Grace's lose in nail biting finish!
The great summer continued as Grace’s ventured to north London to take on new opposition Old Finchleans – the home team featured 5 Depalas – cousins (they later told us a whole Depala team was possible!) Dom won the toss and chose to bat first on a lovely looking strip in a great little ground. Many thanks for Ahmed to take us to 11 on the day.
Dom opened with Mahender against the hosts’ medium pace attack. Careful accumulation followed until Mahender was caught behind for 7. 16 for 1 quickly became 16 for 2 as Niroshan was very unlucky to see the ball trickle onto the stumps after squeezing through his defence off his first ball! Mendis, in at 4, survived the hat trick ball and after getting his eye in took the attack to the home team with a range of sumptuous shots, including 24 off one over to reach a stylish 50 off 47 deliveries.
This caused the home skipper to change his attack to spin. It immediately resulted in a wicket – Mendis edging to the keeper for 50 exactly. The score was now 93 for 3 and Grace’s hoped to reach at least 200 with 17 overs left.
However the bowling remained accurate and with wickets falling regularly no batsmen was able to dominate like Mendis. Anosh hitting a quick 14 was one of only 3 batsman to reach double figures. Skipper Dom was the third – after digging in in support of Mendis he showed some great attacking shots to reach his fifty.
Grace’s total was 163 for 9 off 40 overs – tea was taken with the visitors thinking if this was a competitive total.
The sunshine continued as Grace’s opened with a spin/pace attack with Newton and Anosh keeping the score down backed up with some good fielding. 23 for 1 became 40 for 4 when the number 5,Pusara, decided to attack with good support from JR taking the score to 96 for 5 when he was out for 40 caught by Mendis. Sam then seemed to surprise himself by taking a good catch at backward square leg to remove Ben, the number 7, for a duck. The score was then 96 for 6 and Grace’s sniffed blood. When JR departed for 35 it was 120 for 7 and the game was very evenly poised.
So after some tense cricket the last over arrived with Old Finchleans requiring 4 more runs. KP, at number 8, had chanced his arm for 26 crucial runs before Mahender took a steepling catch to see him back in the pavilion. This took the score to 161 for 8 and with the fielders crowding the bat the winning runs were squeezed away to leave Grace’s ruing what might have been with a few more runs losing by 2 wickets.The pick of the bowlers was Anosh who picked up 4 wickets.
So a narrow defeat , but a very enjoyable game against sporting and friendly hosts – hopefully we can repeat the fixture next season