Eastcote 313-5 (50 overs)
Southgate 215 -5 (52 overs)
Eshaun Dass 83*, Daragh Edwards 50*
There are batting ‘ roads’, and when coupled with very short boundaries and extreme heat, they can become batting ‘motorways’.
Eastcote won the toss and took advantage of such ideal batting conditions.
Southgate neither bowled nor fielded particularly badly, but the runs kept flowing.
From a distance, however, it was an honour to watch a potential superstar in action with the advent of 15 year old, Atharva Prasad, who scored a magnificent 164. His innings was quite extraordinary for someone so young and it was a shame that Mark Ramprakash, who made a fleeting visit to the ground later on, was not able to see the innings, but no doubt he is already in the eyes of the County.
One particular shot, late in the innings, when he smote Luke Hutton for six off the front foot, over extra cover with elbow high, to a ball fractionally short of a length, will live in the memory.
Southgate never wilted in the heat but it clearly had its effect on the early batsmen, because, apart from Shoaib Zulfiqar, who scored a quickfire 31, the score after 20 overs was 78-5, with captain Dunnett also off the pitch with a badly damaged wrist, effectively the sixth wicket.
Then another near cricketing miracle occurred, of a rather different kind, as Shaun Dass (83*) and Darragh Edwards (53*) batted through 33 overs, over two hours, to save the game for their team.
Eastcote tried everything, leg spin, a mini-bouncer barrage from their quickest bowler (the one who injured Phil) and their captain even tried some old-fashioned ‘lob’ bowling and nearly succeeded as Darragh became a little confused, but a quick word from Shaun and he settled down.
As Eastcote brought their fielders closer and closer to try to trap the pair, they each responded by hitting a series of sixes towards the end of the innings.
A really remarkable stand by two young players which secured a point for their team but more importantly stopped the home team from obtaining ten points which would have put them within distance of Southgate in the league.
The stand of 137 equalled the highest ever Southgate 1stXI League 6thwicket stand between Matt Creese and Stuart Tohill against Stanmore in 1999.