Ealing 228-9 9 (60 overs)…Match Abandoned
For the second week running Southgate were denied a possible victory by heavy rain which caused the abandonment of their home match with Ealing on Saturday.
On the previous Saturday Shepherds Bush were in deep trouble at 73-5 and victory, though not assured, was more than possible.
Against Ealing, a different kettle of fish altogether, but the team performed well in the first half of the game so there was hope, especially as Ealing had a couple of their main bowlers missing.
The day did not begin well as the Ealing openers, using an all out attacking approach raced to 50 off the first 7 overs .
At this moment the Southgate attack looked as ragged as the remnants of the gazebo erected for the MCC v Ireland game the previous day, which blew dangerously in the wind.
However, in direct contrast to the state of the gazebo, the Southgate bowling improved tremendously with the advent of Mukesh Bhatt, bowling from the bottom end and subsequently Ashley Sivarajah who took over from Rashid. The latter had bowled his usual steady spell of 9 overs , 1-40 against a rampant pair of opposition opening batsmen.
Now the mood changed and with lunch taken at 131-3 in 34 overs Ealing, after their rapid start had scored just 81 of the last 27 overs. It should have been four down when, at 118, a simple chance was shelled at silly mid on which would have given the Southgate spinners even more impetus.
After lunch, ironically, because this was arguably the team’s best all round fielding performance of the season so far, a further four mistakes, two hard catches back to Mukesh, a run out opportunity and a stumping were all missed, as Ealing meandered, surprisingly slowly, to their expected declaration. Eventually Mukesh accepted a skied chance off his own bowling, clapping his hands with glee BEFORE the ball had actually reached him.
It was great to see Mukesh (6-85 in 26 overs) and Ashley ( 2-50 in 21 overs) bowling together in perfect harmony.
Southgate’s fielding had been of high standard with Phil Dunnett , having a rare day in the field, quite outstanding with two fine catches, the second of which was quite breathtaking. Ashley, at backward point to Mukesh, too, was brilliant at times.
A good all-round bowling and fielding performance against a strong batting team, three of whom average around 60 in the league this season.
The promised rain came and there was just time for a few of us to dismantle the gazebo before it speared into the wedding party due to arrive later that afternoon.
Sadly, the rain did not subside either for the cricket or the wedding party !