discipline of the rest of the batting order to shame.
I know that there has been a great deal of soul-searching in the Johnson household about this result, but really the only thing we did wrong was bat impatiently on a difficult surface. I’ll leave it to Sam Wadham to give us the benefit of his wisdom for the last time as a Southgate player:
“Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race…”
OK, that was Frank Sinatra again, but you get the idea.
Southgate 3rd XI v Perivale Phonecians
After a very frustrating last game against North London where we picked up 4points a win this week was a must in a season that seems very promising. We were hosting Perivale Phoenicians at home this week and weren’t quite sure what to expect from them.
Having won the toss in the CAR PARK !! Adrian decided to bowl first. He then duly informed that he has inspected the pitch prepared and decided to play on the pitch next to it which would play better as the game goes on.
Perivale opened with 2 of their more experienced players and in our ranks to open the bowling we had Young Liam Babwah who performed very well last year and Roy Marett reliable as ever with very disciplined length and line.
Both bowled very well without any success as the openers played very carefully and scored a very steady 3 an over . At drinks they had managed to score around 70 for no loss.
After drinks however is when things changed when Roy had one of the openers run out who was looking to score quick single. Adrian had the other opener caught and bowled straight after. From then on Phil Martin 4 / 41 with his left arm spin and Adrian 5 /24 took regular wickets as all the other batsmen from Perivale were trying to score quick runs ended up on 130 all out in 45 overs.
At tea there was a surprise, wedges was added to the menu along with the usual sandwiches and cake which was nice. I was asked to open the innings which I was glad for with Shoaib after couple other players refused the opportunity!!
Shoaib after being dropped in the first over started playing some excellent shots and me being steady on the other hand gave us a very quick start. We were 112 in 16 overs when I was out run out. Marcello came out and scored a very quick 18 hitting some very good shots that’s when Shoaib lost his wicket trying to do the same on 80. In the end Marcello and Sarfaraz finished the game off.
Another satisfying and confident win under our belt was just what was needed before we play Winchmore Hill away who are second in the table and seem to be a team capable of challenging for the promotion.
4th XI v Alexandra Park
The 4’s retained their unbeaten record despite a scrappy performance against Alexandra Park. The game took place at AP’s Racecourse ground in the shadow of the TV transmitter. Southgate fielded a ‘veteran’ side which was well stocked with batsman but a little light on bowling. The Southgate XI were sent into the field to start the game and the bowling pairing of Rishi Kent and Tom Clark were handed the new ball.
The first few overs were expensive, with the very short east boundary proving fertile scoring territory. Eventually the breakthrough came as first change bowler Shaf Babwah bowled straight through the defense of Bajay to break up the 62 run opening partnership. Kent was still trundling up the hill at the other end and after a long opening stand it was a case of London buses as Kent had new man Azeem spooning the ball up for an easy caught and bowled. There was another wicket just one run later as Kent beat opener Freestere for pace and sent him back to the pavilion just one shy of his half-century.
That however, was really the last good news as fourth and fifth men, Lee and Egan, put together a 148 run partnership to really take the chance of a win away from the Southgate side. The next wicket was taken by Tom Clark has he took off a little bit of pace and had Lee ahead of the ball and skying it into midwicket for Joe McCormick to take a catch on the run. There was a mini resurgence late in the innings as Kent came back to bowl sixth man Scott and then catch the next man LBW on the very next ball to set up a hat-trick. The game was then slightly soured by AP’s number eight batsman taking to the field with no pads. It wasn’t in the spirit of cricket or how the game had been played to that point and it was a little surprising that no one at AP stopped him.
Anyway, he was able to fend off the hat-trick ball and then became a passenger as Egan punched his way to an excellent hundred and his side to a score of 263 off 47 overs.
That left Southgate with 45 overs left to either take an unlikely win or block for a draw. Doug Gordon and David Lowen started off with the first intention and they were ahead of the run rate until Lowen was bowled after a run a ball 15. Gordon was the next to go with the score on 43. That brought McCormick and Syed together, they put on a 39 run partnership before Syed was caught on 21. The Southgate innings was now in the balance, the win was still a possibility but pushing for that was also likely to result in a loss.
McCormick’s partnerships with Tom Clark, Sam Larner and Graham Clark only yielded 34 more runs and with six wickets down and 148 more needed it was now up to the Southgate tail to hold out for an unlikely draw. The eighth batsman up was Peter McLoughlin and he put together 45 runs in 17 overs alongside McCormick as AP sensed victory.
McCormick had smashed his way to a score of 77 but with five overs left to see out, he was caught and bowled. Just two overs later John Stone was out leaving just two wickets remaining. A game that had looked like it was petering out into a uninspiring draw was now firmly back in the balance. It was advantage AP when Shaf Babwah was out second ball after an LBW appeal. That brought Kent and McLoughlin together for the final over. Despite a crowded field and some fierce bowling the pair were able to see off the final over and secure the draw.
Southgate 4’s return home next week to face North London 5’s. Southgate will look to keep their unbeaten run going.