Southgate 2nd XI 196-9 dec (50 overs)
McLoughlin 63, Uppal 43, Oduwole 40
winning draw over Kenton 2nd XI 192-7 (50 overs)
In contrast to the week before we now had a must win, bottom of the table clash at the Walker Ground against Kenton. A shocking week for availability at the top of the club had left stand in skipper Lynch with a young side and the knowledge that he’d be down to 10 men from 5pm.
Lynch packed his failures into the day early by losing the toss, being inserted and promptly being clean bowled. Uppal, getting a nosebleed at number 3, joined Christian and they commenced possibly the largest partnership of the season for the 2s as Ricky’s deflections were matched by some brutal hitting from McLoughlin as they piled on over a 100 together. A notable oddity was that all of the top 3 were denied boundaries down the ground either by hitting the stumps or the umpire at the non-striker’s end. In the 25th over Kenton finally brought on their hybrid spin/ seamer that had caused us issues in the reverse fixture and it became clear the game was going to change. Uppal and McLoughlin both fell and were followed by Bellwood and Mitchell as our tormentor bagged 4 quick ones to leave us teetering on the brink.
Rain came and we took an early tea. Thanks to Doug Gordon for sorting teas on the day whilst our regular caterers were away.
Clearly, the selection of sandwiches, cakes, crisps and fruit nourished us sufficiently as our fears of collapse on the side-line proved unfounded. A swashbuckling, dual-left hand partnership from debutant Waleed and a particularly flamboyant Babs got us moving again. Thoughts of going past 50 overs as Babs and Waleed were smashing it fell away as both went down to the hybrid spinner who ended up with 7fer as we spluttered to 196 in 50 declared.
Knowing that Ricky was leaving us meant that intensity levels were high as we raced through our first 15 overs with Thompson and Ricky each snaring a wicket and going at under 2 an over. After delivering his 7th over Ricky left the field and we were down to 10 men.
Naturally with the gaps scoring became easier and after fantastic 9 over spell Thompson was relieved by Sage leaving Sage and Harvey to operate end to end for the next 20 overs. Sage was able to find control without penetration whilst Harvey provided quite the opposite, picking up the key wickets whilst leaking runs. As the run rate required approached 6 an over Alan Bawah took over from Ed when the latter lost his radar and Alan produced an ice cool death spell delivering his accurate left armers for only 4 an over. Sage wheeled away from the other end and we picked up another couple of wickets as the rate climbed towards 10s and 12s. With 14 needed off the last our Jofra Archer stand in, Sage, delivered two dots before being struck for a very, very large bomb up the hill to keep it interesting as we squeaked to the winning draw by 4 runs in the end.
Unfortunately, other results didn’t go our way leaving us with a mountain to climb to safety but a performance which saw four players reach their highest 2nd XI score and match defining spells from two teen aged bowlers gives us hope for the future and selection headaches for the returning skipper.