Address: The Rangers’ Office Rangers’ Office, Marble Hill Park, Richmond Rd, Twickenham TW1 2NL
After the seemingly never ending autumn and winter our first fixture of 2023 finally arrived – a rare(ish) foray south of the river to play new opponents Crossbats.
They play on an artificial strip in Marble Hill Park next to the lovely 18th century English Heritage Marble Hill House – thankfully the outfield had been recently mown (unlike Hackney Downs) and looked pretty good considering how wet March had been – the weather gods smiled on us as after a cool and cloudy morning the sun appeared for the rest of the day.
A big shout out to Cliff who came along to support (accompanied by his savoury treats!) and to Matt who not only drove down from up north for the game but also brought university student Ben along too. A welcome to newbie Kash who made his debut for us.
Skip Stuart lost the toss and we were invited to bat in a 35 over game – due to some transport issues we were down to nine. Matt and Ben opened – Mr Earl mistimed in the 2nd over to be caught and bowled for 5. What happened next was a memorable occasion for Graces as 15 year old Mendis junior came in at 3 , so a father and son playing for Graces! – he’d looked really impressive in the warm up net sessions with some classy drives – a chip off the old block!
He provided perfect support for Ben who after playing himself in then showed some aggression going aerial as anything on the slightly damp ground didn’t go far. This partnership lasted until the 12th over when junior was caught and bowled for 3 – the watching Graces had hoped there’d be a father son partnership but it wasn’t to be as Mendis senior came in at 4 to join Ben.
These 2 then entertained as 50 runs were added in 10 overs – our hosts’ bowling had been pretty accurate with not too many long hops – Mendis had scored 16 and looked in good touch when he was bowled for 16 – 84 for 2 after 12 overs.
Mahender joined Ben and these 2 took the attack to our hosts adding 72 runs in 12 overs until Ben was caught for a thoroughly entertaining 87 – 158 for 4 in the 32nd over – Mahender continued attacking as we finished on 170 for 7 after our 35 overs.He finished not out 39 – hopefully more to come this summer! Khan was their top bowler with 3 wickets for 14 off his 6 overs – Crossbats mixed it up with 6 bowlers used.
A BYO tea was then taken (Marble Hill has no facilities at all!) – as ever Cliff had generously brought some things along for us. A highlight of the break was watching one of the cheeky local crows flying off with Matt’s unopened packet of crisps!
The sun had made a welcome appearance as we took to the field – with only 9 we’d probably have some extra running around required. Ben proved himself to be a top allrounder as he opened the bowling for us with some pace and accuracy – debutante Kash also opened with good line and length medium pace. These 2 kept the run rate down , after 10 overs their score was only 27.
Stuart rotated our bowling giving everyone a game – Our hosts were struggling at 79 for 5 after 22 overs with boundaries hard to come by.
Things were looking good for us until Crossbats tall bowler , Mr Skinner , came in at 7 – he’d bowled well and then showed himself to be their best player on the day as he batted very sensibly putting the bad ball away, the lower order gave him good support as the score started to accelerate with wickets falling – a tremendous throw from Ben in the deep ran out the host’s number 10 and we thought we’d done enough – Mr Sayers ,their number 11 ,had other ideas as he dug in to provide Mr Skinner the opportunity to take the game to the final over and hit the winning runs – a loss by a single wicket!
Mendis junior picked up 4 wickets in 7 overs for 38 , Ben 2 for only 19 in 7 overs and Kash took his maiden wicket for Graces.
So a great curtain raiser with the tightest of finishes against a very sporting Crossbats – we’ll certainly try to play them again.
Lots of positives to take from the game , debutant Kash is a fine addition to our squad and hopefully Mendis junior will be around for the summer
Our next match sees us travel to the lovely Hampton Wick – see you there!