Southgate 176-7 (55 overs) Uxbridge 106-9 (46 overs)
Southgate enjoyed a ’moral’ victory against the league leaders,Uxbridge, gaining five points for the faster scoring draw, but unfortunately fellow promotion hopes, Wembley, won, so that Southgate are still in 3rd position.
The visitors won the toss and invited Southgate to bat first on a surprisingly dry wicket.
A top class opening attack proved to be highly successful as after 13 overs Southgate were 14-2, with Murray and Jouning deceived by high quality bowling. Matt Stratten and Tom Edrich repaired the situation, but there was little on offer, either from the opening pair or the following pair of seamers.
At the drinks break the home side were 54-2, still only scoring at two runs per over, but captain Edrich (23) in defensive mode, helped Stratton add 93 before he was fooled by the guile of former Southgate player, Micky Stafford, now aged 65, and was bowled.
Phil Dunnett followed the captain in identical style, whilst Stratten (78) played really well, striking the two spinners for two sixes on what was a particularly large boundary.
Surprisingly, Uxbridge elected not to bring back their opening bowlers, relying on spin and maybe it was a mistake as Luke Hutton (28), with a little help from Darragh Edwards(12*) took advantage and enabled Southgate to reach a reasonable final score of 176.
It was considered that, despite the presence of their two outstanding batsmen, their captain and their Australian ‘overseas’, this would not be an easy target, and it was going to be interesting to see how Uxbridge would play the game.
Would they go for victory or would they play for 4 points for a draw.
Whatever their plans were they weren’t prepared for the mighty Woffers.
Bowling the perfect pace on this wicket David Woffinden truly bamboozled the majority of the Uxbridge batsmen, and finished with the extraordinary bowling figures of 5-28 in 18 overs.
Ravi Desai, square leg specialist, held two good catches, and bowled possibly his best spell of the season to date; taking 1-15 in 10 very tidy overs of off spin.
The aforementioned Stafford entered the fray with the score at 78-5, and was clearly in defiant mood, defending solidly.
Pace bowlers, Darragh and Pranay returned and were both successful, taking a wicket each, and as the eight wicket fell at 98 there was great hopes of an important victory.
However, Stafford, 3 in 46 balls and the Uxbridge ‘keeper, 4 in 36 balls, held out and their backs to the wall defence saved the game.
Another splendid performance by Southgate, without superstar, Mikey Stevens, on the day, proved that this team is now something to be reckoned with.
Wembley next week, which may prove to be the definitive game of the season.