Eastcote 2nd XI 202/3 beat Southgate 2nd XI 201/8 by 7 wickets
On a humid and notably jumper free day at the Walker ground the 2’s took on Eastcote hoping to get their first win after just falling short of the line the week before.
The well documented availability struggles of week 2 2019 meant that we were welcoming players both new to second team and new to the club into fold. We were also delighted to have Shoaib “The Big Sho” Zulfiqar back from wintering in the Middle East.
Shoaib and Dec opened up and the bookies would have been flummoxed by which of the two raced away fastest as the pair put on a fine start. Dec’s sortie sadly coming to an end to a nice grab in the slips for 28. After Dec’s departure Shoaib found more rhythm and was starting to really murder it around when he finally departed LBW for a strong 60. In the maelstrom an Eastcote player suffered a really nasty split webbing and even after the efforts of Dr Bellwood and Nurse Lynch with the first aid kit on the side lines Eastcote were down to 10 men.
Skipper Jez was accumulating nicely at this point and was joined by newcomers Henry and Kaz who fell respectively to a great catch and a light barbecuing in run out confusion with the skipper. Jez was joined by Bellwood and now with skiddy spin from both ends we were starting to get tied down ultimately leading to a hole out from Jez for a well compiled 41. This brought Lynch to the crease as we drifted into the slog overs. Ollie and Sage both fell in search of further boundaries as we scampered towards 200. The skiddy spinner doing the damage had worked his way to five for as we completed what the batsmen believed was the penultimate over.
A severe and fairly village mix up occurred at this point with many parties at fault. Both umpires appeared to have miscounted the overs by 2 as the book only came to 42 overs at this stage. Eastcote’s young scorer had clearly made some errors but it seemed very unlikely he would have missed 2 full overs. However Southgate were not devoid of blame either as issues with the electronic scoreboard are what had led to the teams taking the umpires count of overs in the first place. Unfortunately the umpires did not agree with the scorer and Douglas Adams’ conclusion that 42 was the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything and a wholly unsatisfactory solution was arrived at to split the difference and bowl 2 more overs. This meant that it is very likely, in this correspondent’s opinion, that we only faced 44 overs in our innings and certain that only 44 overs were recorded in the book. After struggling to get on strike in the bonus over Lynch eventually found his range with a six from the final ball to get us up to 201-8.
Teas were lovely - a fine selection of build your own sandwiches, pasta salad and cakes paired with a delightful squash flight (red, orange and mixed).
We headed out into the field acutely aware we were a bowler light but confident that early wickets and disciplined bowling could make 201 defendable on the 2019-typical Walker Ground road. Unfortunately it was not to be. Despite a fiery opening spell from Feroz where he snared a wicket and support from Parinder up the hill we lost our way somewhat after 10 overs. We bowled a huge number of extras and put down catches. Ollie was notable bright spot keeping well to the wayward bowling despite an injured thumb. Jez shuffled his pack but none of his part timers were able to provide the control required. Sage was steady but Eastcote remained in control. After a radar malfunction in first spell and a difficult day in the field Lewis returned much better for a second spell and picked up a first league wicket for 2’s as the game drifted to a long forgone conclusion.
We were probably 25 short of par on that pitch but sadly the way we bowled would not have let us defend 80 more. Despite 2 defeats in 2 there is vastly different feel this season to last where we were regularly outclassed. Both oppositions thus far have looked very beatable and I am confident as availability improves the points will start to come.