Away v Ealing Hanwellians – League – won by 9 wickets

Here is the match report created by our loquacius MEarl! Thanks Matt
Match Report 28/8/22 away to Ealing Hanwelians.
So, as quickly as the league season started, it all came to a climax on a warm afternoon at Ealing Hanwelians, with Graces looking to end the league campaign on a high, knowing relegation was already the fate.
On a ground with one boundary in particular being ‘horizontally challenged’, the hosts opted to bat first against a Graces side full of strength and belief. Newton and Simon were given the new ball to look for some early wickets. It became quickly apparent that the opposition were perhaps fans of aerobics with the need to stretch out their arms a couple of times each over as the all-legside wide rule was matched with some harshly given offside wides as well, owing to a rather lengthy first couple of overs from Newton. However, it would be Newton the first to smile after luring opener Singh to hurl a ball into Stuart’s safe arms at deep mid on, followed by forcing an outside edge snaffled by Matt at slip two balls later. 13/2 with wides leading the scoring.
Despite a short rebuilding effort lead by the next batters and umpires, Simon would get his name on the scorecard with a copy of Newton’s first wicket to dismiss the other opener. This led to an over by over battle between the opening bowlers, with Newton grabbing his third in the following over, with an LBW, resulting in Simon immediately responding with Adam taking a nick behind. Not to be outdone though, Newton followed that over up with two more of his own, with another Trescothick-esque grab by Matt at slip to dismiss Raicer, and Jesant grabbing the very next ball at gully. Incredibly, in the ninth over, Graces had them 31/7, Newton had five!
With thoughts turning to perhaps an earlier than expected finish, Graces then were taken off guard by a counter attacking partnership between Taimur and Chahal. Both players decided attack was the best form of defence with an array of big hits, particularly to target to the miniscule boundary on one side, forcing multiple bowling changes, including the brief introduction of Ari and Mamun, who was perhaps unlucky in his figures, after bowling 15 dot balls in his five overs.
With some forlorn faces in the field and multiple reminders from the mid on and mid off fielders to be more energised in the field, Stuart turned to Mahender in search of breaking the partnership. However, Mahender may had been watching too much of the Hundred, deciding that bowling five balls would be enough, with one over in particular having five dot balls followed up with five consecutive wide balls.
Eventually, the partnership would have to break. Jesant encouraging Chahal for one shot too many with Mahender making a smart catch to dismiss him 87, of which 76 come in boundaries. A partnership of 125 had somewhat changed the face of the innings. Before the over was out, Jesant had his second, leaving the hosts nine down.
The last pair dug in for frustrating partnership of 57, standing firm to the introduction of Mark and continuation of Jesant. So Stuart turned to Newton, in search of his sixth (also now known as an Adam five), but even he couldn’t break it. Eventually, it would be Simon to finish the innings, with Stuart’s third catch of the innings, Taimur out for 55 and the innings closed on 213, a remarkable comeback from 31/7.
In reply, Matt and Michael, fresh from best man duties the day before, opened the batting. The consistency of the wides rules, combined with some smart running, saw the score rise rapidly. In an attempt to avoid bowling the legside, the bowlers then offered Michael some chances to free his arms to drive to the short boundary. The introduction of spin allowed ‘Mearl’ to then attack the short boundary also, hitting consecutive boundaries, with Stuart clinging on to a crowd catch, one handed and still sat in his chair! By the time Matt lobbed a long hop to the cover fielder, the score had reached 91 from just 12 overs, taking the sting very much out of the opposition.
Jesant walked out at number three, and it would prove to be the only other batsman to make an appearance at the middle. A continued flurry of textbook drives from the pair, mixed with some attacking lofts straight down the ground saw the runs continue to pour – almost as much as Michael’s energy gels, with the opener passing fifty. The fielders were starting to look beaten.
With Michael deciding how best to keep his play-cricket statistics in as healthy a condition as possible, he allowed Jesant to push the scoring towards a conclusion as the partnership neared a century. With Jesant on 46, the eighth bowler, Laxman was introduced, albeit with Jesant at the other end. Bowling full on the offside to Michael, with a short boundary, the next 4 deliveries were dealt with in this fashion; cut shot for four through cover point , cover drive , a flayed backward of point , and an extra cover drive – After these first four consecutive boundaries, thoughts suddenly turned to what score Michael was actually on – 97 with only two to win. The fifth ball of the over was then duly slashed backward of point for another four to give Graces the win and Michael his first ever century. It would be celebrated in the only way Michael could – a lengthy acceptance speech in the pub afterwards! A superb team performance to round off the league season – high hopes already for Division 3 in 2023!
Matt E


Ealing Hanwellians CC
Greenford Road