Southgate 240-4 (45.4 overs)
Creese 111 not out
A heroic all round effort from Matt Creese led Southgate CC first XI to a handsome victory on Saturday away to Harrow Town.
The outfield was rapid and the boundaries small, and having won another toss Southgate’s bowlers and fielders faced up to a ferocious assault from opening batsmen Abid Javed.
Having failed miserably to defend something in the realms of 280 in the last match of 2010 we were prepared for bit of pongo but this had the potential to take the game away from us very quickly.
Bowlers were rotated but the result was the same with a boundary or two each over and the total reached 100 in the 17th over.
Despite this opening salvo, the Southgate attack maintained their concentration and the captain maintained his belief that 1 wicket would change the momentum in the match. 23 overs in and the brakes were gradually applied and by the 26th over Captain Vic Jadenath was back in the shed caught and bowled by Creese. The explosive Javed moving to an excellent hundred but Creese had settled into a spell which was to change the game.
Matt’s 10th over cost him 10 runs but at this stage he still had the highly respectable figures of 3-42 with Javed in the back pocket, smartly grabbed at extra cover by Chatty to leave the hosts 177-3 after 34.
Faisal had worked very hard indeed to restrict the scoring from the opposite end while Matt maintained a disciplined line and length and together they applied pressure to the HTCC batsman causing mistakes, errors in judgement and wickets.
Faisal deserved something for his efforts and duly received an LBW, this was quickly followed by another Creese return catch and at the 38 overs mark Town had lost 5 wickets.
The momentum had been wrestled back by Southgate and one at a time the Harrow Town batsmen were dismissed, stumped Dunnett, bowled, caught Hadgie at long on, bowled and then caught Alvin at long off.
HTCC all out for 239 in 49.5 overs when 275 looked a par score, and bowling figures of 17.5 overs, 3 maidens, 9 for 65 to Matt Creese.
Considering two weeks ago he’d been completely out of sorts with the ball and low on confidence, he’d taken 16 for 113 in 32.1 overs in two games and we had a chance.
Batting second is our preference but considering no side had scored more than 200 against us in the league this was unchartered water in 2011.
Harrow’s new ball attack was a testing one with their veteran Pakistani formerly of Kenton, Karachi and somewhere in the Birmingham league making the ball talk. Alvin was again sawn off LBW and Watto out to one that looked a better shout so at 22-2 we were at the foot of an uphill struggle.
Enter Creese at 3 wearing hiking boots and Mir at four on turbocharged quad bike. This year the dynamic duo have dug us out of trouble memorably against Brentham and again against Highgate. After their good work earlier in the day with the ball it was now time for another magnificent partnership with the bat.
Faisal announced himself with a flat hook shot for 6 and played at his scintillating best with a back foot punch arguably the shot of the match. Creesey was in the bubble, determined, patient, watching the ball closely and manoeuvring it into the gaps. Occasional bad balls were put away with crisp efficiency and he reached a well deserved 50 which kept us up with the rate and in the game. Faisal was equally impressive and moved to a high quality 53 at a similar fluent rate. As the Harrow Town spinners began to find a line and length scoring became more difficult and Faisal was annoyed at himslelf to be bowled dabbing a sharply turning off-break with 95 still to get inside the last 19.
The spinners were tidy and one of them had a doosra of sorts, but Chathuranga at number 5 wasn’t bothered by that and rotated the strike skilfully to allow Matt plenty of the bowling. His craftly 16 in a partnership of 52 provided the ideal foil and when he went caught, Phil Dunnett was sent in with similar instructions, look for the single and give Matt as much strike as possible, be there at the end.
Matt’s a fit lad, but even he was now blowing a bit and the chance for a lapse of concentration was always there, but it never came. What did come was the sort of acceleration we needed to take the game away from Harrow Town. On 99, amid much subtle encouragement along the lines of, ‘keep batting’, ‘get them in singles’, ‘don’t slog the spinner’, Matt hit the single that took him to a magnificent and memorable ton.
This wasn’t an easy innings, this wasn’t a pushover. This was competitive cricket, a key game and a chase of 240 on a tricky day and against some tricky bowling away from home, this was a proper knock.
When Dunnett had gone in we needed 43 to win and his 16 not out was important for him and the team, getting a side over the line chasing takes a lot of determination and composure, seeing what Creese did at close quarters would be an education to any cricketer.
To my knowledge it’s a first in the Middlesex League to score a ton and take 9 wickets in the same match and I’ll wager no-one has done it for Southgate, one for Ricky to confirm in due course.
Regardless of that, the weight of this contribution, in terms of this season may only be judged in a month or so.
Many text messages were sent and praise was duly forthcoming from across Europe, Jamie Jouning on holiday in France was on the edge of his seat, Allan (T) was jubilant at a wedding in Poland and Hartman from his Cottage in Holland immediately stated that he was personally commissioning a Bust of Matt Creese to be made immediately, with an Oil Painting to follow.
Ten points at this stage of proceedings was vital and I hope allows us to approach Saturday’s home match with confidence. Sadly for us ML Creese can’t be with us but I challenge everyone playing for us on Saturday to raise their game.
Brentham 191 all out
Brentham are always a handful and so proved on Saturday with Southgate required to hang on for a gritty draw against their 4th placed rivals.
Having won the toss once again I had little hesitation in fielding but despite excellent bowling from our Sri Lankan maestros and a couple of early breakthroughs there was some steely resistance from the Brentham middle order and a couple of scores over 60. It wasn’t flamboyant but they stuck in and batted time which allowed them to get into the realms of a competitive score.
After a scratchy month with the ball Creesey settled into a good spell which eventually brought back his confidence not to mention the rich rewards of a 7 wicket haul no less. He kept it simple and pushed it through which worked well on a painfully slow a used wicket.
We were slightly bemused by Brentham’s ploy of playing out the 55 with out having much of a bash but they finished on 191 which would be good chase if they bowled well.
The opening attack for Brentham did a really good job, bowled intelligently and gave us very little to hit, this combined with plenty of noise, some well channelled aggression and some total nonsense put our batsman firmly under pressure.
We were unable to break the stranglehold and only Creese looked at all fluent, but no-one else really stuck with him long enough to counter attack properly and we slipped badly behind the rate.
With the introduction of left arm spin we briefly accelerated with Matt starting to move up through the gears and punish some loose stuff. Perhaps with good support from the lads down the order Matt could have biffed us up to 163 and 4 points but he uncharacteristically ran past a straight one and we were doomed. A bowling change however to their 2nd left arm spinner had worked and he sneaked in with 4 for next to nothing and to be fair ragged it.
Resplendent with newly acquired ‘Mongoose’ batting gloves Arshad strode out at number 11 with the job of seeing us to a miserable 1 point but importantly denying Brentham of a full 10. With the entire Brentham team crowding him he saw off 6 balls and with Jeremy facing the next 5 from the seamer they managed to scramble a cheeky leg bye to ensure Jez faced the spinner for the last over of the day, this was negotiated without incident and we live to fight another day.
Ultimately as was the case against Enfield two steady scores of 60 odd contributed to a potentially match winning position bowling second, we must take note. We must also practice as hard as we can before next week against Harrow Town, this side of our preparation has dropped away completely and is showing in our overall cricket but specifically our batting and fielding. We need to put this season to bed and will only do that with a little more effort mid week to get ourselves fully ready.
4th XI v Kenton IV
Kenton IV 207 for 6 dec (48 overs)
Southgate 88 all out (38.5 overs)
Kenton (10 pts) won by 119 runs
Historical note: a “first” for the back ground was the inconvenient removal of three pitch covers, but thanks to the Kenton players, this was satisfactorily achieved. They may even have been impressed …!
For the second match running we fielded only ten players. As any contemporary skipper does these days, on winning the toss we put them in. However, this was not in order to control the game after tea but to give the opposition a chance to enjoy a game of cricket, unlike the oppo in our 9 wicket defeat a fortnight ago.
In that respect the plan was successful, although for the first 24 overs we restricted Kenton to two runs an over at the expense of one wicket (caught almost predictably by Matthew Dias at mid-on) while Alex Habberley and Ford Roy sustained quite an accurate attack. Heroes are only human and they gave way to our three 14-year-olds, a 15 year-old, and ageing juvenile Alan Rolt. Although Alfie Packer picked up two wickets it was Rolty who caused a minor panic in the ranks with 2-12 in four overs. Their best batsman was also a bowler so his arrival at 7 was a result of giving lesser mortals a chance up the order but his rapid 64 saw our fleeting interest in the game slip inexorably away as they finally passed the 200 mark.
In reply, we lost Matt early, Ricky stuck around for a bit (18) and Mel considerably longer (42 not out). No-one else achieved double figures although Marcello crashed two fours (to augment his two earlier catches) and with nine down, the innings was over at 88.
Too fed up to even consider reinstating the covers – but it didn’t look like rain.
Sunday XI v Old Owens.
Southgate 174 for 5 (30 overs)
Old Owens 177 for 3 (23 overs)
Old Owens won by 5 wickets.
In terms of the game, only 8 turned up (no Sultani or Delmore). The opposition had the same problem so we decided on 9 a side with a sub fielder. Won the toss, batted first. In our 30 overs got 174-5. Tom Edrich got 109* retired so Will Dias batted last over. Alfie Packer also batted well for 26*.
Everyone bar Tom bowled, no one brilliantly. Josh Berman and Matt Dias were the better two. Unfortunately, they had a West Indian lad who whacked it to all corners. 177-3 in 23 overs. We could’ve won if it weren’t for him, he just sped them up way too much for us!!
Both captains were in agreement that it was a bit embarrassing and shambolic with only 8 a side, and a club like Southgate should be doing better than that. Can’t just rely on lads under 17. Need a few more experienced 2s and 3s players or you might as well not bother with the games.
The Hertgate Trophy
Southgate 244 all out (Chatty Kumara 57, Dan Ashley 50, Tom Edrich 40, Raymond Bynoe 29, Adam Vinson 22) off 53.4 overs
Hertford 215 all out (Adrian Carr 5-50, Phil Dunnett 2-10, Raymond Bynoe 2-55) off 58.5 overs
Southgate CC won by 29 runs and retain the Hertgate Trophy
In 1995 to celebrate the one hundredth meeting between the two sides, Bob Cole (our President that year) presented the ‘Hertgate Trophy’ to be played for in all day game on an annual basis between the two clubs. When Hertford organised a Cricket Week in 2008 (to celebrate 125 years of cricket at Balls Park) we were invited to play the first game of the Cricket Week for the Hertgate Trophy. The first three games have produced at total of over 1,750 runs – with Southgate scoring 357, 286 and 267 respectively – and we have been victorious by the ever decreasing margins of 40 runs, 16 runs and 8 runs.
Even though some of the previous combatants were unavailable – a week before the game a squad of twelve had been assembled. We then had a ‘work commitments’ cry off which took us down to bare eleven, and a day later, as I had been offered the services of the Club’s new Barbadian, Jeremy Dangerfield was allowed to negotiate his release. Finally there was just one cry off as a result of injury on the Saturday (a pleasant change from recent years!!), and my thanks to Ricky Gunn, who arranged an excellent replacement.
During the rain on the previous Thursday at Lords, Bob – in panic mode – offered an opinion “…you know we don’t have to bat first at Hertford…” and the Match Manager almost had a heart attack as this went against everything he had ever learned at the Robert Urquhart Cole’s ‘School of Captaincy’ during the 1980’s when it was preached that you could control a (declaration) game by batting first. For the second year running Chris Thompson (who captained the opposition in both 2008 and 2009) was not playing, so we were pleased to see Bob’s old friend Cliff Cavener (still playing for Hertford’s First XI in the Home Counties Division One East) in charge of the opposition, although it mattered little, as we won the toss and decided to bat.
Two of our five teenagers – Tom Edrich and Raymond Bynoe (recently arrived from Barbados) -accumulated steadily before Tom was dismissed for 40 in the twenty first over, quickly followed by Scott Ellis. You will have heard of the ‘commentator’s curse’ – well our version was the ‘match manager’s curse’, as they brought Brad Dawson, a thirteen year old seamer, into the attack against our two overseas players. No sooner had the phrase “…I bet Bob gives one of these two out lbw to the little lad…” been uttered, than next ball he did – leaving us at 89 for 3. Twenty minutes later, when Shiv-raj Sharma was out, and lunch was fast approaching; Dan Ashley was concerned that yet again he might suffer the ignominy of a first baller in the two minutes before lunch. Fortunately for Dan, Bob Cole was hungry and he removed the bails at 115 for 4.
After lunch we had a treat in store as Chatty and Danno scored 91 in ten overs, but they were both out in the same over. Mention must be made of Dan Ashley, who scored his 50 off just 27 balls – not having picked up a bat since the 2010 season!! I had hoped that our 2009 century opening partnership of Alvin Durgacharan and Phil Dunnett – batting at seven and eight – would take us to a significant score and prompt a declaration, but when Alvin was adjudged lbw, it was left to Adam Vinson and Geoff Blackmore to bat a little longer so that we would not have to bowl seventy plus overs back. No sooner had Adam’s entertaining knock of 22 come to an end, than Sage played four one handed shots (just like the winning six at the Hill around twenty years ago!!) but he did not connect with any of the four balls and was eventually bowled.
As Hertford did not open with their first XI players, Chatty was saved for later (albeit he was never used) and the new ball was entrusted to Phil and Adam. In his fourth over Phil made the initial breakthrough, with a low catch behind the stumps by Scott Ellis. Then in his next over Alvin took a catch at second slip. At this point we could not keep Alvin out of the game as he then ran out their number four and then caught their opener off Raymond via Scott’s deflection. With Hertford at 32 for 4 and tea fast approaching, the decision to bat first (and control the game) had been justified whatever Bob’s views were the week before!!
Some of the younger members of our side were a little ‘perplexed’ by the captain’s team talk in the obligatory on field ‘huddle’ after tea. The view that “…we could probably bowl the opposition out for less than 100, but this is a social all day game, and I’m not going to force the opposition to have to attempt to ‘block’ at 80 for 9…”. Despite some blank looks, he added “…however, when they’re at 180 for 9, we’ll start by encouraging them to go for it, and if that fails, by blasting them out – make no mistake we’re here to win…”.
Sam Pavey and Pat Stokes led Hertford’s fight back and during this partnership, Sage decided to overtake the Match Manager in a chase to the boundary – but as he did not save any runs, it was totally pointless, even if many thought it amusing!! When they had taken the score to 86, Sage had Stokes brilliantly caught at slip by Raymond. Then when he bowled Pavey – followed by the obligatory ‘fist pumping’ celebration – some members of our team thought it a little ‘over the top’, but there was more to come.
This brought Cliff Cavener, Hertford’s skipper, to the wicket, and he and Hesh Abeywickrema (Ashley Sivarajah’s friend) took advantage of our attacking fields whilst adding 60 runs in ten overs. Despite the score now being 155 for 6 with twenty one overs to bowl, we were still ‘in control’ of the game – even if that control was being challenged by Cavener who had scored ten boundaries.
Our re-introduction of Sage paid immediate dividends as within three overs Cliff Cavener’s cameo ended in Tom’s safe pair of hands and Hesh’s innings was ended by Danno’s superb diving catch at extra cover. However as Hertford now required around four an over for the last fifteen overs (my mythical 180 for 9 was actually 180 for they believed they were still in with a chance and James Frost’s 33 off 27 balls meant they were. However, Raymond then had him caught by Alvin (his third catch of the innings) and this brought Brad Dawson to the wicket. Two fours in his first three balls meant that they were still playing for the win. Two overs late Sage bowled young Brad and completed a Southgate victory by 29 runs. However, this time Sage’s ‘fist pumping’ celebration brought public rebukes from his captain and both umpires.
Bob Cole presented ‘his’ Hertgate Trophy to the winning captain. This means that we have won the Trophy eleven times in seventeen years, having lost five games, with a ‘no contest’ in 2004. There have been some fantastic games in that time – but no draws – and this was yet another excellent contest between two (relatively) evenly matched sides. Yet again, our side only had four players the ‘wrong’ side of thirty, with four teenagers – Shiv-raj, Phil, Tom, Chatty and Raymond – in the side, and this contributed to an excellent performance in the field led by Scott Ellis behind the stumps. Can I say a big ‘thank you’ to all of the side for playing in the fixture, and of course to Bob Cole and Geoff Burton, for umpiring and scoring, respectively. Finally, of course, we must yet again, thank the players, officials and supporters of Hertford Cricket Club for their fantastic hospitality.
Ron left me in charge of the Bugle and we seem to have gone without reports for the 2s victory last week and also the 3s match. I hope these will be fothcoming later in the week along with the latest reports.
Stay tuned Bugle Fans!