Merton – Won by 4 wickets

Winning streak continues!

Sunday Cricket is about spirit as well as the fact we seem to be liking to win matches, read on.

Merton at John Innes

A popular return to play this team and pleased we had a match still on given the weather. Dom won the toss and this time elected that we field. Their captain Neil opened with the bat along with James but Mamun and Newton did not let them run from a strike easily and in two overs only Neil had a single to his credit. Then Newton took his wicket at the start of the third. 3-1. Gangwani came in to partner James and occasionally reached the boundary but only got mainly singles. After 10 overs it was only 28 then he was LBW for only 9 in the 11th and Dean’s second over. Arjun was next to keep James going but slowly reaching 13 before being stumped in Matthew’s fifth over in his lean full allocation.

 Quick response from Scott keeping at this half. 64-3 in the 18th. Tom Legg was next in and out in the 21st for only 2 with Scott catching off Leo now that Niroshan had the gloves. 68-4 now it was the start of Leo’s 3rd over and he drew James LBW at last for 32 and 71-5. Meanwhile at the other end young teen Jonathan was in the side and had already got his first single at this level. No balls added to extras then at the close of Leo’s over, he ran too risky and Campbell Barnes was given the blame for not getting him to stay and he was run out for 2. Mean Leo? Only yielded 17 in 5 overs. Now it was 76-6 after 23. Dean rejoined the bowling and in the 27th induced Campbell to send one high which Newton took well. There had been one or two catches fumbled earlier though none simple. 92-7 and although he scored 12 Campbell was peeved he gave the chance. Campbell has passion and can be quite emotive for a late teen. It was the era of tailenders now and John Smither steadily hit the ball with Hungarian Peter Fodor his partner.

Peter got his first ever boundary and is developing well as a player but he now succumbed with Mamun taking him down the middle. A wicket maiden to end his spell. Soon after Matthew got Smither with a ball right on middle for 9 and a score only at 102- 9. Matthew later finished his 8 overs with a maiden and was 1-24. John Hurst was left with keeper Rocky Crawford and the warning for earlier tea was given. John suddenly came to life though with a powerful six that had my mother and I ducking at the score table and watching for rebound off the wall behind.

He made 19 with several more including two fours before Newton bowled him in the 38th to close the innings at 123 all out, Rocky had notched up a 2 along the way. Newton closed on 3-7 with wickets nicely distributed among the first five bowling. Dom also had two overs starting with that six but no time left to claim any wickets.

We often say this is the best provision of tea, and today’s fare had plenty of sustenance, healthiness and indulgence. Maybe that was a tactic to make it harder for us to reach the target.

Dom opened against John Hurst with a two of the first ball. Peter Fodor was at the other end and took Dean off guard with Gangwani catching the nick to the gully for only 2. The field was quite tight and always in right place for most part and during Smither bowling opposite Peter in the 13th then Niroshan was caught behind, unsure if the ball contacted but had steadily built up 14. 37-2. 50 came up in the 17th then Neil also bowled starting with a maiden. In the 19th Smither struck and Dom was stumped with reflex from Rocky but had amassed 28 including a boundary and many that would not travel in the slower outfield. Neil closed the 20th with Newton taking the first of six boundaries. 56-3 so 12 runs behind at this point. Drinks was extended as a heavy shower came down, some play had earlier been in fine drizzle.

Leo was caught off Neil after two singles and several dot balls with a fine catch from Peter and so Jonners came in for his first match in a good while. Newton was opening up and maybe our slow accumulation or the depth we showed decided that Neil would give young Jonathan the bowling. He settled his nerves after a few extras and at the end of his second he gave Newton the chance of a boundary except that Peter was in place for his second fine catch. A wicket to remember and taking the trophy of highest match scorer at 33. 93-5 off 27. Jonners reached 7 before John Hurst in his second spell had him LBW and guest Stuart who last played against Beddington was now joined by regular Stuart.

103-6 with score now at 109 after 30. Jonathan’s final over was expensive but not giving away extras, it was just that Stuart was trying to overtake Newton though not enough target left. And so in the 2nd ball of the 32nd guest Stuart hit the boundary to win the game off Hurst, a useful 9 not out with our Stuart already on 16. A win by four wickets in a game of much challenge. Smither had two maidens to close his full spell of 2-12 and Peter Fodor got his first batting boundary, two fine catches and useful 1-27 in his eight overs.

 A good time for the rookie and even if he yielded a few, we always had the depth available but the target set was basically too low for today. Merton will play us again and we enjoy their opposition each occasion. With a great catch, very economical bowling and highest run score, Dom gave Man of the Match to Newton though increasingly this season we see a whole team playing which makes it harder to make selections for MOM.
Next week we are at Greenford and take on Pacific, another hearty challenge.