Merton – Won by 78 runs

Merton thwarted again

Beddington hosts Graces and Merton

A late drop out of Beddington coincided with Old Wimbledonians dropping their game so Merton were pleased to accept our game request, still played at Beddington.
This was the day of Ride London so some travel was difficult. For the full SP ask Dom who was massively frustrated but did arrive in time to bat lower order in our innings. Mahender had stepped up and captained whole game.

When we played in mid June we beat Merton so they hoped to even the honours. Then they had scored 123 all out and we passed them with 52 balls spare and 126-6.

Openers this week were Leo and Mamun. Both fell fairly soon to catches while James Hurst bowled. In Leo’s case it was a reflective catch in close slip from Whiting who had never fielded that position before and he was probably as surprised as Leo that the catch happened. Youngest player Nabil had a safe pair of hands when Mamun sent a powerful drive looking for another boundary.  Niroshan and Stuart were next at wicket with intention to stay and they did for 30 or so minutes each. Niroshan kept strike mainly and totted up runs to reach 25 before being caught behind  by wickie Ward in the fourth over from shorts wearing James Prebble. Then came in Sam and took two boundaries almost instantly punishing Prebbles figures. At 10 overs the score was 58-3. Bowlers changed and in second over from Shiv, Stuart could not move that foot on a straight ball and was gone for 234, I mean 9. Mahender now entered the fray but exited within 2 overs against accuracy from Smither. 65-5 but Sam was in and now had 9. Newton followed and hoped Sam would do most running as he was limping with a tender knee. When that did not happen, he just had to find the rope on a swift outfield and with clouds of dust on the fine wicket. About the time Newton passed 50, Sam had now got 20. Drinks meanwhile had come at 20 overs when our score was 79. At 30 overs it was up to 133. No wickets had gone to Gunn or young Milton so it was second spells looking to dislodge as Sam was still there. Smither came back in over 36 and also bowled Newton for a tally of 59. Sam was still there as Manish came in. Manish chased every run to get the target up and only had two dot balls. Sam duly inspired had a boundary for the third time but soon fell to another LBW from Shiv for 30 in minutes short of two hours. Frustratingly, when Newton went they had a stunning partnership of 97. Still the lack of wickets had frustrated Merton. With 3.2 overs left, Dom came in to make his mark and an 80% strike rate. Innings closed at 198 with Manish on 23 and Dom on 7. In their bowling, Shiv finished on 2 -33 giving away 10 in his 6th of 8. Also bowling 8 were Hurst 2-43, Prebble 1-38, Smither 2-29. Gunn and Milton had four each yielding 17 and 25.

Tea was pleasant but not a patch on Merton’s usual fare but we were both guests this day. There was another Colts match in colourful wear being played on the other pitch. There was also a proscriptive notice about who was entitled to take tea and who really should buy refreshments.

Captain Simpson faced Asad and got running practice of bye and wides but got no score of his own when he faced a second ball from Mamun and lofted into the ever open Stuart.  Mamun was smarting as Wagner had taken two boundaries in his first over. Asad tightened up and the run rate was slow between Whiting and Wagner who had similar build, helmets and even similar straps on pads. (My excuse for confusing identity of the next wicket) this fell as Newton had his first over and Whitingxx Wagner went his way thanks to Stuart running to take it. They had crossed so Ward got to face Manish  and did not keep guard and the bowl was deadly accurate and the Golden Duck quacked. Young Nabil now strode in and took a couple of singles before sending what looked like a fine catch but it was adjudged a bump ball. Unsettled though, Newton bowled him next ball. Milton came in and was clean bowled by Newton in the next ball so the duck quacked again. No hat trick possible as end of over. Gunn survived a maiden over from Manish and took a four from his first strike against Matthew but was then induced to send a very high ball and of the two running for it, was Newton that caught it cleanly.  Hurst survived his first ball at end of over and watched Manish deliver another maiden to Whiting. Getting strike though he had it in for Matthew but Matthew had three dot balls to cap that over. He also took a boundary off Manish in his final 6th over, he finishing at 1-11, Mamun previously had four overs including the wicket maiden and 1-19. Facing Matthew again was his undoing and he was drawn into a boundary shot, almost another 6, at Deep Cover, but Stuart was not missing that chance and he was gone for a rapid 16 and a score of 81-7 in the 21st.  Interestingly at the drinks on 20 overs Merton also had 79, but for 6 not 5 and the match felt far different with their only player of endurance being Whiting. Prebble now came in and lasted well but was mainly getting singles.  Mahender was now also bowling and started with a maiden, kept the tally short and bowled Whiting very cleanly in his fourth over, a wicket maiden.  He had amassed 38 in 97 minutes. At one point we had told no 11 Shiv that we would require a century last wicket partnership and as Prebble sent the ball high towards Long On, Stuart raced over to take it very cleanly off Mahender. Both Smither and Shiv tried but the game was up and Smither sent one past Leg Gully and this time  Asad got his first catch. Asad was the only one to bowl 8 overs and had an economic 27.  So at 120 all out, we had an impressive margin of victory of 78 runs. Mathew finished on 2-34 off 6 and Newton 3 -13 after 3. Mahender had mopped up the tail with 3-12 off 6.2 overs and there were 5 overs untouched.

Throughout the second innings, Graces had a close defensive field which paid dividend. Many times there were great stops of the ball to keep the score minimal. Sam took a ball nastily on lower shin and Newton battled past a swollen knee. Newton was given the match award with three wickets, a catch and  the match top score of 59. Our many supporters enjoyed the game, still making it after the splendid tennis and barbecue evening hosted by Sam and Dean in Docklands. Our team also umpired cleanly with Niroshan being as fair as usual when the batsman was ready to start walking back. He also was wicketkeeper. Their field had moments of sloppiness but worthy of mention was young Nabil throwing a fine shot directly on wicket with Stuart escaping by a whisker.

Next week will be Hampton Wick at Bushy Park, another popular opposition