Battling Graces triumph
Another lovely afternoon in Bushy Park
We are always welcomed here in Hampton Wick and the clouds cleared away to make it hot out there at times although there was a strong prevailing breeze. We were put into bat first and Mahender selected Niroshan and Asad to open. So far we have appreciated Asad for his bowling so was this a gamble? He did have an audience so would look to perform, in fact it is great to see so many spending time watching the games and James was roped in to help work the remote scoreboard gadget under tuition from Stuart.
A dynamic opening partnership of 111 ensued taking us to 24th over and a 6th bowler in Zubair Ahmed before Niroshan was bowled on 45 looking to catch up now with Asad who had just reached his 50 off 66 balls. Both had found boundaries and made great shots and the scoring was a seesaw watching each climb above the other. Maybe, he having had 3 days at Edgbaston, it was the comment that Asad had to stay out there till Pakistan dropped at least 3 wickets that drove him, he was certainly on fire. Newton came in for a brief tenure before 5th choice Ed Charlton got his first bails flying in his 4th over and having tasted success he also despatched Asad in his next over when he had been there for 100 minutes scoring 56. Chris and Stuart now faced and in Charlton’s next over he bowled Stuart for a pittance and getting the taste in his set of 8 overs he also bowled Dean for little credit. 150-6. Colt Chris Cole had good figures in his first spell and on returning when Mahender finally faced a ball he sent it out far but Yasir Ahmed ran well to deny him any score. 153-6 in 32nd over. Manish strode in determined to raise the rate and Chris was his strong support, so much so that Chris lasted to fall run out after Rehman returned the ball on the last ball of innings when had amassed 46 and out of time to get the 50 on cards. Manish also went to a catch by Ritchie with Taylor bowling but in 31 balls had got 22 out of the 60 partnership. As they had crossed, Leo never got to face the last ball and the target was now set at 214 to win.
Tea was a lovely selection of rolls and fancies and then it was time to contain the Royals. Dean and Newton opened with Asad behind the wicket for 7 overs, Niroshan taking the rest. Some really good economy with Dean having the first maiden of match then following up with his Wicket Maiden as Niroshan caught Harwood cleanly. Chris opened his spell with a maiden as well and Newton had only yielded 10 in four overs spell. Yasir Ahmed never seemed in any hurry to run but relied on the ball to go the distance to amass his score of 37 and it was a relief when the capable gloves of Niroshan took him off Mamun and Ritchie was a golden duck in the next ball with end of over denying Mamun any more. Manish also opened with a maiden then having yielded a boundary struck to take out Rehman on 14. Matthew wanted in on this and bowled Ed Charlton for 10 on his second ball for a wicket maiden, with a maiden following. 81-5 in 23rd, some difference to our account and maybe a big win was on cards.
Phil Miles had been in for a while, not known as a high scorer and had a few singles by now. 12 year old Chris was now in and settled well to play confidently. After he hit a couple boundaries it seemed like a trigger happened and certainly Miles was transformed taking runs left right centre and behind. Young Chris was run out far from wicket but had 32 acquired well into Mamun’s second spell. His father Richard replaced him till Mamun caught and bowled him for 7. 168-7 in 37. Graham Smith partnered Miles now but Dean came back in for the final over and Miles was run out as Mahender returned swiftly and Dean was duly in position to do the deed. Captain Will now had two balls to face and scored a 2 with Smith surviving on 13. Total was 194 and so they fell short by 19. There were moments after the 72 partnership that they hoped to overhaul but we had a great bowling display with Leo also having four overs as did Mahender. 8 bowlers used and Asad was still available if needed and in fact the other two are capable when required. Highlights of the bowling were Manish 1-6 in 4, Matthew 1-17 in 5, Chris 0-19 in 3, Newton 0-20 in 5, Dean 1-21 in 7 and Mamun having three in the full eight for 38.
Highest score of match was their Phil Miles on 57 but at 56 runs, being wicketkeeper for a spell and general fielding the man of match for us was Asad with Mahender also citing other prolific batting and the bowling/keeping. Our fielding was tighter than theirs and it is hard to find a way to mention Stuart dropping a (difficult) catch. That opening partnership of Niroshan and Asad did much to set the game and there is nothing else close to it all season to date.
Most headed to the club bar afterward as this is a fixture we play virtually every year and as Cricket should be on a Sunday the game was played in great conviviality.
New opposition Verdayne next week in deepest Surrey.
(And Pakistan collapsed to lose the test with only the last pair trying hard to salvage a draw.)