Hampstead 201 for 8 (45 overs)
Shoaib Zulfiqar 3-39
Southgate 80 all out (18.1 overs)
J Dangerfield lost the toss and as we would have done Hampstead chose to bat on a flat looking pitch with the sun shining.
Lacking a front line seamer, the off spin partnership of M Cox (9-0-1-28) and R Uppal (5-0-2-35) shared the new ball. The former bowled with excellent control, but the Hampstead openers took advantage of the loose deliveries that came their way along with a short and very fast downhill boundary.
M De Crescenzo (8-2-1-25) came on first change, took our first wicket and bowling in tandem with Cox and later E Harvey (5-0-0-24) pegged Hampstead back. As we broke for drinks at 15 overs the run rate was a little over 4 but we’d only taken 1 wicket. Hampstead ticked over in a similar manner for the next 15 overs and would’ve been in a very strong position had S Zulfiqar (9-0-3-39) not taken 2 wickets in 2 balls just before the second drinks at 30 overs.
Captain J Dangerfield shuffled his bowlers and fielders really effectively throughout the innings and Hampstead never kicked on as they might’ve done with the wickets they had in hand. W Khan (9-1-1-37) bowled handily in the middle and at the death and R Uppal snared two victims in his second spell. As Hampstead tried to accelerate in the latter stages of the innings wickets began to fall more frequently and restricting them to 201-8 in the batting friendly conditions was reward for a good all round bowling and fielding display.
Tea was decent, chicken wings the highlight.
W Khan and S Zulfiqar opened the batting and the former was trapped lbw by the first ball of the second over. That bought M Joseph to the crease and he and Shoaib enjoyed the conditions for a time, moving the score to 40-1 after 7 overs at which point the required total seemed very achievable. Unfortunately the bowler who had dismissed Waqas, B Williams, then took 3 wickets in an over – S Zulfiqar and R Miscampbell falling lbw and J Dangerfield clean bowled. Then having watched this unfurl from the non striker’s end M Joseph was given lbw to gift H Peterson his only wicket. When M Hughes was clean bowled in Williams’ next over it meant we’d slumped from 41-1 to 44-6 in the space of 3 overs. The left arm inswing of B Williams proved too much for us and we were all out for 80 inside 20 overs with him finishing on 9-1-7-36. He bowled very well and certainly some of the wickets fell to good deliveries, but we could have played him better.
The game was over in time for kick-off in the FA cup final, but thankfully we’d avoided the royal wedding coverage.
So on the surface we were gubbed by 120 runs, but I don’t think that tells the whole story. Our bowling against their batting was a very even contest and you could possibly even say we were the happier side at the break. Had one of our top 3 made a 50 – which they’re all more than capable of doing – the chase would’ve been very different and we could’ve won the game. I thoroughly believe our 2nd team belong at this level and are more than capable of getting the 4 or 5 wins we’ll need to stay up. But to do so we’re going to have to graft and scrap and ride out periods of play in which we’re on the back foot, which we haven’t really had to do for the past 2 seasons or so.