The end is nigh. I have finally won a league game of cricket for Southgate.
We arrived at Kenton with high expectations. A change of leadership was required, seeing Ali Lynch take up responsibilities whilst our captain, leader, legend Jez enjoyed some Croatian sun.
We arrived at Kenton and had multiple de-briefs to accustom ourselves with the local rules. Our warm-up saw a club first – a jogged lap of the whole ground. Sage delighted the crowds by warming up in jeans and slip-ons, the latter causing a comedic slip.
Captain Lynch achieved his main objective by winning the toss and electing to bowl. A wise choice given conditions, the pitch and our lopsided team.
We opened with Nick and newbie Seb. We began positively, with good control producing early success via Seb’s third ball for the club. A deserved wicket for Nick came in the ninth over, trapping the other Kenton opener LBW.
Three quick wickets followed, the first a good catch from Ed from a high ball trapped in a whirlwind. Kenton’s middle order continued to collapse, bringing the score to 33-5.
Some sensible batting from Kenton helped their tally to rattle along, but the introductions of Sage and Babwah brought a flurry of further wickets. In his second over, Liam got one to rise off the surface which was snaffled by Cox at gully, who no doubt had a nosebleed at such a fielding position (but more was to come from the big man).
Sage got two in his first over – the first another good catch from Ed at cow, before Sage yorked their number 7. With the score at 80-8, we were keen to wrap things up quickly and get a win on the board. We were frustrated by a Kenton tail that wagged, moving the score onto 94-9 (which took a good grab from Ed off Coxy) before an excruciating last wicket stand of 55 finally came to an end by Liam. 150 to win.
Teas were average to good, with the nice addition of wedges let down by their cool temperature.
The 2’s lopsided team were desperate for a win and were willing to try different things. So it was that Max and Coxy opened the batting, putting on a great first wicket stand that brought us close to 50. Max was looking fluid as ever, striking the ball to the boundary with ease, whilst Coxy batted with steel to see off the new ball and keep things ticking over.
Coxy was finally removed LBW trying a big flick off his legs. Raj came to the crease off the back of two good innings, but it was like watching a different man bat, with Raj dropped three times (one of which was one of the great dollies at cover) before being put out of his misery with a long hop that somehow bowled him.
Max’s fluency (including one into the tennis courts) was stalled by some good bowling, and was eventually dismissed by a leading edge from a ball going down leg to bring a fine innings of 57 to an end.
Captain Lynch came to the crease looking to get his side over the line, but toed a delicious full toss straight to long-on. Panic followed with Bellwood trapped LBW and Liam rather dubiously given run out.
At 90-odd for 6, Nick and Ed were required to dig in a little. They saw off Kenton’s strike bowler and began to work the ball around, knowing that the rate required was only 3 an over. Nick had the skill to find the (short) boundary when required and to punish the bad balls and Ed moved on from his four ducks in a row by nudging the ball around.
With weaker bowlers introduced into the attack, the 2s began to push towards the total but with the experience of “We’ve been here before” very much in mind. We got over the line following the introduction of a 7th bowler who served up a few generous pies.
A long awaited but deserved victory for the 2s, who are up and running for the season.
E.Harvey, proud winner of a Southgate league match