Hounslow Hawks CC – Won by 3 wickets

Grace's squeak home in low scoring game

On a blustery day we welcomed the Hawks as a new opposition to Greenford where despite the recent rain the pitch was quite good. A friendly bunch with a tendency to appeal every ball at times and as seemingly several people were trying to organise play, they considered us an organised team. They batted first with their second Khurram soon finding boundaries in a hasty 32 when caught by Mamun although opener Afzal had made only one score of 2 before this, taken LBW, both wickets off Newton. Waz meanwhile had also found the measure and was steadily edging forward to their high score of 36. Viru was showing signs of getting comfortable till Anosh who was now bowling watched as Dean caught a wild stroke at mid wicket for only 10.

The run rate was slowing now after a rapid assault to start and two bowlers Aki and Rinku visited the crease for a short time as Dean at a fast pace bowled the pair in his second over. Muteen faced Anosh and made one strike, hoping to return for 2 but Mahender threw with deadly aim from square to knock the bails before the bat was anywhere near the crease.

Shortly after Mamun induced Waz to send a high ball and Stuart took a fine catch close to boundary and the prospect of high scores was gone. Now there were mainly bowlers being terrified as Dean sent fast accurate balls their way and in defensive play they edged the score past 100 up to 113. Ati provided a catch for Newton off Anosh and after consecutive maidens Dean clean bowled Aman and Amir.

Tea was a picnic affair as virtually all of Hawks are on fasting and the standard tea is not provided for one team, so with some provisions thought through and other contributions it was a pleasant interlude.  Now a target of 114 and plenty of scope ahead.

Ati and Rinku opened the bowling each bowling the allotment very tightly against Dom and Mahender. Rinku had three maidens in his spell and the score was creeping at 2 an over by the time Dom got caught at square by Waz off Ati. Leo came in and also struggled to open up but there was a partnership building before also following Dom he was caught the same. With fresh bowlers, Aki was expensive in two overs but was not called to redeem himself. Similarly with their early exit, our Ali had suffered in the same vein. Immy now came in with a steady spin and took Mahender, caught by Rinku on the first ball in a case of how did that happen as by now he was solid and had amassed a top score of 38.

Sadly Ali, in his debut match went, swiftly taken lbw by Afzal, while still  bedding in. That LBW hurt as it was high on his inner thigh. Niroshan who had earlier kept fine wicket showed his intent and response with a four and had a good knock being bowled toward the very end by Muteen with a credible 17. 4 overs before this Immy claimed two further scalps by taking Newton with his 17 caught at leg boundary by Ati and flummoxing Stuart as if there was space between leg and wicket to let the bails fall so fast. Bringing the match to close was Dean who defended with Niroshan then Anosh for a few on the board and enough to reach the target in 32nd over without any real panic and three wickets in hand.

All in all, a relaxed pace match with determination and cohesion evident. Every match had the ones that get away but though a couple would have wished to actually score, no one disgraced.  Dean demoralised them most with his four wickets but all made a good show and on the form today, if any lesser opening bowlers, a high score would always have been matched.