Match report home v Hertford 29th May 2022 – league fixture
Michael shines but Graces frustrated by visitor’s classy batting display
Thankfully the trains were working again as Graces returned to bucolic Broxbourne for our second league fixture – our opposition were Hertford – they’re based only 15 minutes away.
The ground was looking as lovely as ever as skipper Stuart won the toss and elected to bat against the NINE man opposition – a late call off and a miscommunication left them 2 short. Normally we’d offer sub fielders if the other team is short – not for a league game of course! Marquees had been erected next to the clubhouse for a social event so the score box was out of action. Later in the afternoon the teams were serenaded with all the 70’s and 80’s hits from a singing guitarist!
Manish opened together with Mendis against the youthful Gardner and Macintyre – the score progressed nicely and then accelerated as both Graces batsmen got their eye in. In the 12th over Mendis was tempted down the track to be stumped for an ever stylish 37. Jesant in at three then saw Manish mishit to cover to be caught for an entertaining 24. A sharp catch by the keeper saw Jesant follow him back to the clubhouse – 77 for 1 became 78 – 3 and some rebuilding from Graces 4 & 5 Mahender and Michael was needed.
Hertford then bowled their first change bowlers unchanged through their entire 10 over allocations. M&M then compiled an exactly 50 run partnership with a range of well timed shots until Mahender was bowled for 38 – a very rare occurrence saw him credited with EIGHT runs after an all run four was followed by 4 over throws. He also killed one of his bats! So Graces were now 138 for 4 in the 24th over.
Broxbourne is not a venue to have only 9 fielders and Hertford were doing a lot of chasing as a consequence , especially down the leg side. I’d estimate being 2 short cost them al least 30 runs.
Ari (in at 6) then joined Michael and the watching Graces enjoyed some very positive batting from these two , Ari hitting a memorable scorching cover drive. Michael had been attacking from the start of his innings hitting two driven fours in his first 9 balls faced. After steadying the ship with Ari he then accumulated rapidly reaching his 50 off only around 60 balls faced.
After Ari perished for 21 Michael kept up the run rate with Niroshan , Newton and skipper Stuart (with the only 6 of our innings) making useful contributions – there were some expensive overs from the visitors bowling with Michael hitting a flurry of fours at the death to finish on a chanceless 86 not out – his PB for Graces! a couple more overs would surely have seen his ton. The spectators really enjoyed his innings – as did he! The pick of the bowlers was Max Lawrance with 4 for 30 off 7 overs. His brother and father were also playing for Hertford!
Our final total off 45 overs was 290 – a defendable target surely?
Sadly teas are still BYO after which Ari and Simon opened our bowling – the youthful Hertford openers then proceeded to attack from the start adding 47 off only 7 overs before young keeper Harris was caught by Manish for a quickfire 32 off Newton – Newton also picked up the other opener for 13 – 55 for 2 off 8. Max Lawrance (remember him?) then joined Cavaner in at 3 and 4.
It’s hard to know where to start with what happened next. Basically these 2 then put on a batting masterclass as Graces bowling was put to the sword. In the next 26 overs 216 runs were added without almost a sniff of a chance. There were no slogs or poor shots as they demonstrated immaculate timing and shot selection as even good deliveries were pushed for singles.
Our bowling attack huffed and puffed to no avail – it was obvious that these 2 were first team players – all the bowlers tried but couldn’t get through their defences – in the end they got themselves out both being stumped (by Michael naturally!) – 271 for 4 after 38 0vers – by this time the damage had been done and Hertford’s 4 and 5 took them to victory in the 43rd over.
So a 6 wicket defeat but a lot of positives to take away from the match – strong batting and our heads never went down – Hertford are really friendly opponents , hopefully no first teamers will be available next time!
Bring on the T20 tournament!