4ths edged out in last ball thriller
On Sunday 23 June, we had our first tie in the T20 plate competition against Ifield 3rds, who currently play in a league several tiers above us so we knew we had our work cutout to be competitive in this tie.
After losing the toss and being put into bat, we lost several early wickets on a soft slow wicket to leave us precariously placed at 19-3 after 6 overs. Up stepped Avi and Will Goodwin to start the rescue mission, with first Will (22) and then Avi (with an impressive 57 off 32 balls) helping us to a defendable 132. They were well supported by Simon, Rohan and Oli, with Simon unfortunately pulling his hamstring after one quick single too many and having to retire hurt. Simon bravely fielded for us despite the injury, they don’t call him Captain courageous for nothing!
The 2nd innings started with the dependable Anuj and Oli tying their batsman down with regular wickets and tight bowling. Some tidy bowling by Rohan and Paarth was followed up by Avi stepping up to centre stage, with a fine bowling performance which produced 4 wickets and only 12 runs off his 4 overs to follow up his 50 and impressive performance on Saturday.
The bowlers were ably assisted by the fielding and catching, with Will in particular patrolling all parts of the boundary with speed and finesse. The match was delicately poised throughout the innings, with tight bowling and regular wickets punctuated by the occasional boundary. This brought us to the last over, with Ifield 7 wickets down requiring 10 runs required and Paarth bowling for us. Some risky running and streaky shots brought the target to 2 runs to win off the last bowl, alas Ifield pierced the infield to get a boundary and win the game!
All in all, a nail biting & enjoyable game and great all round performance to compete with a side currently playing several leagues above us.
Highlights: Avi (57 and 4/12). Will Goodwin (22) and Anuj (3/19)
The East Grinstead Army march on to defeat top of the table rivals
We have had some brilliant wins and performances over the last couple of years but normally somewhere along the line one person or other has played a blinder. Not so on Saturday – no 50’s, 100’s or 5 for’s to report : just a brilliant team performance where all 11 players did their job and comprehensively beat a Balcombe side who came to Fonthill looking for their 8th win in a row.
As it turned out the coin toss could have been spared (they wanted to bowl first, I wanted to bat first) strangely enough we both got our way and we padded up knowing that we were going to have to put in a decent performance to get the 30 points. Their bowling and especially their fielding (combined with the unusually wet June) meant we struggled to hit hardly any boundaries (as a team we ran over 100 runs on the day) meant we had to inch our way to a total of 66 by the time drinks were served, but we always knew this match was going to be have to be won by tight discipline. Fortunately, soon after, the run rate doubled (in part from some excellent quick fire shots from keeper Kevan B) making sure we set them a reasonably tough target of 186 to chase down.
Avi and Neil opened up and made excellent use of the new ball – Neil was bowling with precision and guile to start toppling their top order batsmen. Meaning Balcombe were always behind the run rate and even further behind in terms of wickets lost. Avi’s final figures resulted in him giving a mere 1 run per over (Incidentally, this started a fantastic weekend for him as he almost single handed won the 20/20 on Sunday).
So brilliantly consistent in their ability to bowl accurately, save runs and take wickets it’s become obvious to me that the Nagpal’s are not human at all but must come from a cyborg bowling planet somewhere in the outer Milky Way. So in this case it was simply a case of me pressing the ‘control/alt/delete’ buttons and resetting both the ‘Nagbots’ programmes and sending them on their way for another superb bowling stint resulting in 3/46 (Anuj) and 2/21 (Paarth).
This opened up the opportunity of our younger lads Rhys and Jake to both come in for their spells – Rhys bowling a very tidy 5 overs for a very respectable 16 runs and Jake picking up a good wicket.
Despite some semi nervous moments the Balcombe batsmen were really outdone by a disciplined fielding and bowling performance from Grinstead and, in truth, this was a pretty dominant victory for
the EG 4s. The margin of the victory clearly came as a bit of a shock to the Balcombe players if the look on their faces at the end of the game were anything to go by. Perhaps, though they may have just realised that their crown has been toppled and a new team had emerged to take their place?
Despite the fact we are still only 3rd in the table and still have points to make up, given that we have lost at least that amount of points due to freak weather condition (Burgess hill, Newick for sure and to a lesser extent Smallfield) I can’t help but think after Saturdays win that we have as much chance of winning the division than anyone else. The second half of the season is going to be very interesting indeed….
S. Cannell 39, M. Wills 45, K Hunt 41 A. Nagpal 4/46, P.Nagpal 2/21
4s miss out in nail biter again!!
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!
Saturday, 1 June
An away fixture at Crawley Down is quite handy given that its nearer to home for over half the team than Fonthill. Like Fonthill, it’s a very pleasant place to while away a Saturday afternoon. When it comes to the state of the wicket that is where the similarities do end, a clear reminder of just how lucky we are to play on such a well prepared wicket week in/ week out on our home ground (I was given a reminder of how much effort goes into the maintenance last week when I turned up at Fonthill at 0830 to help my son prepare for his under 12s match only to be met by Andy who had obviously already spent ages preparing the pitch. I then had a game in the afternoon and then went for a post-match pint on the clubhouse balcony watching Geoff and Andy slaving away preparing the pitch on the main ground – some 12 hour later!!). Anyway, I digress : we won the toss and elected to bat.
Crawley Down’s opening pair were decent enough, although one a bit more inconsistent than the other. Mark unfortunately caught an edge outside the off stump, which ushered Kristian into the crease.
We really had no idea what was going to be a decent total on that wicket, so we hunkered down sensibly enough until drinks, after which we decided to push up the run rate. I heard the other day that in Australia 87 is the most unlucky score to be on (makes sense I guess : 13 minus 100) and so it was for Kristian, as he got a nasty low one that caught his off-stump. I joined him in the changing room not long after, so Bhav entered the fray – scoring an excellent 23 off about 14 deliveries, you can’t over state how important these types of innings are in helping us push the total out of sight for the opposition. Richard and Jason had been and gone in the meantime, leaving Oliver last man standing hitting 2 excellent 4s in the last over of their top opening bowler. Leaving us at 235 by the time the cling film came off the sandwiches.
Jason opened the bowling – he had a great spell, bowling with pace and pop leaving him with figures of 1/35 off his 8 overs. Anuj came into the attack and bowled his usual very high standard taking 2 wickets and only giving away 18 runs in his 8 overs.
Paarth kept the batsman guessing and bowled some really nice deliveries. Youngest player, Rhys, made a big contribution by taking the scalp of their opening batsman (and highest run scorer). Oliver ended the day as our highest wicket taker, largely thanks to his second stint.
Thanks to these bowling efforts we managed to skittle them all out before the 40 overs were up, and they ended up almost 50 runs shy of the target.
All in all then a great day for the EG 4s, which leaves us 3rd top of our division, so a terrific step forward for us – well done everyone a really good effort, now we need to capitalise on this.
Next week we have Smallfield at home then two of the top teams in our division but we are on the right track and confidence is high.
Batting : S Cannell 82, K Hunt 87
Bowling : O Cannell 3/47
Fielding : Alec Macey was excellent the whole game and took a great catch.
Frustration at Fonthill as Fours miss out in close fought tussle against Ansty
An unfortunate and slightly annoying sense of ‘déjà vu’ as we miss out again in a close- fought match against, old rivals, Ansty on Saturday.
Things got off to a slightly ominous start from our perspective – having lost the toss and being put into field the Ansty openers got out the blocks at record speed, clocking up 50 runs in no time at all. Given the circumstances, we decided to bring into the attack the more experienced duo of David Burton and Anuj, who both did a brilliant job of stemming the flow. David getting a wicket off his first delivery – a C&B off a full toss – but we weren’t complaining given the circumstances and Anuj continuing from last week excellent bowling bagging 3 wickets for 11 runs from his 6 overs.
Having calmed things down, we could once again turn to our younger spinners, Rohan and Paarth, to try and make the breakthrough against the Ansty opener, who had broken through the half century barrier.
Paarth got the breakthrough, with a solid high catch taken by Oliver fielding in deep mid-wicket. With their opener out of the picture there wasn’t a huge amount left in their batting arsenal and we managed to skittle them out for 159 in our 33 over. Again though, as at Newick a few weeks ago, I did remind the players not to get too complacent of getting what would seem to be a reasonable total. Unfortunately for us their opening bowler must have had an extra shredded wheat for breakfast and seems to bowl with an extra zip in his stride – taking the wickets of Mark, Kristian and David in the matter of a couple of overs. Anuj played some nice shots but got caught out on the boundary. Oliver and Rohan were both out in short order left number 8 batsman, Paarth, to join me at the crease in what were very difficult circumstances. Given the game situation I thought he applied himself excellently, playing a defensive role to try and give us as good a chance as possible of reaching their target – something which is not easy for a younger player to do, and I hope the experience will help him develop as a player.
With Paarth shoring things up and the target getting closer I could finally start to sniff the possibility of a victory. Sadly, must nostrils were obviously off cue and I missed one off their lofty spinner and got stumped in the 33rd over. The ending result was that we came up 15 runs short. Obviously very frustrating not to get maximum points, but an excellent game of cricket all the same.
Man of the match – Paarth Nagpal : bowled great as always but more importantly played a very sensible innings that the team needed in difficult circumstances
S. Cannell 75
A. Nagpal 3-11 (off 6 overs)
Saturday, 18 May
4s get resounding victory at Lindfield
Upon arrival at Lindfield I met their skipper walking back from the square with a floor brush in hand – having just ‘swept’ the wicket for our match so is the way of playing on an artificial wicket . Anyway he soon put away his brush and vacuum cleaner and pulled out a shiny new one pound coin – the toss went his way and we were put into bat.
It’s been a few years since I’ve played on an artificial wicket so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our game plan as openers was to get through the first ten overs, see off the new ball and get 50 runs up – something we did with relative ease. Unfortunately for me, I got caught fair shortly after a change of bowlers so was unable to build a decent score : something that Mark did excellently – smashing 14 4s and 2 6s to score a magnificent and much deserved century before being bowled out.
Meanwhile, Avi has stepped into my ( obviously non- spike) shoes and added an excellent 50, before being caught try to smash one over cow corner. Bhav came in for Mark, and immediately set about getting the run rate up and bagged himself nicely played 50 and, final man, Ash hit an explosive 30 – all the Grinstead middle order batsman set upon the Lindfield bowling with the aggression of a great white shark attacking a baby seal off the coast of Cape Town – deadly, decisive and ruthless on a wicket that was never going to be bowled friendly, leaving us just 11 runs shy of getting 300 runs, by the time the 40th over was bowled.
We always knew 290 was going to be a pretty big ask of any team but we just weren’t sure how our spinners were going to fair on a recently dusted wicket. We needn’t have worried our bowlers did just as an outstanding job as our brilliant batsman – Jake bowled his usual high level of accuracy and Paarth down the other end bowled with variability and was unlucky not to get more wickets than he did in his 9 overs.
Fortunately for us we had another Napgal up our sleeves, in the form of Anuj, from the same end and he had a great 8 over spell resulting in phenomenal hattrick.
In order to keep things on an even balance from the other end we decided to have the Riley family bombard the Lindfield batsmen from down the hill . Debutant, Louis, bowled some lovely floating leg spin to pick up a wicket and Jason added to the tally as well with a well-placed yorker to get a wicket.
In truth our total was just too much for the opposition to chase down and they raised the white flag after about 10 overs or so, but that doesn’t detract from what was a very polished performance from the EG 4s.
So we can give ourselves a big slap on the back for a great performance, but please no complacency – realistically the rest of our matches in this division are are likely to be much tougher – starting with next week’s home fixture against Ansty 3s….
Man of the match – Mark Wills
Notable performances & highlights :
A Ashok 60, and B Patel 52* , A. Sunderasan 30* batting and 4/18 for Anuj Nagpal including (hat trick) and 3/22 for Jake Lingard bowling.
Saturday, 4th May
Great game of cricket but 4s ending up chasing rainbows at Newick…..
Last year’s league opener was played in 28 degree heat and sun. Not such need to pack the sun cream this year as we headed to Newick to play our first match in our new division.
First toss of the year then and first win, so I elected to play safe and put the home side into bat. I passed the new ball to Ned who bowled his usual high standard – sending the ball with zip, swing and purpose and Jake, at the other end, bowling some superb deliveries on or around the off stump. We got off to the perfect start with both of them getting early wickets leaving Newick in an unenviable 6-2 after the first couple of overs.
Their 3,4,5 batsman, however, were proving harder to take down seemingly especially keen to cut the ball, but our bowlers did well to peg them back from getting too many runs on the board. Avi then came into the attack and bowled with accuracy and fluidity ; picking up another valuable wicket with Ella bowling uphill from the other end, whose decision to start bowling over the wicket really helped her bowl some excellent deliveries .
Alec said to me before bowling that he wasn’t in good form this week – it turned out his pessimism was way off the mark, as he bowled really well to get another wicket and only have 18 runs scored off his 5 overs and finally Nathan flighted some solid leg spin down the hill, before our openers came back in for the final 8 overs.
So by tea the home side had clocked up 155 runs – a total we thought was very achievable.
Certainly our optimism looked well founded after myself and Mark got off to a flying start : scoring over 50 within the first ten overs, we felt the juggernaut was moving along nicely, sadly for us it was about to hit a brick wall……. Firstly, Mark got out trying to hit their young spinner for a third boundary of the over and then the hail and rain came hammering down. Although by no means something we should use as an excuse it did certainly affect our momentum – the juggernaut was put into reverse. As we stepped back onto a hail soaked pitch myself and Avi were like bambini on ice.
To make matters, Avi was run out quickly afterwards and I made a rash pull to get caught at mid-wicket – my only excuse for these bad decisions was that the sub artic temperature had obviously caused my brain to freeze and stop functioning properly. Fortunately Bhav and Jake had entered the fray and were steadying the ship somewhat – although inevitably the run rate was slowing up, despite their best efforts. By the time Kevan, Simon and Ned has been dismissed were just giving too much to ask our tail enders to get over the line, and we fell 20 runs shy of the total .
That said we can take loads of positives from the match – Newick’s fielding and bowling was good and we shouldn’t feel too disheartened as I think we played well in a very close run and evenly sided match. That said , we do need to understand that (perhaps unlike last season scoring 200 plus is not a ‘fait accompli’) and if we are going to progress this year we are really going to have to take our game to the next level, not be complacent against decent opponents…a challenge I’m fully confident we will be able to achieve.
Big thanks to the travelling supporters who came down to watch – it’s really appreciated, and especially also to Julie Rowland for scoring.
Saturday, 27 April
Season ‘Ice Breaker’ sees the 4s get off to winning start for the season..
If the famous subzero temperature Super Bowl between Green Bay and Dallas Cowboys all those years ago was called the ‘ice bowl’ then our season friendly against Crowborough could easily be dubbed the ‘ice breaker’. And so it was that with especially chilly temperatures outside we stepped into bat for the first time in 2019.
On account of the fact this was a friendly fixture, we decided to mix up a bit the batting order – our usual opening bowlers Ned and Avi therefore opened the batting, against a Crowborough side hungry to start their season on a high.
Avi was first victim from their skippers accurate bowling, who then took out Kevan’s leg stump a ball later, leaving Kristian to come in at number four to face his first delivery as a potential hat trick ball.
We needn’t have worried- he dug in like an old pro, stabled the ship, and pushed on to score an excellent and valuable half century. Both Ned and Nabil played some lovely fluid shots at the crease and Nabil, in particular, was unlucky to get out to a wicked delivery that claimed his off stump.
It was then time for Ash to enter the fray in his normal shot-making number six position ; hitting a few boundaries although, seemingly not happy with his equipment, (he changed bats more times that a golfer changes clubs in a round) before being bowled out. I then stepped in at number 7 – plugging along to be unbeaten at the crease by the time the 40 overs were up. In the meantime we saw a terrific knock from debutant Alec who played with calm and precision .
So by tea Crowborough were needing to get north of 210 to win.
I passed the new ball to the youngest player in the pitch, Rhys, who was given the task of trying to bowl out a pair of batsmen 3 times his age – he took to the task like a duck to water, bowling with accuracy and consistency, and taking his first wicket with just his second ball for the 4s. At the other end, Ella, proved more than capable or making the transition into men’s cricket and once she figured the yardage bowled some terrific balls during her spell.
Crowboroughs heavy hitting number 5 batsman started cracking the ball which encouraged me to bring on our more experienced opening quicks – Ned and Avi – for a spell to try and dampen down their attack, which they did with aplomb. In fact as soon as he was out it looked increasingly unlikely that the opposition were going to get toward 200.
Alec and Nathan then came into the attack and both lads bowled really well – Alec using pace and Nathan flighting some terrific leg spinners to pen the opposition back and we skittled them out for 151, with an over or 2 to spare. All in all a nice start to season and a great fun match, despite the chilly conditions.
Looking forward to next week – and the season proper – against tougher opposition in a higher league, we know we are going to have to really dig deep in all areas to ensure we have another successful season.
Player of the day – Alec : really consistent in all areas, batted and bowled well and gave 110% in the field, excellent debut
Notable mentions : the Hunt family – Rhys for excellent bowling and Kristian with the bat
K Hunt 80
S Cannell 41 not out
R Hunt 3/31 off 5 overs
A Ashok 2/9 off 6 overs