Southall Dragons – Won by 5 wickets

Graces too strong for Dragons

Dragons loose in the Park

Today’s venue is not so far away from Greenford but seemingly more inaccessible so apart from one welcome visitor and friend for a while who may become a supporter/player we had none of our frequent supporters with us. The pitch itself is rather sparse and basically no obvious facilities but some construction visible might provide toilets and showers in the future, so it was a change in the open. I think the hosts feared bad light so we agreed a 35 over innings.

We were fielding first and I subbed until Chris who had been delayed could arrive. Dean opened in great form with two successive maidens (the only two in match) and in his other two yielded very little to finish on 13. (More likely 9 as I know from the field there was a bye for 4) Assad opened bowling as well and kept great lines but the first pair were very solid and only dribbled to 36 in those first eight overs. They did not make Assad’s wides obvious in the ball by ball and as I copied up at that stage it needs more forensic to grant more than 19 off him

Newton and Matthew were the next set of bowlers and Newton made swift inroad taking their Colin for 9 as Anosh stretched for a good slip catch. Their new man Robbie tried to show he was aggressive but that was his undoing and he sent a shot to deep gully but Dean made a great firm catch and he was gone for 17 and a wicket to Matthew’s tally which only yielded 21 in 4 overs. In the next over Newton was responsible for opener Prad sending one to cover and the hands of Mendis as a top scorer with 25 and Newton having 2 for 17 off 5. Now 61-3 at 15.

Suraj and Jasmeet, both bowlers, tried to open up but first Suraj went for 15 bowled by Anosh as he started his spell then Chris induced Jasmeet to send a catch that Newton positioned well for. Rob wanted to get going but Anosh sent a high ball that he connected aiming for Deep Midwicket but Chris made sure that was his. To the annoyance of the sideliners, this was not given no ball and they were quite animated or was that the beverage consumption ongoing? 90 – 6 in 21.

There was no strong tail. Anosh claimed two wickets in his next over to end 4 for 6 off 3 with Leo reaching a catch at Midwicket and the other bowled on a golden duck and every chance of a hat trick. Chris completed the task in the 24th with a wicket bowling on ball one and on ball three taking number 11 for LBW. 99 scored and Chris having 3-16 in 3.3

Tea was platters from Subway, crisps, tiny cookies, bananas and fairy cakes and squash to dilute. Mind you the sun could burn today even though not too obvious. Difficult to arrange much else and they did provide the same provisions for each team.

This week it was Stuart and Leo to open. Jasmeet and Rakesh as bowlers. On the whole they forced defensive play and it was the 8th over before we lost the second wicket as Rakesh bowled Leo for 8 soon after a fine boundary. Rakesh also bowled a straight ball to Stuart in his first over………gone for 5. In the 11th Niroshan was bowled as Suraj had his first over and although he had a lot of the strokes the fielding was not yielding him more than 9. 33-3 and at this point they were 45-1 so were we finding it tough going after all.

Our middle order saved the day with first Mendis bedding in then opening up to end the match still in place on 46. Newton was his partner for 41 and scored 13 before he too was LBW but off Akash. Matthew also was in support but was caught behind. Finally, Dean came to crease and now the result was inevitable or would have been a collapse to rival any International team but he was no spectator and took 7 off his 4 balls including the last delivery that took us over the target.

So we did surpass the lower than usual target but still had to draw on team strengths to do so. Once again it was the fielding and catching that was our strength on top of the contribution of Mendis. It took us three more balls than they did to reach the target so our strike rate today was comparable except we got all their wickets.

With all bowling acceptable and Dean and Newton pushing Chris and Anosh, the man of the match was Anosh today, his economy was amazing and that first slip catch was a game turner, not that there were no other fine catches too. It remains difficult to get that accolade without finding team mates with much to plead. Before today, Dragons considered they were having a fine season. So are we. In fact decidedly better and we hope to make that evident even more on matches to come.