I’m not sure if I have done something in past life to annoy someone or if the gods of cricket are just trying to send me message, but for the third time already this season we just missed out on maximum points – in part thanks to adverse weather. No sooner had we won the toss, we elected to bat, (on what looked like a decent enough track) the heavens opened meaning we started our innings with squelching underfoot conditions. The ball, like the run rate, was going nowhere fast, and it was probably for the best that my rather lamentable innings came to an end trying to pull one past short fine leg.
Kristian stepped into bat with a far more productive strategy of hitting the ball as hard as possible and keeping it off the sodden ground – resulting in a terrific knock that ended just shy of a century (which he richly deserved). Mark plugged away gamely at the beginning, then played some nice boundaries to get his fifty. Due to the fact we took tea slightly early, I can only assume that the extra sausage roll they both had may have slowed them up slightly, as both were run out shortly after play resuming. All in all though an excellent effort to get us up to 203 – especially give our unusually slow start.
Clearly no sausage rolls for the smallfiled opening pair, who looked like they had been on a diet of protein shakes and red bull, as they come out of the blocks firing right away smashing everything in sight off our opening pair Jake and Kevan. It was most unfortunate, as they bowled some really decent deliveries which were hit into the trees for 6. Finally, Kevan manage to bowl a beauty that took out the middle stump of the number one batsman. A change to tack, to their heavy hitter, brought Paarth on who finally dispatched him just before he hit his 50, with a well caught catch from Alec. In fact with Anuj not playing, Paarth stepped brilliant into his shoes, ensuring that the Nagpal name remained top of the table on wicket takers – taking an excellent 4 wickets from his 8.4 overs.
With their top and middle order gone their batting inevitably looked more vulnerable to our bowling attack – with some strong overs delivered from our younger players such as Rhys and, debutant, John Bishop who looked well at home bowling some really nice deliveries and ended up with a wicket and giving away just 13 runs from his 4 overs.
And so by the time their skipper came in at number 11 (looking as nervous as a long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs), they had just a handful of runs to get to seal victory. One the one hand they needed a run, and on the other we needed a wicket – clearly we were all set for the most exciting grandstand finish of a game ever? ……err, well not quite… the last ball was adjudicated wide and they got over the line, talk about damp squib!!
All in all though, despite coming within a whisker of victory, we can’t be too despondent : we bagged a valuable 14 points, despite having a very young side out and are now 3rd in the table. With GCSE’s almost over and with availability improving over the coming weeks the rest of the season looks very positive from where we are today…
Batting – K. Hunt 92, M.Wills 65
Bowling : P. Nagpal 4/30 (8.4)
Notable mention – John Bishop great debut, looked at home playing adult cricket for the first time – well done!