Eastcote – away – friendly – won by 8 wickets

Haydon Hall, Southhill Lane Pinner HA5 2EG

After looking for a fixture most of the week we finally managed to get a game at Eastcote CC in north west London (just!)

Leaving Hackney in bright sunshine on arrival it had turned gloomy with rain in the air. It’s a new ground for Graces to visit and a fine one too. Two pitches next to each other with a lovely clubhouse complete with historic wooden display panels with club officials listed going back many years in gold lettering.
Our opponents were mainly colts aged from 12 upwards with 4 adults to complete the team. Graces have faced colts before and come off second best! So taking nothing for granted we took to the field in the grey but warm conditions. The ground has a marked slope towards the pavilion and is ringed by lovely trees including 4 magnificent oaks within the boundary (4 runs if hit)
Jim and Ralph were among the loyal supporters watching on.
Newton and Ari opened our attack and were encouraged by the 2 opening youngsters being prepared to have a go at wide ones – this was initially successful as with a fast outfield the ball flew to the boundary and in no time at all the score reached 30.
Young J Patel then cut nicely only for Neil (welcome back!) to take a smart catch at backward point off Mahender. Newton had bowled the other opener (Choudry) shortly before this – so 2 wickets down.
The threatening rain then arrived and the covers were placed on the wicket. Thankfully we only lost about 30 minutes before play resumed – after this no batter managed to hang around as Graces caught every chance offered and the hosts limped to 122 for 8 off 30 overs with skipper Mahender thinking about turning to the more part-time bowlers. Neil picked up 3 wickets in his first game for 2 years!
However youngsters Patant and V Patel in at 6 and 10 then took the attack to Graces with some great shots and suddenly the scoreboard started racing along as the batters showed no fear – eventually Mahender trapped Patant for 27. Patel made it to 48 before running out of partners (Newton running out their number 11 with a bullet throw from the deep)
Eastcote’s final total was a respectable 194 all out after 37 overs , a real turnaround from 122 for 8.
A fine tea was taken in the clubhouse (only the 2nd this season!) with all the cakes unforgivably not being finished after filling up on the sandwiches.
Chris and Matt opened our attack with Chris hitting a lovely straight six causing Jim to take evasive action as it headed directly into the watching Graces.
After a rapid 18 he was bowled bringing Jesant in to join Matt. After this Graces dominated the hosts’ bowling with anything loose being punished – the fast outfield helping the run rate – the bowling was rotated but to no avail as the score raced along.
After Matt and Jesant reached 50 they retired bringing in Mendis and Mahender to keep up the attack – 8 bowlers were tried but without success.
The total was reached after only 25 overs with the loss of only 2 wickets. We then retired to the pavilion for a well deserved drink and socialising with our welcoming hosts.
We had played a team of youngsters still in development but when we play them next season it’ll be a league game and a much different proposition as they’re in the same division as us.
So an enjoyable game at a lovely club with the weather being kind for once
Only 2 games left now sadly!