Indian Gymkhana CC - 217-6 (55 overs)
Southgate CC - 152-5 (45 overs)
The team arrived to the Walker in fine fettle carrying only a minimal number of hangovers on the hottest day of the year. At the time we had an inkling this would be the hottest day we’d played on and research confirmed it was 6°C warmer than hottest June day ever in this correspondent’s home town.
In such conditions the plan was clear – win the toss, bat and sit in the shade of the gazebo (a far finer erection than the proposed padel court). Skipper Jez duly bottled the toss despite advice from Ricky to “think about it” and we were sent reluctantly into the sun to field.
Despite the pitch offering little, Pranay and Liam started excellently with the ball bowling tight lines and steady lengths. Early wickets were to be key but catches went down as fielders wilted in the heat. Pranay eventually got the breakthrough to break a turgid opening stand of 47. Now our spinners in Ed and Ricky started to operate from both ends wheeling away in the sun. It was at this stage the game started to get quite dull. Despite clearly being in the ascendancy against a side below them in the league Indian Gym showed little urgency in this phase and as the game drifted towards the midway point little changed. Pranay came back on from the other end to complete what ended up as a herculean 19 over spell. The Indian Gym number 4, “Aditya Archiya” looked the pick of their players with the bat and went positively to a nice 44 which included a particularly spicy 6 over extra cover. As they batted past 50 overs (yawn) Ed and Pranay restricted them to 20ish from the extra 5 overs and we came off feeling like holding them to 217 was a good effort on the day but that if we had taken our catches it could have been different.
Most of the team used the break to be hosed down in an attempt to regulate their temperature. Teas, as seems to be par for the course this year at home, were excellent.
With Lynch promoted to open in the hopes of facing some seam he was trapped LBW early by the offspin of the increasingly ever present Archiya. Max sadly followed for a golden duck to what can only be described as a jaffa. It became increasingly clear that Archiya was an excellent bowler and on a slowing and drying pitch scoring off him proved to be fraught with risk. He bowled unchanged in his first spell for 17 overs 4-34 and effectively ruined the game. Quite why Archiya, with a bowling average of 14 and batting average of 78 for Indian Gym’s 2s over 9 seasons, finds himself in the 2nd XI I’m not sure. Thoughts of the winning draw target of 178 faded quickly and when Declan and Adeel fell for grafting 30s it was time to shut up shop. Indian Gym made no effort to dangle the carrot or set funky fields and seemed content to drift to 5 points. After some solid blocking to put it beyond doubt Bellwood (25*) and Pranay (42* and excellent value from his match fee) enjoyed themselves in the last 5 overs to bring a smile to side-lines and smite a few runs.
Although denying them a win brought some satisfaction it was hard to see the day as much more than a waste of sun cream and chance to learn some of the more exotic Hindi swear words. Some solace was found the next day as England thrashed a hapless Indian side at Edgbaston in front of several Southgate members.
Unfortunately results went against us as the Brondesbury side we rolled for a hundred last week were able to pile up 314-2 vs Eastcote and jump us by 1 point leaving us back in the relegation spots but less than 2 wins behind 2nd place in league where there seems to be only one consistent side. Next week vs Harrow St Marys is a huge game and gives us the chance for a 3rd leapfrogging win of the season.