This game has been rearranged to be played at the HSBC ground in Beckenham
Lennard Rd, Beckenham BR3 1QW
Due to the timely intervention of Sam, we were able to go ahead with our League Game this week against our long time opponents Pacific. We had been let down by our planned venue Broxbourne and it was either rearrange completely for later in year potentially depriving two teams of matches, finding an agreeable alternative venue or even simple forfeit. As Beckenham is one of our periodic home grounds and vitally close to train station, Pacific assented to making the trip. Their Captain Toby Chasseaud won the toss with Stuart and elected to bat first.
After the sweltering weather of Saturday it was a relief to find we just had a fine June Day with occasional high clouds. Light breeze and good light. It did however lead to frequent moves of the sight screens, which creak like crazy.
Rob Birch, a solid Welshman, opened batting for them along with K Mullens. Our first bowlers were Newton and Ari. Both of these were tight. After 9 overs the score was a mere 32, 13 for Newton and 19 for Ari who had commenced with a Maiden. Sanjeev replaced Ari and then Mamun took up from Newton for a further incredibly lean spell. At 19 overs the score was only 63 with Sanjeev yielding 16 and Mamun 14 so far. As you can see there were minimal extras with solid keeping by Scott and little straying off true. Mahender now replaced Sanjeev while Mamun persisted and Drinks were taken after 23 overs at a score of 77. In this potential first half there had been little chances for catches and just solid defensive play although beefy Birch did power a couple to boundary. The only expensive over, soon redeemed, in his short spell was Ari’s second.
On resumption Mahender had a Maiden, a wicket Maiden, as Mullens got an edge to it and it was well taken by Scott. He departed on 30 and Toby was next in. Sam had one over replacing Mamun then Jeshant was alongside Mahender. Their batsmen now tried to up it a gear and punished every opportunity even if only forcing a swift single. Andrew replaced Mahender for a couple before Jeshant finished his short spell. Now into second spells were Newton and Sanjeev then Ari and Mahender but none could dislodge the pair. They triggered first batting points in over 32 and added another 92 in the last 14 overs with Birch getting his Century and in final moments Toby secured his 51 as he wisely declared at 45 overs preserving 8 batting points, Rob Birch on 121 and their total 215. I think Pacific thought Had they done enough?
Tea is served in the anteroom after a few minutes as both playing pitches broke at same time and the little delay gave many a chance to assess on big screen in bar if India could chase the high score set by England, they only had lost one wicket and Kohli was rampant.
Our openers were Mahender and Sam against pace bowler Rob Howes and Spin Ollie Haill. Mahender wasted no time in blistering the boundary and soon needed a replacement bat. Sam meanwhile played some neat shots to be a good counterfoil before he was LBW to Howes in the 9th for 8 of our 73. Mahender had recently passed the 50 and those unseen players known as wides were very productive. We knew we had 87 minutes to bat before the last hour but this would only offer 21 overs leading to us having a potential total of 41 in our innings. Niroshan had come in next but as he settled down Howes bowled Mahender for 57. Scott was next up and parried many leaving Niroshan to accumulate 20 before he was also LBW, this time to Haill, in the 18th. Our score was 108 at this time compared with their 56 after 17 so we still had plenty of opportunity.
In comes Sanjeev, and bearing in mind his 78 here a fortnight ago, we hoped to wrap the match swiftly. But this is Cricket. Somehow he mistimed that opening ball from Haill and it went high and was caught at slip by Rob Birch. A Golden Duck. Birch sympathised as he had suffered the same on Saturday in a match in Wales. Onward then with Jeshant whose single deprived Haill of any hat trick. Bearded Tim Garratt had replaced Howes by now and was not giving much away. At the drinks interval at 21 before the last hour we were on 128/4. Pacific thinking Had they done enough?
Resumption saw another immediate loss. Scott was LBW for 8 in the opening over from Kiyana. In now was Newton. Two boundaries at first but only 11 after 20 balls. The 27th or the 6th of last hour saw the introduction of Hussain into bowling. This is a player we have known well over the years and pitches high and slow inviting catches. Today though he got past Jeshant and bowled him for 21. Time for Stu to rescue us. He only ran a single on his first strike but his second score was a 2 with massive encouragement to run hard from all at the sides and then he was bowled or at least played it on in that next over from Kiyana. 160/7 so 56 required but 78 legitimate balls remaining. Pacific thinking Had they done enough? Ari replaced Stuart as Kiyana and Hussain bowled and it was the 12th when Ari with a dust cloud from grounding the bat but not the ball sent a catch to Mid On at the invitation of Hussain and a tally of 2. Newton had recently been keeping strike profitably and was on 26 and we had 181 so 35 required from 48. Mamun was itching to get in and buccaneer but time for Andrew. He took singles and provided cover for Newton who was now expansive. This was despite Howells racing along the boundary reminiscent of the activity of Stuart restricting Newton to 2 often when it could so easily be a boundary. The match became tense. Could we, would we, reach the total. The balls were fulsome but had we staying power. Newton, Andrew and Mamun could decide. And the other one, Wides. Newton determined. We got 7 in each over for 4 of 5 late overs despite Haill coming back. He in fact had the only two maidens of their innings. Suddenly after considerable doubt, we were definitely on course but if two wickets could fall in consecutive balls earlier we were still not safe. The 18th yielded the 7 and we are on a tie. Haill bowls the 19th to Newton and he gets a single to reach 50 in time and we made it.
Despite their loss and a consolation of 11 points, Pacific enjoyed their game with us. They will rue the 12 byes and 32 wides as that was essentially a game changer. Could we have got over the line if they had matched our lean 13 extras. Mahender top scored on 57 including 9 4’s and got The Wicket. Newton had 3 4’s in his 50, lean bowling too and with that final determination was applauded as Man of the Match.
Anthony, as ever, was a great assistance and company as he kept the score plates visible. John and later on Phil were our other welcome supporters and I hope Phil uploads a particular score configuration.
As Stuart commented at the interval in the face of 215/1, all our 8 bowlers had acceptable and good spells. We had at that point faced resolute batsmen. Andrew was also commended for industrious fielding which had contained them and Scott was a fine but will be bruised wicketkeeper. Full figures are on attached picture with the order Newton, Ari, Sanjeev, Mamun, Mahender, Sam, Jeshant, Andrew.
An enjoyable game once more and we believe we now have 92 points from 5 games and likely to be sitting top of a properly updated league table. Next week sees the first of the return league matches as we host Hadley Wood Green at Broxbourne. Manish is back from the birthday bash to Captain us then . We will of course have perfectly clear heads for this even though there will be rightful celebrations with Dom and Paul the night before and with Manish and Simon the night preceding.