The Tigers pounce in Winchmore Hill…
Sunday 6th September and a beautiful morning for a journey North to our friends, and regular opponents, formerly known as The Judd Street Tigers.
With a number of injuries (Jesant the latest to break a bone) it was a different looking line up with friend of Adam, Jim Merrick stepping up to make his debut and former Graces player Darren Charles returning to the fold after more than a 10 years absence.
Even with the additions to the team Graces were a man down so our opponents kindly agreed to lend a rolling substitute fielder and the game was on. In the circumstances skipper Stu nobly suggested that The Tigers bat first and so the toss was uncontested. For the record though, a coin was tossed and Stu called correctly!
Royall and Ranser opened up for The Tigers and, perhaps to their surprise, they found themselves facing their teammate Sikander Ali with the new ball (Stu never to miss a trick taking advantage of the fact that the first rolling sub was in fact their premium bowler!)
Ali came steaming in and a beautiful first delivery took everyone by surprise, taking the edge of Royall’s bat and being put down behind the wicket. Circumstances had conspired against the ever-reliable Scotty who had had to rush out to the middle in borrowed WK gear just moments before. Had the chance been taken however, it would have been Graces’ second consecutive Platinum duck bowling first!
A fine opening over from Ali was followed up with a maiden from Mahender and the terrific start continued as Ali had Royall clean bowled with a yorker and Mahender had Rander caught behind in the next; Tigers 7-2 after 4 overs and Graces on top.
Mitch Greenham & Abdullai Adejumo were in at 3 & 4 for The Tigers and they settled in nicely, seeing off the opening bowlers and playing themselves in against tidy spells from first change bowlers Rob & Jim. Both batsmen looked in decent nick and Adejumo was looking particularly dangerous dispatching a couple of powerful sixes as the partnership passed 50 and the score moved on to 60-2 in the 13th over.
Meanwhile Graces horrible luck with injuries continued as a pulled back muscle did for Scotty behind the stumps and he was unable to continue. Time for another reshuffle with Jonners taking the gloves and super sub Collin donning his whites and making square leg his own.
As the partnership continued and the score reached 100 it was the golden arm of Sam that eventually did for Greenham, holing out to Stu (who else?) at deep mid-wicket from a trademark dipping full toss. The departing batsman not happy but some hope for Graces!
Youngster Hassan Bajwa was next to the middle and he didn’t take long to hit his stride with some fine boundaries as the toil in the field continued. Adejumo passed 50 without offering a single chance (though there was a brilliant one handed catch by Mahender, just the wrong side of the boundary). Bajwa was next to reach 50 and the total passed 200 with 5 overs to go. Bajwa was eventually bowled by Dom for 58 and there followed further late wickets with Barker bowled by Mahender for 3 and Adejumo finally run out on the last ball of the 40 overs. It had been a cracking innings though and The Tigers posted 231-7 as it reached a close.
There had been plenty of tidy bowling but ultimately the attack was lacking some firepower and The Tigers were able to capitalise. Mahender the pick of the bowlers with 2-25 from his 8 overs.
Fed and watered the players returned to the middle in some warm sunshine and it was debutant Jim who was given the opportunity to open up with Mahender; Sikander Ali had the honour with the ball (for the second time in the match!) Unlike in the first innings Ali dropped a tad short with his first ball and Mahender dispatched it to the boundary. He was back on form second ball though and as the ball fizzed through to the keeper there was a huge appeal for caught behind; not out was the decision and Mahender was reprieved.
A couple more cracking boundaries followed from Mahender but after being dropped in the covers his luck was finally up, given out lbw to Ali for 12. Dom joined Jim in the middle and the pair initially looked in good order with a trademark late cut on show from Dom and a couple of elegant leg side boundaries from Jim; any hopes of a decent partnership were however quelled in the 9th over when Jim’s bails were sent flying by Ali. Jim out for 8 and the score to 34-2.
This sparked somewhat of a fizzling out of the innings with Dom dragging Ali on to the stumps for 10 and Adam Bray bowled round his legs for a duck two balls later. Of the remaining six batsmen, which included a second crack of the whip for Dom & Mahender, it was only Mahender who made it to double figures, out lbw for 11 as the innings eventually ended on 79.
Whilst runs weren’t easy to come by The Tigers were made to work hard for the wickets with the innings lasting 30 overs including a 54 minute rear-guard innings of 7 by Jonners! The bowling was very consistent with nine of the wickets bowled or lbw, pick of the figures 4-25 for Ali (match figures of 5-36!), 3-8 for Rick Barker and 6 overs for as many runs for Nadeem Muzhar.
A challenging, but no less fun day at the office for Graces and thankfully there was no early locking up of the pavilion this week so some of the team were able to enjoy a beer (and collect their belongings) with opposition players in the early evening sunshine.
Next week we visit another regular opponent Hampton Wick CC at their beautiful home in Bushey Park. Always a great day at HWCC but they’re a strong outfit so we’ll be glad to welcome back some of our regular players including Captain Manish fresh out of quarantine. Until then…
The Paulin Ground
149 Firs Lane, London N21 3ER