Southgate won the toss and fielded
Harrow Town 118 all out 39.1 overs
Roy Marett 6-27
Southgate 119-2 21 overs
Partha Dave 55 n.o.
Southgate won 10 points
There was definitely excitement in the air for this must win head-to-head promotion decider. We had to win but a draw was good enough for Harrow Town, who had conclusively spanked us by 10 wickets earlier in the season. With rain forecast it was imperative we got on with it and winning the toss was pretty much essential so there was a huge sigh of relief when the coin came down on our side.
Maybe it would be our day? But when three chances went begging in the first few overs maybe it wouldn’t? Then Roy Marett got to work. The first one was an excellent diving, juggling catch by Shiv at midwicket to get rid of the opener who had smashed us at their place. We were on our way and the tumble of wickets continued with an LBW and a slip catch by Partha from one that popped a bit. Roy continued to take the first six wickets with the total on 64. There was talk of all ten (would he have had to change his surname by deed poll to ‘Of the Rovers’ if that had happened?). At the other end Marcello de Crescenzo plugged away with no luck, with a couple of chances going begging. It was time for a change and Shaffick Babwah and Harrison Folland came on. Both were very accurate and difficult to get away and they gradually chipped out a few with the help of tidy catching in the ring by Shiv and Kunjal, to end with two wickets each. This was in direct contrast to a life given to the handy young left handed number 4. He skied one from Shaff that nearly landed on Gordon’s toes at slip. Unfortunately Gordon had vacated the area to allow Christian to take the catch with the gloves. Sadly he hadn’t told Christian this! The youngster was eventually bowled by Harrison for the top score of 34 with the total on 98. All out for under a hundred then? That wouldn’t take into account the problems we’ve had finishing off teams this year (100 for the last two wickets against Wembley) and it was looking like a similar situation for a while as the last two grew in confidence. Nerves set in as the clouds began to gather. Roy came back, but it was Harrsion who had the last man caught for 20 by Ankit at mid on from a flat skimmer that was very droppable. So all out for 118. Marett 15-4-27-6.
As the innings finished a bit early tea wasn’t ready and we turned around straightaway. Harrison Folland went out as a pinch hitter (to get it done in 10 overs) and Partha Dave was told his normal anchor role was not appropriate for the day. The Folland approach lasted only 2.5 overs but in that time we’d got 24 and the momentum was with us. Shivraj Sharma continued in the same vain and we had 58 after 8 overs when he departed. We could afford to take a breath and Ankit Patel settled in as Partha was playing fluently. After an hour it was time for tea, but Harrow Town declined the offer saying they didn’t want to go off and come on again. This was very sporting as they could easily have gone off and waited for rain. There were no more dramas. There was a spinner who was difficult to get away and would have had a strong influence with more runs on the board. But we got to the target after 21 overs with Ankit 27 n.o. and Partha an excellent 55 n.o. at exactly a run a ball.
We had the handshakes and hugs, put away the numbers and flags, walked across to the pavilion and then it started to rain……….