The Grace’s squad arrived in good time to inspect the wicket which looked true and flat with a fast, green outfield.
Dom lost the toss and the nine men of Merton CC opted to bat. After some lusty blows the dangerous looking opener (he made 144 the previous week) drove to mid on where Richard took a smart catch off Ramesh.
With Grace’s bowlers then finding line and length , wickets fell regularly , including 2 for debutant Neil ,leaving Merton on 80 for 5 . The game was in the balance . However a determined 6th wicket stand between Griffith and Iqbal than started to take the game away from Grace’s adding 99 runs with some hard drives. Tight fielding kept the score down.
Gordie was enjoying his time behind the stumps taking 3 catches and then a fourth – Iqbal- for 49 just when Merton were looking to accelerate in the last few overs. They totalled 186 -7 off their 40 overs. Would this be enough?
After a great tea Grace’s started the run chase – Abhi, opening with Dom , hit a fluent 28 before falling to a great diving catch at point (1-33). Merton then produced some tight and accurate bowling reducing Grace’s to 55 for 6. It looked all but over at this stage but Gordie had other ideas , following on from his great batting last season he started to find his form immediately, punishing the young spinner with some lofted drives and pulling anything short. Richard provided excellent support rotating the strike. Merton were getting worried and fielded well despite only having 9 men. Richard ,after consolidating the innings ,then accelerated with some well stuck boundaries. They added 100 runs before Gordie was caught on the legside boundary for an outstanding 75.
Grace’s fell 10 runs short – a lot of positives to take from a very enjoyable match played in great spirit..
man of the match – Gordie!