Extraordinary Scenes at Wycombe House – 2nd XI Report

Southgate 2nd XI travelled to Wycombe House in deep West London hoping that the strongest 2nd team batting line up in my years at the club would ensure there was no repeat of the shambles at nearby Osterley 2 weeks previously.

Eyeing said lineup, skipper Sam Faruqi won the toss and despite the good looking pitch and sweltering conditions opted to field. As his grumbling teammates slopped on sun cream, shades and caps, Sam informed us that he had lost the toss, a lie that he didn’t own up to until after we had won.

The opening bowling pairing of Ben Elders and Luke Hutton is a cut above anything else in the division, and they bowled with aggression and discipline, removing a batsman each in the early stages. Luke gave way to Dave Woffinden who set about his regular game plan. With limited opportunities to score Wycombe House were frustrated and quickly found themselves 3 down with less than 30 on the board after 15 overs. Their remaining opener ground out a solid 36 and just as it looked as though he might have weathered the storm and got them back into the game Woffers took 2 wickets in an over to reduce the hosts to 53-5. Unfortunately, the second of these wickets was a backpedalling catch by Freddie Wilson who fell awkwardly and we later found out broke his wrist. This is doubly unlucky as at the time of writing he is in Ibiza having booked his flights Sunday – Friday like any good cricketer.

Woffers’ double wicket over looked to have ended WHCC’s chances of posting a defendable total, but his next over is one none of us will ever forget. Or allow Woffers to forget. Before I give the ball-by-ball I should explain that the straight boundary at Woffers’ end was quite short. Not the shortest we play on, but certainly shorter than average.

Wycombe Houses’ number 6 (in the book as simply “Noori”) hit the first ball of Woffers’ next over for a straight 6 into a hedge that separated the ground from tennis courts. Woffers chuckled and beamed as I’ve seen him do before, relishing the challenge of a batsman coming at him and anticipating his downfall. Mid off and mid on were sent back, but told to remain 5 yards in to tempt the batsman into attempting another lusty blow. The second ball sailed over their heads and landed between the hedge and the tennis court fence. This was difficult to retrieve and caused a delay, so we took drinks.

Noori heaved the first ball after the resumption over midwicket for an ugly 4. The next ball was a return to form and landed once more in the tennis courts to shrieks of discontent from the female revellers. (We were shouting “HEADS!” but they were in real danger and there was nothing more we, or Woffers, could do). 6-6-4-6.

Before the fifth ball I recall saying something to the effect of “go on mate, see if you can do it again, one more”. And he did. 6-6-4-6-6.Is this the end?

The sixth ball must’ve cleared the net on the tennis court and again caused indignant squeals from the players. This time ‘PUT ANOTHER BOWLER ON!’ was heard from the now apoplectic Saturday afternoon tennis contingent. A remarkable over finished 6-6-4-6-6-6. I genuinely couldn’t quite fathom what I’d just witnessed.

Watching these remarkable events unfold was an emotional rollercoaster. Initially there was awe and admiration for the display of batting, mixed in with a bit of gallows humour. But after the initial shock it started to dawn on me that this hadn’t happened to just anyone, but to Woffers. Woffers. The Barnsley Express. The kryptonite of many a Premier league batsman. The maiden machine. Gets hit for 34 in an over! Disbelief set in. This surely was the end of days. I saw planes falling from the sky, but quickly realised how close to Heathrow we were and calmed down a bit.

The next stage of my turmoil was similar to when you’re about 8 or 9 and you see your Dad fail at something and for the first time realise he’s not invincible. Was there an Emperor’s New Clothes situation going on? All these years Woffers’ bowling has looked innocuous at first glance but turns out to be incredibly effective. Was the spell now broken? I pictured the next time I’d face Woffs in the nets. Usually I can’t lay a bat on him, but now would I casually swat him over the sightscreen ball after ball before wiping away a tear as my actions cemented the end of an era of wiley medium-slow bowling? Time would tell.

While all that was swimming around my brain a game of cricket had been carrying on (it was a good job the ball hadn’t come to me). The skipper had kept faith with Woffers and Noori completed his half century in what can only have been about 16 balls. Every Southgate player who was still on the field (get well soon Fred/Jeff) shook his hand and then again in the following over when he held out to Luke Hutton at long off. Woffers finally had his man. It was a remarkable innings that will live long in the memory.

Meanwhile, Skipper Faruqi bowled a good spell at the other end with no reward (9-2-26-0) and once Noori was dismissed Woffers’ spell reverted to type. He wrapped up a 5-fer, finishing with figures of 18-4-80-5, which are quite remarkable when you consider that 2 of his overs went for 50. If this was The Emperor’s New Clothes then the fable has been rewritten. Emperor has a suit commissioned that can’t be seen by those unworthy or unintelligent – Emperor parades around in new suit – youth shouts “He’s naked!” causing merriment – short time passes and general consensus is “No, he’s definitely wearing a suit. And I can’t get his bowling off the square”.

In the end, Luke (12.4-1-28-2) and Ben (15-3-31-3) came back on to finish things off and the innings was brought to a close in the 52nd over by a sharp stumping from Scott Ellis standing up to Luke.

 

Wycombe House’s total of 176-6 in 52 overs seems pretty regular, but it puts a different shape on things when you consider that they only scored 126 in 50 of their overs.

 

Our response started shakily as Alvin Durgacharan looked to be the victim of repeated passionate LBW appeals putting pressure on the home umpire. Crashing noises from the changing rooms suggest that Alvin thought little of the umpire’s lack of resolve. Max Joseph departed in the next over clean bowled by a yorker and when Declan O’Leary chipped a slower ball back to the bowler we were perilously poised at 23-3, effectively 23-4 as Freddie was in a nearby hospital.

 

However, with our batting depth we were never out of the game and a steely period of play from Adeel Saeed (77*) and Waqas Kahn (40) saw off the openers and then a devastating performance from both dismantled the change bowlers. Glorious strokes all around the ground were a pleasure to behold, particularly given the match circumstances.

 

Noori had a short spell and Waqas was determined to avenge Woffers’ pain and after depositing him for one 6, held out to long off. But the partnership of over 100 had reduced the runs required to fewer than 30. Luke Hutton scored a brisk 19 and fell when we needed only 9, which opened the door for Scott Ellis (8*) to come in and bludgeon his way back into form and our way to victory.

 

In the end the scoreboard reported that we had won by 4 wickets with 20 overs or so to spare, but in reality that was only 3 wickets as Freddie was on his way to pick up some UV paint to make his cast more Ibiza appropriate. It was certainly a hard-fought victory, which you could not say of most of our 10 wins this season.

Max Joseph

‘The Babwah Show’!

Selection cock-up proves to be a blessing in disguise and presents us with ‘The Babwah Show’!

Bessborough 4th XIs  (262-7 dec off 43 overs)

Southgate 4th XIs, (264-6 off 48 overs)  10 points

(Disclaimer: Pardon me for the length of this match report, but this incredible game deserved a full write-up — Sal)

As is now a regular occurrence on a Saturday morning, the 4th XIs were forced to release one of their players to the 3rd XIs.  Having already lost Sarfraz Hafeji to the 3s due largely to his impressive display with the ball (7 for 66 off 15 overs) against Wembley the previous week, the 4s found themselves a man short when Christian Mcloughlin was moved up to the 3s at short notice.  A desperate plea for a last minute replacement by the now Social Media savvy skipper, Doug Gorgon, on the 4th XIs WhatsApp group chat resulted in Liam Babwah declaring himself available as he had somehow been overlooked by the selection committee earlier in the week.  Doug couldn’t believe his luck as Liam slotted perfectly into the team making up for the loss of both a batsman (Christian) and bowler (Sarfraz) and added much needed strength to a side that included 2 Colts players, namely Hirshal Vipani and Shrey Parmar, making their debuts alongside last week’s debutant Colt Tom Stanton.  By the time we met at the Walker, we even had the luxury of a 12th man as Delmore had turned up at the ground ready with his kit.  It’s funny how things work out!

Things didn’t start well for us when we reached Bessborough.  While we were getting changed, the football coach who had been teaching some kids on the adjacent pitch walked in and told us to vacate immediately as he had to lock up.  In the rush to leave, Doug left his shirt hanging on the peg; let’s hope he gets it back.  It turns out the shirt wasn’t the only thing Doug lost, he also lost the toss and, not surprisingly, Bessborough elected to bat on a hot sunny day with a good batting track.

The Bessborough skipper opened the batting along with a Bucks University 1st team player (Cameron Clark) who was deemed to be a ‘borderline selection’ for Bessborough 2s, so had been selected for their 3s but as he couldn’t travel for their away fixture (incidentally against our 3s at the Walker) he ended up getting a game with their 4s.  Liam opened our bowling attack down the hill along with Roy Marett coming up the hill at the other end. Having taken 5 wickets (all bowled) 24hrs earlier against Winchmore Hill, Liam didn’t waste any time in finding his line & length.  In his first over he had their captain in all sorts of trouble and was really unlucky to have 2 strong appeals for LBW and an equally big shout for a caught behind turned down.  It was going to be one of those days!

It didn’t take long for their ‘ringer’ to start showing his talent, as he hit boundary after boundary.  Liam kept toiling away without much reward so it was time for a change and he was replaced by his dad, Shaff Babwah. Roy continued at the other end and eventually made the first breakthrough by trapping the skipper in front, though the umpire took an age to raise the dreaded finger. Batsman No. 3 didn’t last long as he only had one shot in his repertoire – slog every ball – and Shaff soon dismissed him with the help of his other son, young Alan Babwah, who took a well struck catch at long off.  Liam, feeling a bit left out whilst fielding at point, then decided it was time for him to join the ‘Babwah Show’ when batsman No. 4 tried to sneak a cheeky single and promptly ran him out with a direct hit on the bails at the bowlers end. Their No. 5 and the ‘ringer’ then put on a 110-run partnership that seemed to have taken the game away from us.

Two separate drinks breaks and several tiring and expensive overs later, with the score around 230-4 their captain telegraphed to their batsmen to “go for it” as he was thinking about a declaration.  This signalled the start of part 2 of the ‘Babwah Show’ as Alan managed to clean bowl Batsman 5 on 55, then dismissed their ringer No.2 by having him caught by his brother at mid-on when he was on 125, and then finished off by clean bowling No7.  If that wasn’t enough, Alan even managed to catch their No. 6 to give young Tom Stanton his first senior wicket at which point Bessborough declared on 262 -7 after 43 overs.   Tired and weary, we trotted off thinking how different things could have been if only we hadn’t dropped their ringer twice – once when he was in his 30s, and then when he was in his 60s – with the 2nd chance being a much easier looping catch at mid-off.

After an uneventful tea, chasing 263 to win, we got off to the worst possible start.  Partha Dave, playing his first game in 3 weeks, was probably still wishing he was on holiday in Marrakesh when he edged one to the keeper who fumbled the ball but 1st slip was there to make sure the chance wasn’t wasted.  We were 1 down after just 4 balls.  Sal and Doug then steadied the ship before Sal was dismissed cheaply in the 6th over with the score on 16.  Young Tom Stanton then stepped up and played some good strokes to keep the scoreboard ticking along before Doug was caught in the 15th over with the score on 42.  This then heralded the arrival of Liam Babwah to the middle who started off as he meant to go on with a couple of quick boundaries.  Tom batted really well but was caught just when he was starting to get going when on 23.  Julius and Hirshal didn’t trouble the scorers much and we soon found ourselves on 95 for 6 after 23 overs. Not quite midway point as we had 49 overs back, so understandably our heads were down and the general consensus in the pavilion (a.k.a under the tree on the boundary) was that the game would be ending early and that it would be a miracle if we could somehow dig in for the next 26 overs to salvage a losing draw.

What was to follow is the stuff of legends.  Nobody could have known at that point that the ‘Babwah Show’ was in fact a trilogy, and we were about to witness a tantalising and thrilling end to this tense and twisting tale, this time starring Liam Babwah (with Roy Marett playing a cameo role which deserves the best supporting Oscar!).  Liam and Roy batted cautiously, defending the good balls and punishing the loose ones to keep up with the run rate. It didn’t take long for Liam to reach his 50 and by the time we stopped for the 2nd drinks break at 30 overs, we were on 144 which was only slightly behind their score at the same stage, albeit we had lost more wickets but crucially we had an extra 6 overs to come yet.

Roy, the hugely experienced and wily veteran, was the perfect foil for young Liam to continue playing his fluid and flamboyant yet measured strokes. The two rotated the strike well and continued to frustrate the Bessborough bowlers who ended up using a total of 8 bowlers and tried everything to get them out but our dynamic duo doggedly dug in.  Roy kept encouraging and supporting Liam, reminding him that we only needed to keep going at 6 an over.  Liam showed great temperament and continued to patiently play his stylish shots.  Encouraged by Liam’s batting Roy started to get in on the act too and began to hit a few boundaries of his own.

By the 40th over we had reached 197, and the mood in the ‘pavilion’ was distinctly different; lots of nervous nail-biting and audible anxiety.  Shaff, in particular, was sweating profusely, partly as a proud father wanting and willing his son Liam to go on to score his maiden 100, but also worried at the same time about the damage it was going to do to his wallet.  You see, earlier in the day, as a way to encourage his two sons, he had offered them a ‘sweetener’ (some might call it a bribe); £5 for every wicket they took while bowling, and £50 for every 50 runs they scored.   Alan had already claimed £15 for his 3 wickets, and Liam was now on the verge of prising a further £100 out of Shaff.

Liam was stuck in the nervous 90s for a while but he rode it out patiently before hitting a beautiful on-drive to reach his first century; one that was truly well-deserved and beautifully batted.  As is the case with most players who reach a ton, Liam lost his concentration and hit the next ball straight to mid-on.  The whole of the Bessborough team shouted “CAAAAAATCH” in unison; Liam didn’t even bother looking and starting to walk back to the pavilion when suddenly he heard the groans of the fielders as the chance was dropped.  In the next over, we witnessed a comical episode of keystone cops as there was an attempt at a run out when Liam somehow ended up at the same end as Roy. The fielder could have walked to the non-strikers end and flipped the bails off but decided to have a shy at the stumps instead…and missed, at which point Liam scampered back to his crease just in time and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Roy had a much needed word with Liam to help him re-focus and remind him there was still a job to do.  Liam took it on the chin, composed himself and did not offer any more chances.

By the end of the 47th over Liam and Roy had carefully navigated us to the position where we needed 10 runs off 12 balls to win.  I’m not sure if Liam was aware that Roy was on 40 at the time but, after a couple of dot balls and with pressure mounting, he took a single and gave the strike to Roy. The equation was simple, we needed 9 off 9 so a run a ball would do; however Roy had other ideas. He took 2 off the next ball followed by a well struck boundary.  He was now on 46 and facing the last delivery of the penultimate over, needing just 3 to win.  Using his 40+ years of experience, he calmly swept the next ball to the square leg boundary to win the game and also reach his 50 in the process.  Needless to say there were scenes of jubilation back in the pavilion, with some players – including your correspondent, with the scorebook in my hands – running onto the pitch to congratulate our heroes.

Undoubtedly, the ‘Man of the Match’ award has to go to Liam for his incredible 125 not out, but Roy deserves a huge amount of credit for playing a vital supporting role to finish on 50 not out (and bowling an impressive 10 overs straight for just 18 runs and the captain’s wicket). It just goes to show that you are never too young or too old to play cricket.  While we all await Ricky Gunn to confirm whether or not this 169 run 7th wicket partnership is some kind of record within the club, please spare a thought for poor Shaff, I don’t know by how much he was out of pocket by the end of the evening as he was last seen buying jugs back at the Walker.  Oh, and we may have to have a collection to buy Doug a new shirt 😉

… Sal Syed

 

Twickenham Spun out as the ‘Gate make it Four in Four

Southgate v Twickenham

Scorecard

The Southgate winning machine  rolls on as Southgate were the victors in an exciting game of cricket on Saturday at the Walker Ground.

It could have been billed as a personal competition between arguably the two best left arm spinners in the Premier League, Mukesh Bhatt of Southgate and Parminder Singh of Twickenham.

To try and prove their man was the better of the two Twickenham opened the bowling with him and were immediately successful as first Cameron Steel and then Tom Edrich succumbed to his wiles. At 24-2 with Singh bowling beautifully Mike Stevens was joined by Arnie Sahota and there followed a highly combative and intelligent partnership as the pair added 93 until Sahota mis hit a pull off Sing’s replacement, M.Lazar, just before lunch. Immediately after lunch Stevens had a mad moment when hitting the ball straight to cover and running for no apparent reason and was easily run out, with father Phil seething with disappointment on the sidelines. Another century was very much on the cards for Mikey but it was not to be.

Some of these dads get so wrapped up in their son’s cricket !!!!

A collapse followed  somewhat similar to the previous week at Stanmore and with Singh returning to take five wickets and Lazar taking four with his fast but mainly short pitched bowling Southgate reached just 182 but it should have been more. Ashley Sivarajah (16) batted sensibly to steer the team through to that total but with little support.

In reply Twickenham made a good start against the home pace attack and after 15 overs entirely of pace they had comfortably reached 59-1.

Then the battle started for real.

Mukesh was first to bowl and he was supported by Ashley and Haydan Morton and some excellent catching and wicketkeeping by ‘stand-in’ Tom Edrich.

Mukesh (2-41 in 14 overs) bowled beautifully as usual , but on this particular occasion it was the younger men Ashley (4-38 in 18 overs) and Haydan (2-19 in 10 overs) who took the honours, both benefitting from sound advice from their senior colleague.

Two particular events are worth recording. Ashley defeated Chohan, who had batted for a long time, with a well flighted ball inducing a catch to Edrich and later Haydan bowled a similar ball to Twickenham’s captain Nunes immediately followed by a slightly quicker ball to which the batsman padded up. LBW !

A classic left arm spinner’s wicket but quite why Nunes (445 runs at 64 so far this year) was batting at nine remains a mystery but it certainly worked to Souuthgate’s advantage.

The final pair stuck around for a while but in a typical tail end occurrence they somehow managed to concoct a quite ridiculous run out, leaving Southgate the victors.

Southgate now in third position, just 3 points behind Richmond who are top.

The personal battle between Singh and Bhatt ?

After this game Singh 155 overs, 30 wickets @ 22 and Bhatt, 127 overs, 26 wickets @ 16  but also Morton 95 overs, 18 wickets @ 18 and Sivarajah 74 overs, 12 wickets @ 20.

Four top spinners and we have three of them !

Next week Ealing away, always a difficult game..

Peter Jouning

100 & Five Wickets for Shoaib as threes win – Report

Third XI GFXTwickenham 4s vs Southgate 3s. Shoaib stars (again) as Southgate nearly throw it away.

Scorecard

On a sunny afternoon in Twickenham Southgate won the toss and stuck Twickenham in on an interesting looking pitch. However, at 12.20 Southgate only had 2 players at the ground due to some train delays and dodgie Shiv driving. Eventually, we managed to get underway with 9 players. As Abdul was yet to arrive, Sage had to open the bowling. Clearly the extra time spent with Shiv in the car meant Sage’s knees weren’t quite loosened up enough before taking the new ball and it took Sage several attempts to get to the wicket before he finally bowled a legitimate delivery. Sage just about managed to finish the over, spurred on by the fact that Shiv was at mid-off and offering to finish the over for him.

Thankfully, Abdul arrived and after an entertaining start to the match, the first 15 overs went by event free, barring a couple of drop catches. Liam bowled a tidy 7 overs for 14 and was unlucky not to pick up a couple of wickets. Abdul finally picked up the first wicket, trapping their opener in front. Their number 3 looked like an interesting prospect, sporting a fancy pair of black trainers, however, he didn’t think much of Sage’s bowling, smashing one of his first balls straight back over his head for six.

At drinks Twickenham were 60-2 with Southgate in the ascendency. After drinks however, Twickenham had a couple of players who only knew one way of batting, and started to play a few shots. They seemed to take a fancy to Sage, one guy in particular hitting him out of the attack. Shoaib came on to bowl and started to pick up wickets, some good catching; one from Sage at mid-wicket and a couple from Abdul in the deep gave Shoaib a five-for. After a long 50 overs in the field Twickenham ended up with 215, which left Southgate with a challenging chase.

After a good tea, although somewhat underprepared when we came off, Ali opened up with Shoaib and after a slightly nervy start, Shoaib started to find the boundary with increasing familiarity. Ali managed to see off the opening bowlers before being bowled by their spinner with the score 39-1. Jamie came in at 3, in his first appearance for the club this season, and played a classy knock with some great shots over extra cover before he fell for 54. Shoaib brought up a brilliant hundred to go with his 5 wickets in their innings. What was even more impressive was that he pulled both calves early on and could hardly run.

At 177-2 the game seemed to be a forgone conclusion. Ankit was so sure the game was won he had got changed. Cue the Southgate collapse. Harrison was well caught at mid-off, Abdaul and myself both fell for 0, Shiv managed 1 (which is a massive improvement on his last two scores!) before he chipped one back to the bowler and Liam scored 2. Ankit had to change quickly back into his whites and pad up! At 199-8 the game was back in the balance. Needing another 16 runs to win, Dan managed to take us to 214-8, only 2 short before he chipped to mid-wicket for 14. Enter Sage. 2 runs to win, Twickenham needed 1 wicket. Nerves were tense, however Sage was never in doubt. Smashing his first ball through the covers for four, meaning Southgate win by 1 wicket.

Rich Smith

Big chase for the 4s make it a clean sweep!

BrushWembley V 184 all out, Southgate IV 185-7. Southgate won, 10 points

Wembley decided to bat on a hot day. They probably regretted this instantly as they were soon in trouble as Sarfaraz got stuck into the top order. A regular fall of wickets got them to 50-7 and starting the second innings before tea was on the cards. The seventh wicket was a cheeky run out by Roy Marett. The ball was chipped towards Roy at short extra cover, but when it dropped short the batsman was still walkabout and Roy flicked the ball onto the stumps. In among the chaos one of the more significant incidents was no. 6 being dropped first ball. He went on to get exactly 100 (actually last man out on 98 but Wembley decided to find him a couple of leg byes!). From 90-8 we had a very frustrating 20 overs where the last couple blocked and no. 6 swung the bat. To be honest we wilted in the heat and none of the bowlers could make an impression until Sarfaraz came back and cleaned things up. He finished with excellent figures of 15-2-66-7. All the wickets were bowled or caught behind by Christian McLoughlin, who had a very good afternoon with four catches.

So we were chasing much more than expected and certainly more than the captain was comfortable with! In reply Gordon and RBL made a decent start and got to 46 when Gordon was run by a deflection from the bowler at the non-stricker’s end (is there a more frustrating way to get out?). RBL played freely for 37 including a couple of sixes to get us underway, but was then pinned LBW. Sal Syed and Christian McLoughlin both played comfortably until chipping out trying to get on with it when there wasn’t really a need. Sam Larner and Sarafarz came and went fairly quickly and this left us 134-6 and in a bit of a spot. Fortunately we had Tom Stanton on debut. He played calmly. Good balls were played back and bad balls clipped to the leg side boundary. In partnership with Roy Tom got us to 168 before getting a good one for 37. Shaff then finished it quickly and we celebrated what turned out to be a very good game and victory.

Doug Gordon

Solid Win for 2nds v Bessborough

Southgate 2XI v Bessborough 2XI

Scorecard

Conditions – Warm and sunny.

Team – Captain Sam Farouki, Alvin Durgacharan, Declan O’Leary, Max Joseph, Fred Jeff Wilson, Waqas Khan, Adeel Saeed, Dave Woffinden, Ollie Bellwood, Ben Elders, Ravi Desai. Umpire Bob Cole

Toss – won by Sam Faruqi of Southgate and Bessborough were invited to bat first.

 

Top of the league Southgate played Bessborough on a warm and pleasant July day at the Walker Cricket Ground. We were looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat last week away at Osterley, Bessborough were looking to make it three wins from three.

 

The opposition arrived before the home team which wasn’t the best start. Southgate were delighted to welcome Fred (Jeff) Wilson formerly of Bromley CC for his Southgate debut as well as Adeel Saeed following a four-week absence.

 

After a short warm up Southgate took to the field. Skipper Sam Faruqi decided having won the toss he would rely on the pace bowling of Elders and Woffinden to unsettle the Bessborough top order and rely on Southgate’s batsmen to knock off.

 

Indeed the first casualty of the day was the Bessborough No2 who somehow rolled his ankle innocuously on the flat deck before being airlifted off to the side of the pitch where an ice pack and iced lager were brought out for him.

 

Elders fresh after a rare early night in bed took out Bessborough’s other opener by angling a full bunger off the knee roll and onto the stumps. He struck shortly after when No.3 snicked off to Bellwood behind the stumps. 22-3 technically. Woffers bowled 5 maidens at the other end without much luck, it was ‘flighted poetry’ all the same and still Southgate were looking good to bowl Bessborough out for under 100 as had been the case at their ground in May.

 

This time around Bessborough’s young middle order played nicely though. finding some gaps with positive play particularly No4 Kanegray (27) & No6 Sivakumar (48). Southgate were a little lethargic- O’Leary refused a catch and Joseph got hands on one that went down.

 

Rockstar Ravi took two quick LBW’s that gave umpire Bob Cole little or no choice but to give. Alvin pouched a cracking slip catch off our off-spinner for his third wicket as Bessborough kept the total rising.

 

Fred (Jeff) Wilson and Adeel caught well at cover and square leg to give Faruqi and Elders wickets later on as Elders took his fifth (5th) wicket in the 54th over bowling their No11. (It says 4 wickets in the book which needs altering!)

 

Bessborough posted a respectable 160 with five extras and only one bye (said Bellwood). Tea was pasta with a hint of flavour washed down plenty of liquids to rehydrate.

 

Bessborough took to the field with 10 men as Southgate openers Durgacharan & O’Leary looked to dominate early. Bessborough opened up with a 20 year old pace bowler up the hill and a 50 year old spin bowler down the slope, in what was a useful combo.

 

The left arm spinner (a Middlesex over 50’s player) bowled unchanged one end as the other five bowlers took it in turns up the hill.

 

Alvin – who is used to faster pace – unfortunately chipped one to cover early and Max Joseph was unlucky to be run out by a direct throw from backward point selflessly trying to build innings momentum.

 

Southgate found themselves 13 for 2 off 10 overs with the run-rate lacking and looking in a bit of trouble when Jeff joined Declan at the crease. Jeff – as he is now fondly called after a name mix up between Woffers, Elders and Faruqi – batted with good patience & footwork against the spin. He pierced the off side field exceptionally well and built up a 90 run partnership making O’Leary run quicker than normal between the wickets.

 

At drinks Bessborough decided to invoke the ’20 overs from 5.30pm’ rule due to a fast overs rate. This cleverly enabled them to bowl more overs at Southgate who were only two down at time in the hope that an extra 15 minutes may be enough in a tight finish.

 

Wilson was cruelly denied a debut 50 by a smart catch in the slips off the spin bowling of Nitin Modha after drinks. 103 off 34.5 overs and Southgate edging casually to the total.

 

Waqas Khan then joined Declan in the middle and hit a sensationally fast 25 in 5 overs with a mixture of lusty blows and deliberately executed front foot and back foot drives. Bessboroughs opener returned and bowled Waqas with an excellent slower delivery when the game had looked all but dead and buried.

 

Adeel joined O’Leary and helped him finally score his 50, using Faruqi’s New Balance bat. Adeel then set about the finding the 30 runs required in the 40th over but alas on 13 runs received a harsh ‘box before wicket’ attempting a sweep from the left arm spinner Modh, who is a wiley fox. Again the game looked almost won when a wicket fell just at the wrong time for Southgate.

 

Enter Woffinden, opening bowler and no nonsense ‘straight 6’ hitter. Dave put the home teams nerves at ease when he came in and hit shot of the day. A fantastic straight 6 down the ground and into the sight screen which the umpire almost gave as four. Woffinden wrapped the game up with four runs in two balls as Southgate won with 2.5 overs to go with 5 wickets in hand.

Southgate 161 – 5 off 46.3 overs beat Bessborough 160ao off 54.4

Southgate (10points) still top by three points after MTSSC picked up a valuable 12 points in their match against Kenton. Still the league title and promotion is very much in our hands with seven games left.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 13.14.21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declan O’Leary

Edrich sees Southgate Home

Stanmore 155 all out (56 overs)

Southgate 157-6 (56 overs)

Southgate win by 4 wickets Scorecard

Although at one stage Southgate experienced the classic ‘batting second’ syndrome, they eventually won through in exciting fashion to win by four wickets to retain their 4th place in the Premier League, just two points behind third placed Richmond and only 11 points behind leaders Teddington.

Earlier Stanmore had won the toss and to the surprise of all elected to bat.

Faisal took two early wickets but opener Steve Reingold and Harrow schoolboy Rath batted well against the Southgate pace attack. Just two alarms in the first hour or so, when Rath offered a very difficult chance to slip which was not taken and Rheingold top-edged a pull just over the slips.

Then, in the 18th over Fawad produced the over of the day, inducing 4 consecutive snicks from Rath, the fourth of which finally went to hand to be well held by Edrich at slip, the first of three catches on the day for Tom.

Farhad now entered the fray and his extra pace was too much for the second Reingold brother who edged to Phil Dunnett.

In the 22nd over spin was introduced as Haydan Morton (3-31 in 18 overs) was joined by ‘spin twin’ Mukesh Bhatt (1-35 in 13 overs) and this put a further break on the scoring rate as wickets now fell regularly, mainly to catches near the wicket.

NOTE: No left arm spin ‘triplets’ today as Ashley Sivarajah was away at Lord’s selling scorecards!

Finally, Rashid returned to take the ninth wicket thanks to a smart catch by Edrich at slip and Stanmore were all out for 156 when Rashid took a sharp catch at slip off the bowling of Morton.

Great credit to young Steven Reingold, one of four members of his family on the field (plus two more in the kitchen) who batted throughout the innings to finish on 85 not out. Rath, a full Hong Kong International and Middlesex 2nd XI player was the second highest scorer with 20.

Without their two star batsmen, Mark Ramprakesh and Steve Eskinazi (439 runs in 9 innings between them this season so far) it was felt that 155 all out was about par against the strong Southgate bowling attack.

 

Steel and Edrich thumb
Steel and Edrich open the innings

 

Cameron Steel began the Southgate innings with great authority and class, driving  through the offside with power and timing before he was out to a match changing catch by home skipper, Mark Reingold, off his own bowling. The veteran left arm spinner dived low to his right to hold a magnificent catch to end Cameron’s cameo when the score was just 40.

Up to this point the Stanmore heads were down and it looked like a stroll for the visitors. However, Reingold then introduced his second and third left arm spinner and within an a hour or so the game had changed dramatically as Sahota, Morton, Johnson , Dunnett and Rashid all fell to Rath, mainly to catches around the wicket and Southgate were now in big trouble at 90-6.

All this time Tom Edrich had been batting quite beautifully, showing immense concentration and skill, combining his unorthodox but highly effective forward defensive shot with some very clever timing using different bat angles to pierce the gaps in the off side.

At 90-6 he was joined by Captain Faisal, who in the Stanmore innings had enjoyed a very successful day, a couple of wickets, good bowling changes and some innovative field placements.

At first his innings didn’t continue in the same vein as for his first dozen or so balls he used every part of  both pads and various edges of his bat as the home spinners dominated.

At no stage, however, did they dominate Tom who even introduced a slog sweep into his repertoire and soon Faisal gained in confidence too.

The runs came slowly at first off the two spinners but as Mir and Edrich slowly gained control the Stanmore captain decided it was time to try something different. He brought back opening bowler Assani much to the delight of Faisal who, by now, was gaining in confidence and took 14 runs off his first over back.

The overall picture of the game thus changed dramatically and now the target of 157 seemed finally within range, and eventually was reached with some ease.

It had been a real struggle but Edrich (66 not out off 161 balls) and Faisal (36 not out off 56 balls) saw the visitors home with an unbroken stand of 67.

 

Edrich Dig in
Digging in – Tom Edrich

After the game Tom Cairns, leader of the Southgate away support team (numbering 8 this week !) asked an interesting question.

When was the last time a member of each side was on the field throughout the whole game ?

Good question!

 

 

Peter Jouning

Last Over Win takes 1st XI to Fourth Place

SOUTHGATE Ist XI 273-5 (60 overs)

Sahota 113, Edrich 60

SHEPHERDS BUSH Ist XI 161 all out (63.1 overs)

Bhatt 5-58

Southgate won by 88 runs

Scorecard

And sometimes it works out exactly as planned.

Bat first. Make a big score and declare as early as possible.

Bowl the opposition out and celebrate a massive victory on President’s Day.

And that is exactly how it panned out.

The day started badly as Cameron Steel, fresh from making a century for Middlesex II in midweek, was out early, caught behind for just 5.

His time will come for Southgate, hopefully next week at Stanmore and in the meantime he has become welcome and popular addition to the team.

Man in form Tom Edrich (60) was joined by Mike Stevens (30) and the pair looked comfortable against the Bush medium pacers, scoring at a reasonable rate until two good spinners entered the fray and the pace dropped a little.

Mikey was out lbw to one off spinner when the score was 80 and after lunch Tom was out bowled by the other.

The visitor’s overseas player, Tom Felton, proceeded to bowl 24 overs of high quality off spin from the Church end, watched by his visiting parents who thoroughly enjoyed a day at The Walker Ground, at its glorious best, although obviously not so happy with the eventual result.

If Edrich and Stevens had batted well, and they did, then the innings of Arnie Sahota was something else. Having recovered from a minor illness the previous week, he came in to bat at 80-2 and by the time he was fifth out at 267 he had scored a magnificent 113, his first for Southgate.

The innings included 10 x fours and 5 x sixes and he faced just 108 balls.

An excellent effort.

Rob Johnson (27*) and Haydan Morton (23) were able to take good advantage of a tiring bowling attack to enable Faisal to declare at the halfway point. This, of course, meant that even if they couldn’t force a win Southgate would gain 4 points with a ‘winning’ draw.

But outright victory was the goal.

In the absence of the bereaved Mullahzadah brothers, David Woffinden was drafted in to open the bowling and as usual he bamboozled senior Premier League batsmen who had never seen anything quite like it before.

Look at his 1st XI league record, guys !

Here he bowled 8 tidy overs (1-28)and gained the inevitable wicket as one opening bat swept across the line and was lbw.

He then gave way to the inevitable spin combination of Mukesh Bhatt from the bottom end and Ashley Sivarajah from the top, but strangely it took a little time for the spin option to have an effect as Shepherds Bush moved (rather slowly) to 88-1. Two skied catches, one off Mukesh and one off Haydan, who had taken over from Ashley, and the picture changed. It was now a master class of high quality left arm spin from Mukesh in particular who went on to take 5-58 in 23 overs and Haydan ,2-32 in 12 , including one typically brilliant caught and bowled.

Wickets fell regularly and at 158-8 in the 49th over with possibly 14 overs to go (Southgate had managed to bowl extra overs) it all seemed over for the visitors but their last three batsmen fought hard, concentrating on solid defence. Numerous lbw appeals were turned down by resolute umpires until Captain Faisal returned and had one appeal upheld. Still the resistance continued and even Mukesh seemed relatively’ blockable’ so Faisal turned to young Ashley to bowl the final over.

First ball, clean bowled Sivarajah and another nail-biting victory.

1st XI v Bush
A superb team performance from the 1st XI. Left to right: Ashley Sivarajah, Tom Edrich, Haydan Morton, Mukesh Bhatt, Cameron Steel, Faisal Mir, Ayush Sahota, Michael Stevens, David Woffinden, Rob Johnson, Luke Hutton

 

Strange season for the Bush. Front runners early doors (that’s a footballing expression, by the way!) with four consecutive victories and then into freefall with six consecutive defeats.

Ever the optimist, Robert Cole, a glass half empty expert if ever there was one, announced that we are now safe………………….this as everybody else was celebrating moving into 4th place in The Premier Division.

Of course, he’s actually totally correct. We can be 99% certain of Premier Division cricket next year.

So, well played lads.

Peter Jouning

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 13.26.53

 

2nd XI grab 8th win

Southgate 2nds 216-8 (50) Hutton 45, Woffinden 48*

Harrow 2nds 97-all out (37.2) Elders 5-17, Telang 4-8

Scorecard

Despite a late intervention from the weather, Southgate 2nds excelled with both bat and ball on the way to an impressive 8th win in 9 games.

Captain Faruqi lost the toss and we were sent in to bat in pleasant weather conditions. Harrow’s first breakthrough came after a steady 22 runs from the initial 10 overs when their opening seamer trapped O’Leary, soon followed by the wicket of Joseph. Remaining opener Durgarcharan (31) continued his good start before the same bowler claimed his third scalp of the Trees top order. Solid contributions from Khan (27) and Telang (23) kept the scoreboard ticking but some direct bowling from Harrow’s second change spinner bowled the pair of them leaving Southgate with work to do at 99 for 5.

In came bearded hipster Luke Hutton whose batting looked anything but edgy as he began to steady the Southgate ship with some nice strokes through the covers. Lynch joined him at the crease and looked to improve the run rate but was struck plumb in front, making way for the experienced Woffinden. A quickfire 38 run partnership from 5 overs ended when Hutton (45) was caught going for one too many. Woffinden continued to push as the rest of us, including Bellwood at the other end, watched on. At 180 for 8, Skipper Faruqi (16 no) joined Woffinden (48 no), taking 36 from the next 5 overs before declaring on 216 for 8 from 50 overs. A good total posted, but Southgate were by no means out of sight.

The sun continued to shine as we tucked in to tea and following a tame scrap over the last Jammy Dodger, the factor 50 was applied and we headed out to defend our total. I opened with my signature strategy of bowling everywhere but at the stumps for the first couple of overs before finally getting on with the job, while Woffinden kept things tight at the other end. The wickets of both openers taken by two straight ones from myself, one bowled and one LBW. Hutton came on and was unlucky not to dismiss Harrow’s charismatic, footloose wicketkeeper (21) when the great British summer time began to show its true colours. After 16 overs and the score at 30-odd for 2, the heavens opened and heavy rain suspended play and threatened to settle in for the rest of the day.

The outfield may have been thoroughly dampened but Southgate spirits certainly weren’t and the boys were running out at the first sign of easing up. Once Lynch had finished showing off his school disco knee slides we were ready to go again. By now Harrow’s mood had changed and they were now looking to bat out for the draw, but the Trees had other plans. On came Faruqi and Telang to showcase some superb spin and variation.

Consequently, the wickets soon came tumbling. Faruqi with just the one before taking himself off to be replaced by myself. From there, Telang and I made light work of the rest of Harrow’s batting, dismissing the last 5 wickets (all bowled) for just 22 runs. Telang with another set of incredible figures of 4 for 8 from 8.2 overs and I claimed my first 5-wicket haul for Southgate for 17 runs from 11 overs.

Come rain or shine, Southgate 2nds march on and maintain a strong grasp of the top spot in the league table. Well played boys.

Ben Elders

1st XI Snatch last over victory at Richmond

SOUTHGATE 1st XI 233-8 (66 overs)

Phil Dunnett 66

 

RICHMOND 1st XI 221 all out (44.5 overs) 

Abhishek Jhunjhunwala 103, Ben Compton 82

Rashid Mullahzadah 4-27

Scorecard

Sometimes this wonderful game of cricket surprises even a wizened old campaigner like me.

At two separate junctures Southgate had totally lost this game and Richmond were poised to go top of the Premier League. In the end victory off the penultimate ball of the day saw Southgate move up to fifth in the table with Richmond still in third.

Celebrations begin after Saturday's thrilling win at Richmond
Celebrations begin after Saturday’s thrilling win at Richmond

The first difficult time for Southgate was after 35 overs when they were 105-5 with no top end batsmen remaining and only the ‘tail’ to follow. At this point Phil Dunnett and Rashid Mullahzadah joined forces in a brilliant rearguard action, taking no chances, running well between the wickets and adding 91.

Phil (66) celebrated his 25th birthday in some style and played his best 1st XI league innings for the Club and Rashid (33) played with considerably more circumspection than usual (that’s a compliment by the way!)

Dunnett goes to 50

The Richmond all-round bowling attack, in my opinion , was the best we have seen this season and Tom Hemingway , their off spinner who up until this match had taken 23 league wickets at just 8.00 apiece, was treated with a high level of skill and concentration by Phil and Rashid.

Farhad, at number 10, made a quickfire 21 not out (10 balls), including 18 off the last over fromfiery fast bowler David Burton.

Cricket at its’ best. Fast bowler hits batsman on shoulder with bouncer. Batsman hits bowler for a four and two sixes in consecutive balls in the final over, in the middle of which are some serious verbals between the two.

End of innings the two combatants shake hands and walk off smiling.

Northamptonshire CCC Photocall
Richmond CC Quickie David Burton

As it turned out that last over, the 66th, proved vital when you consider the eventual winning margin.

In the Richmond reply Rashid took two early clean bowled wickets and the home side were 14-2. Then begun a magnificent partnership between Compton (82) and Jhunjhunwala (103) which at 162-2 took their team to the brink of victory. At this point Southgate heads were down, a couple of dropped catches, some ‘buzzers’ and, to be honest , a little lethargy in the field, and when Haydan trapped Jhunjhunwala lbw there was little celebration as the result seemed inevitable. Jhunjhunwala’s innings was so good they named him twice, but despite having played in the IPL in India he was averaging 4.5 in the league up until this point.

His innings today though was different class.

Former Rajasthan Royals Batsman Abhishek Jhunjhunwala hit 103 from 103 balls
Former Rajasthan Royals Batsman Abhishek Jhunjhunwala hit 103 from 103 balls

Compton, a much steadier type of batsman, continued his careful way but wickets began to fall quite regularly to left arm spinners Haydan Morton (3-53) and Mukesh Bhatt (3-60), who were effectively ‘buying’ their wickets

as Richmond continued to search for victory in their 45 overs. (Incidentally, at this point I would make the point that it is a ridiculous league rule, that due to a couple of rain interruptions one side, Southgate, batted for 66 overs whilst the other side had only 45 !)

Compton was eighth out at 219 and suddenly Southgate sensed their chance of victory and Rashid was brought back to bowl the final over with Richmond by now looking to save the match with a draw.

Fourth ball. Big shout from the whole team. Out lbw.

Next ball to be received by their last batsman, who had bowled 20 nagging overs earlier (0-39) and was hoping to celebrate HIS birthday happily by saving the game for his team.

Rashid, however, became a bit of a party pooper, bowled the perfect yorker, stumps went flying and Rashid continued his run 50 yards to the Richmond outfield before completing a perfect ‘Klinsmann’ dive closely followed by ten other Klinsmanns creating one large mass of white on the green turf.

Unlike the West Indians in the recent World Cup however, all eleven rose from the ground and ran over to shake hands with the opposition batsmen and the umpires.

A game to remember.

Well played Southgate !

Peter Jouning