Graces edged out in tense match
Match report 17th July away to Piccadilly Pitchers – lost by 2 wickets
The best Sunday of the summer so far saw Graces venture into zone 6 close to Northwood to play new opposition. The day got off to a bad start as Stuart was marooned with a broken down vehicle near Brighton and we had no 12th man to cover. With a little assistance from a helpful local the venue was found – and what a venue! Old Merchant Taylors school possess a multitude of immaculate cricket pitches among their first rate sports facilities.
Debutant captain Mahender had no hesitation after calling correctly to bat first on a strip that looked at least of county standard – a rare treat for us. Mamun opened with Niroshan. After pulling his second ball for 4 Mamun tried the same shot resulting in him being bowled – one down for 7 runs. Scott joined Niroshan and things looked serene until the remaining opener had a rush of blood and was bowled for 9. 2 down for 20 bringing in skipper Mahender who was almost caught second ball off a miscue.
Scott was run out for 7 after being called through for a risky single leaving us at 34 for 3 in the 8th over. Newton then joined the skipper who was taking the bowlers on with some aggressive shots. We had reached 60 when Mahender was stumped for an entertaining 24, Sam soon followed bringing Dean in – 66 for 5. We needed a good partnership to get our innings back on track and Dean and Newton batted well against what was steady rather than penetrative bowling from the hosts who were mainly quite a mature team of experienced players making us look like spring chickens!
With the score at 113 Dean misjudged and was bowled for a valuable 28, Jonners then supported Newton who attacked the bowling eventually being bowled for the day’s top score – 62. He also passed a personal milestone of 1000 runs for Graces – Congratulations to him!
The psychological 150 barrier was reached in the last of our 35 overs. After a fine tea in the plush club house the hosts faced our openers – Newton and Dean. Accurate bowling brought regular wickets and the game always looked finely balanced. We took wickets just as the batsmen looked settled but their middle order knuckled down putting the poor balls away.
We fielded well – a highlight being Niroshan running out the resilient number 4, Dane, with a direct hit as a second run was attempted. This raised Graces’ spirits and Mahender juggled the bowling around making Piccadilly work for the runs. A stubborn 7th wicket partnership took them to the brink of victory but in the penultimate over their danger man,all rounder Raheel, was bowled by Assad for 29. The last over and the scores were tied – First ball a skier and Mamun making up a lot of ground couldn’t hang on to a difficult chance bringing the hosts home with 2 wickets left.
It was a great game that swung either way – another 20 runs for us would have made it very interesting. A very hospitable home team who would love to have us back next season – we won’t be short of players available to play at their great ground. Special thanks to spectator Tom who took the field for us to make up for us being a man down.