Alleyns Adhoc – Won by 6 wickets

Winning streak continues!

This week was a visit to Herne Hill in Borsetshire, to the delightful Edward Alleyn Ground and our opponents were the Ad Hocs.

Cato Harris(on Burns) won the toss and they batted first, or perhaps the term guarded wicket is more appropriate as the actual run rate initially was dire. Sarson was first to face Newton who was on fine form and a Maiden was the first over. Asad took on Gray with accuracy and gave away 3 leaving him on strike. Newton unusually had a wide before a single passed it back to Sarson who did not complete the Over as Newton powered through the wicket. 5-1 after 3.

Sarah Berman who is most frequently scorer was now in and meanwhile I had excellent assistance from Sam Von Elk. Sarah and Gray had little to offer Asad or Newton and after 10 overs Newton was 3-1 and Asad 11-0 and just one Bye to give a score of 15. Manish and Mamun were now bowling. A Bye and a single took the score to 17 and there it stuck as Mamun had three consecutive Maidens and Manish had a Wicket Maiden and Maiden to make it 17-2 after 16. That wicket was that of Gray who fell to a fine slip catch from Mendis. Peak had replaced Gray and failed to score falling to Manish bowling after 13 balls. 20-3 after 17.

Yousuf and Matthew now had a spell of bowling and the score was merely 32 at drinks. On resumption a no ball was given for the offence of wicketkeeper Niroshan collecting the ball before wicket. Scott had been with pads in the first session. Sarah suddenly had a burst of scoring and was the first player to score on four consecutive balls but in Sams first over and her first strike she sent a ball to backward square leg and Yousuf scooped a low catch. Her partnership with Martin had been a heady 27 and she was gone for 11. 44-4 in 27. McLean replaced and together with Martin finally added a few runs and this late in the match finally had three boundaries in a rapid 15 before Mendis was again taking a slip catch off Sam. Piper replaced and Mamun came back for another spell but was bruised by Martin having two consecutive boundaries before Martin was most decidedly LBW off Sam but a high scorer at 32 and 81-6. Sharma replaced and had the audacity to have a boundary first ball but only odd singles thereafter. Piper fell LBW to Manish just after they finally reached three figures.

The second 50 was in 24 minutes after a first taking 81 minutes and Sharma was soon gone, caught and bowled by Manish. This was now 6-4 for Manish. John Twinn was now in and was determined to maximise every opportunity although at this point there were some very eventful dot balls including Mendis effectively fielding by a ball to the helmet but a check revealed ok. John did his best to damage the figures but at the last Sam went for LBW after a boundary and a score of 5 and Manish had 16-5 off his 8. Carey only ever got to face a bye and the innings closed at 135-9 with John Twinn scoring 27 in rapid pace.

Mahender and Mendis chose not to bowl but to recap on the bowling
Newton 3 – 1 in 5 inc 3 Maidens
Asad 16 – 0 in 6
Manish 16 – 5 off 8 inc 2 Maidens
Mamun 32 – 0 in 8 inc 3 Maidens
Yousuf 16 – 0 in 3
Matthew 17 – 0 in 5
Sam 31 – 3 in 5

Tea was a delightful affair in generous proportions catering amply knowing we had supporters including Phil, Augusto, Anthony, Stuart, Tom and James, Pauline, Hugh and a couple of friends and prospective future player Irfan. The lady had thoughtfully provided fully vegetarian to make it as accessible as possible.

On resumption, it was our wicketkeepers to face the opening salvos. Niroshan took a single in the first off Harris leaving him to face John Twinn and bowled swiftly just for that single. Mendis was slow to start but after a couple of boundaries he was LBW off Harris at the end of the 5th then on the first ball of the 6th it was Scott to fall LBW off Twinn at 6. That went on to be a wicket Maiden although both Sarah and I both agreed that was a short over and not for the first time, scorers being infallible if misguided as you know. 16 – 3 off 6 was better than their scoring rate but we could have a real challenge if we let wickets go. Mahender and Newton now faced Gray and Sharma with Mahender taking the bat to ball although there were a couple of slip ups as he regained his crease but all too soon his rapid 17 was called time as Sharma bowled. At 38-4 in 13, with Newton only amassing 4 in 7 overs there had to be a gear change and Manish entered the fray.

Making up for his Duck last week, he piled runs up quickly as then did Newton and at drinks the 50 partnership was in sight. The bowling was varied including bringing in Van Elk and Carey but our heroes could not be penetrated. Although throughout this match there were few bowling extras, there were a few boundaries now off Byes as well as 10 scored boundaries from the pair of Newton and Manish with a final boundary to Newton in the 31st over that passed the limit and technically raised a 100 partnership from 38 to 138 – 4 when needing 136 to win. Newton was on 48 and Manish 41 not out. Our hosts graciously accepted this defeat by 6 wickets and are already looking forward to future matches as well as floating an idea for a future tour prospect. As so often, Mahender had to consider our Man of the Match and Sam and Newton were easily in the frame but the bowling and batting combination saw it popularly given for the second time to Manish.

So four wins now and we are off to Winchmore Hill for two weeks to play Judd St. Tigers and then St. Albans. Can our run hold? I wish you well as will be in Europe and am already in East Devon. As ever please ensure Mahender has up to three weeks availability so that he can rotate when he needs to.

Southlands CC – Won by 62 runs

Graces on a roll!

Southlands at Greenford 7th May

Our first time at Greenford this season playing our third match. Our opposition is basically a Jewish team based in London Colney area that also play friendlies throughout the season, they are the product of two former teams and we have played against many of them before. As well as the 11 players, there were a couple of wives and there were children aged under 11. Mahender won the toss and elected to bat first.

Openers today were Niroshan and Sam, Sam had been told that to justify high up the order he had to have a productive strike rate and there was plenty of “encouragement” from the sidelines all the way from when he faced the opening ball against Dushan who has Romanian background. He soon escaped strike with a run off a wide but soon back and his first account was a splendid 4. Tall Yair was the second bowler and there were wild no balls and wides to start and then the bowling settled down more with Niroshan taking Yair for 4 and a steady build to have 69 at 14 overs. In the third over from Avi, it seemed like the ball was blocked but it found the wicket and Niroshan having made use of strike was gone for a useful 30 but Sam was not so far behind with 21. Newton was next in and made his intent clear. Adam gave way to 14 year old Jamie who was impressive for 2 and half overs but Newton took him consecutively to the flags with no mercy. Avi meanwhile was very steady and on return from drinks he took a fine stretching catch from his bowling to dismiss Sam who had reached 25. Dom and his defensive style was his replacement.

After some bowling from Josh, Yair returned to bowl opposite John and was on far better line and so at the end of the 30th Newton moved across and was LBW the next ball faced after we had cheered his 50 from 39 balls in under an hour. In this 9 Over spell Dom was up to 8. Mahender was now in and after a couple of slow overs was soon striking out but was bowled by Dushan for 22 in the 36th and meanwhile Dom had risen with some fine sweeps to 27. With the score at 189 we expected Manish to soon take it past 200 but surprisingly Adam got through his guard on the first ball. Scott replaced and both he and Dom took the score swiftly to 214 by the first ball of the last over.

Dushan bowled and Leonard Cohen took an excellent catch at short Midwicket to send Dom back on an entertaining 36. Asad went in ahead of Mamun with buccaneering intent, sent a great drive and was running for an easy two. Granted it was a good fielding return but sideline consensus was that he was easily home but Square Leg Umpire Sam gave him the finger.

So up to Mamun after all, his next ball was not seen by scorer as someone was leaning on the rickety table causing mayhem and there were several gathered who knew nothing so a dot ball assumed. On his second ball he was Trapped LBW so another walk back to be replaced by Yousuf who ran on a wide. Scott passed the strike back so another strike going for a two bizarrely led to another run out, not so contentious. All this frenetic activity meant Matthew who replaced unwell Sid was incompletely padded so as last due ball off strike Mamun went in as a runner and beyond all belief, Scott was run out for 15 on that last ball.

By now Mamun was back and was able to highlight the unseen ball was a long stop boundary off a no ball. This took the final innings total to 222. A challenging target. And incredulity that five wickets went in the one final over to make us all out.

Tea was a pleasant affair with more varied selection than many past occasions and shortly after 5pm the defence started. Wicketkeeper was Scott first half and Niroshan second. Newton opened and the strike passed from Mr Bean to Andy through a bye. A single keeping the strike as Asad came accurately from the other end to commence with Maiden. Newton then parried with his Maiden. Asad upped the ante by trapping Andy LBW so it was 2-1 in 4th. Josh escaped quickly with a run on wide but could not sustain a full Over from Newton who bowled cleanly before he could score. Mr Bean almost doubled the score with a boundary off Asad but fell with a fine catch behind off Asad next over, there had been another Newton Maiden meanwhile. Lenny and Dushan were now in but Lenny could not handle the pace of Asad and was bowled for no gain. Asad and Newton finished six Over spells with Maidens to have 10-2 and only 2-2 respectively. They were in trouble at 14-4.

Dushan tried to repair the damage but Manish got his palms to a ball from Bob Luder off his bowling and their umpire sent him home at 5. In many a match the rapid release of ball would be deemed a dropped catch but the Umpire Andy calls. John and Dushan now steadied against the bowling of Manish and Mamun and even scored six off each. Yousuf and Matthew were the next pair to bowl and a fumbled recovery led to one of the boundaries against Yousuf. On Matthew’s third ball he got the prize of a clean bowling of Dushan for 46 and he followed this up on the third ball of his next over by taking Avi for two. Surprisingly although valid, he was not really content with the flight of the ball.

Tall Yair strode in and being close to the opposition I can report there was not a lot of expectation. How wrong they were as Yair and John powered a 62 partnership before Mahender having left himself as last bowler giving both Sam and Dom exposure took Yair for a fine 29. To finish the Over he also had Adam for a Golden Duck as he hit wicket. Dom had bowled four overs with clarity only yielding 22 and Sam now partnering Mahender tightened up after sloppy first to end on 15 for five overs including 2 Maidens. Matthew was 19-2 in 4 and Yousuf 23 in 3 with Dushan having hit a six off a high no ball just before he was terminated. Manish was 22-1 off four and Mamun 28 off 5.

Young Jamie was the last in and although his father Andy was umpiring there was was only fair decisions. Asad had teased that he would return for a final spell but it was five overs including the mighty Mahender which is not to be relished and Sam and despite a lot of crowding fielding he took two separate singles off Mahender as he finished 14-2 off 3. They finished on 160 – 62 runs short with a finish expected long before the shadows had gotten long but those three late middle order had stemmed the romp and given our commanding lead, Mahender ensured the red ball was felt by most. John by the way finished as Match top score of 53.

It was time for our Man of Match award as we packed up and with a 50 and 2-2 it was deservedly Newton. During the match the children had sometimes commented loudly on the scoreboard, as they often do, their unguarded comments were quite funny. This was a good natured match and we have set them a target for whenever we next play.

Next week we are off to Herne Hill and Alleyns Ad Hoc. A delightful Ground and pavilion and always genial hosts. Please give availability to Mahender for three matches ahead as this helps rotation if there is any surfeit of resource.

Before I sign off this week, Happy Birthday to Tom, who with James are regular supporters, Blenheim looked fine but there was no escape from cricket! In your absence we were cheered by Anthony and Phil so did not feel totally abandoned. See you and the rest soon.

Summer tours

Tours are a huge part of the life of Grace’s Cricket Club. As well as giving the opportunity to escape London and play or watch cricket in surroundings very different to those typically found there, they are fantastic social experiences which are often recalled in our conversation and banter all year round! Ever popular with players, many of our social members also make an extra-special effort to join our tours.

Amongst our touring destinations are Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, Spain in 2001 and 2004, Torquay in 2002 and Brighton in 2003 and 2009.

In 2013  we had a marvellous weekend in deepest Devon playing in two lovely villages – Lustleigh and Bridestowe. We had 13 players and an equal number of partners and supporters who enjoyed a great long weekend away. 2014 saw a return to the same gorgeous part of the country.

For the 2015 tour we were closer to home – Brighton over the weekend of August 15/16th.

2016 saw a long weekend in Malta – breaking new ground for the club. The sun shone , the hosts were hospitable and the cricket competative. Overall a great time was had by all – perhaps a return trip in 2017?

Our 2017 tour destination has been arranged – it’s a new destination for us – La Manga in Spain

More details to follow



South Loughton – Won by 41 runs

Bowlers put the pressure on

Graces normally freeze to death while playing this early season fixture in leafy Essex. It was thankfully at least double digits this year requiring just the one long sleeve jumper.

Due to a last minute dropout Yousuf made his debut and having lost the toss we were invited to bat on what was to prove a mainly true strip with the odd low bounce. Another great turn out of well wrapped up supporters watched as Jonners and Niroshan opened for Graces. The slow pace and accurate bowling led to a steady but low run rate until first change young Calver’s very first ball tempted Niroshan to pull a delivery which kept a bit low to bowl him for 14 – including 3 fours.

Stuart in at 3 then was then trapped LBW by another low one from Calver for a duck 2 balls later. This took the total to 23 for 2 in the 11th over. Skipper Mahender took on the experienced loopy spinner , Battle , for a quick fire 17 until he slipped coming down the wicket and while still on his back unsuccessfully attempted to deflect the slowly passing ball away from his stumps and was bowled! Dominic in at 4 compiled a 52 run partnership with Jonners with some nicely timed shots before being bowled by 2nd change bowler Terry for a tidy 21. This took the score to 97 for 4 in the 26th over.

Terry’s first over was remarkable as rustiness was shown with at least 8 wides! Jonners eventually perished 2 runs later for a resilient 30 in 26 overs- Newton at 6 showed nice application before being caught for 13 bringing together Manish and newbie Yousef for a 31 partnership before Manish was bowled for a tidy 21 . The score was now 130 for 6 with 10 overs still to bowl.

Asad , in at 9 , then continued his cheeky running with Yousef compiling 29 very useful runs before Yousef was runout backing up for 10 – an encouraging first innings for Graces. Asad was caught for a rapid 20 and when Mamun was also caught for 4, leaving Matthew not out, we had reached 193 all out in 38.2 overs. This looked like a defendable total on this strip. Bizarrely extras were top score for us coming at an exceptionally high 42 – mainly wides – I have trouble recalling when this last happened.

Graces enjoyed another fine tea in the host’s cute pavilion (the location for last year’s picture shoot) before taking the field. Newton and Mamun then bowled very tightly, the first wicket coming in the 13th over thanks to a great low catch by Asad. Manish and Asad then continued to keep the pressure on by bowling a very tight line keeping the scoring rate down. Asad bowled Sam, the young opener, for a stubborn 24 – 47 for 2 in the 16th over.

The host’s batsmen could stay at the crease but were frustrated by our accurate bowling – Manish took the next 2 wickets before Yousuf took his first wicket for Graces! 80 for 5 in the 31st over with the run rate rising.

Number 5 Rajiv then took on the bowlers with some well timed attacking shots in an entertaining 68 run partnership with Calver , the latter being eventually nicely stumped by Niroshan for 25. Loughton eventually ran out of overs finishing on 152 for 6 – a win by 41 runs.

So another win for us with Manish winning man of the match for a great performance with bat and ball. Our ground fielding was good, backing up some accurate bowling which ,together with some good application by the batsmen, is encouraging for the coming season.

Next week sees us at Greenford.

Thanks to Colin for this one from the boundaty;

Graces v South Loughton
Time to return to this Loughton ground in Essex but without attendant posse of cameras. We lost the toss and were put into bat. Immediately it was a struggle despite fine stroke play to get an over rate up and running as Dave Smith and Lloyd Mann took advantage of the low flat wicket. There are also some parts of the outfield where the ball dies rapidly, probably as a result of regular winter flooding but the groundsman is very capable and will do his best to provide for another 58 game events before end of season. Niroshan opened this week partnered by Jonners who was not out last week. Your scorer is working on recognition and did at least notice it was Jonners to face first ball.

After 10 overs, the score had reached 23 and that included two fine boundaries from Niroshan. The bowling changed and student Seb Calver, a left handed, bowled Niroshan with a turn when unexpected. Stuart came in and went out after two balls as he was trapped LBW for a duck and it was up to Mahender to state intent with a boundary to avoid Wicket Maiden. The other new bowler was Andy Battle who like Jacobs of last week has a stealth bomb attack with high lobs that offer no mercy if they get through. After rapid boundaries Mahender thought he was going to crack a fine six, advanced far, the ball passedand a stumping was on the cards as he slipped on the turn but the ball itself carried on to rest just striking stumps, a useful 17 nonetheless. Dom was now in and both he and Jonners were defensive. After nearly an hour, in the 26th over 100 up was in sight and the 50 partnership just achieved when Andy still bowling got one through to collar Jonners LBW for a top score 30 in 88 minutes. Matthew Terry in the next over took Dom on 21 with a clean bowl as he sought to seek solace from some very loose deliveries which escalated the extras tally and still it was only 99 with 5 down. This left Newton and Manish in, both keen to get runs on the board and in three more overs they had got 31 before a fine catch at Long On by Dave Smith finished off Newton at 13 off the bowling of young Mathew Fulser who went to have a terrible following over.

For our effort, it was the match debut of Yousuf who parried a lot of aggression. Manish meanwhile was stroking well and only came unstuck when Matt Terry got another ball Bang on but he had 21 and strike rate exceeding 100. As last week Asad was determined to play cavalier and was entertaining before Yousuf set charging off for a quick single on an Asad shot that was easily fielded and in consequence in scrambling back was run out in Lloyds return spell for an impressive 10. They had changed ends so strike did pass to Matthew who kept the Over alive. Dave Smith was also bowling a second spell and drew Asad to the clean hands of Billy Soomro at Midwicket but he had tallied 21. Now it was Mamun as last man after passed strike from a single of Matthew he claimed a boundary but then on another fine shot found Billy in the same region and clean hands to close the innings in the penultimate over and from such a low rate to start, a quite impressive 193 as our score. Extras were top scorer even passing Jonners but one of the points noticed in this innings was the fact that discounting those scoring below 4, all the others had found the defining line and Mahender had one that was probably only two yards short of being a six. For our opposition the best bowling at 4 – 2 – 11 – 2 was from Seb Calver who was in his debut match and had declined to bowl further as 7 available.

Tea was of a high standard as usual here at Loughton and given the cool and curling breeze that chilled many, they had allowed us free access to hot drinks on self service. Nibbles throughout were kindly shared by Phil and support was ever present from Tom and James. Scott and Sam also came along and Scott did a lengthy spell of umpiring with Stuart. Our other spectator was Biplob who enjoyed the game and was there to encourage Yousuf and I hope becomes one of our regular supporters.

Newton and Mamun were our first bowlers in a day when each of the 7 had credible figures and they were facing Greg Jones and their wicketkeeper Sam Hill. Like our innings it was a solid plod to get runs and a lot of this was due to excellent close fielding and accurate returns for our part. It was not until the unlucky 13th over that Asad, whose run up was lesser this week, piled through the stumps of Sam who had amassed 24 of the meagre 37. Asad featured shortly after when the consistent bowling of Mamun drew Greg to Midwicket where Asad made sure for a low 16 having been at crease so long. Mamun finished the spell with wicket to all satisfaction only allowing 25.

Another lean spell followed with Asad and Manish bowling very economically and the run rate was dire. Manish was spot on taking out Billy Soomro for 15 and Ahmed for 8 in his 6th and 7th overs. Asad went on to have 14-1 off 8 and Manish was at 8-2 in 7. Although Rajiv was expansive at the other end young Matthew was nervous and on his eighth attempt was bowled in the debut over of Yousuf, a lovely start. He was replaced by Seb who again seemed nervous but managed to punish Manish in his final over as did Rajiv and that bowling spell had suddenly climbed to 21-2 good though that is. Eight overs remaining and 101 required! Had they any late 20/20 resource? With the 9 lives of a cat and the definite fortune of a no ball denying Mahender a well grasped catch at cover as well as another catch potential also at a no ball, contentious definition, Seb went on for a fine 25 in a partnership with Rajiv of 68 before nicely stumped by Niroshan who had the gloves throughout with little getting past, that wicket bowled off Mahender. Dave Smith came in and got a boundary off one that was fumbled at field but it was all too late and their innings closed well short of the mark at 152. Rajiv unbowed at 41.

Throughout this match, the bowling was credible, repetition! But it made it harder to choose Man of the Match with lots of competing claims. Mahender decided on Manish which we all delighted in when it was realised it was his first accolade in ten years of matches with us. Worthy for entertaining batting, always good field and sharp bowling. All credit to Jonners for another feat of endurance and top score and for lean bowling of Newton, 21 in 6 and Mahender 28-1 in 5 with Yousuf at 17-1 in 3 and Matthew 22 in 2 against that strike pair. Batsmen fared well in adversity.

Two wins in two games, each with differing highlights. Next week we make one of limited appearances toward other end of Central line at Greenford to face Southlands. Jonners and Khin will no doubt be following our progress eight hours behind and Neil will be on Monday already. 2pm start unless Mahender advises otherwise.

Kingstonian CC – Won by 11 runs

A first win

Our previous visits to the welcoming Kingstonians have produced very close games and this season curtain raiser proved to be no different.

The weather was kind to us with some warming sunshine and late teens temperature-wise. Mahender started his season as captain by winning the toss and deciding to bat. The host’s ground is in a nice setting with a great traditional pavilion and a true wicket.

Niroshan and Scott opened our innings facing the line and length KCC’s bowlers who produced some swing and bounce. Scotty hit 2 well timed boundaries before being bowled off an inside edge – 13 for one in the 3rd over. Stuart , in at 3 , batted positively as usual taking the score to 38 in the 9th over before Niroshan unluckily played on attempting to pull a short ball for a tidy 14.

This bought the skipper in who took on the bowling with some lusty blows. Together with Stuart this partnership flourished taking the score to 93 in only the 16th over before Stuart was LBW for an entertaining 36.  93 for 3 became 97 for 3 as Mahender was caught for 26. Leo hit a lovely 4 before edging behind and KCC came right back into the game when Newton fell for 15 closely followed by Sam.

Graces were in big trouble at 117 for 7 in the 22nd over and the hosts were keen to mop up the remaining wickets. Aussie Neil, making his debut, came in at 8 and together with Jonners at 9 had the task of getting Graces innings back on track. Neil signaled his intent by half volleying his 3rd ball back over the bowler’s head for a crunching 4. This was the start of a batting onslaught from him which saw the host’s bowlers dispatched to all parts of the ground with some big hitting. Our supporters (another great turn out) really enjoyed this entertaining innings as the score advanced rapidly – Jonners provided support by rotating the strike and hanging around.

After reaching 51 off only 38 deliveries (7 fours and 3 sixes) Neil found the only man on the long on boundary who took a fine catch. This important 8th wicket partnership of 58 took us to 175 in the 31st over and a defendable total looked possible. Matthew in at 10 took an immediate liking to the loopy spinner and was bowled – 175 for 9. Asad came in at 11 and together with Jonners kept the score board moving with an invaluable last wicket stand of 32 taking us to 207 all out in the 35th over. Asad hit 17 with some very cheeky running! Kingstonian’s bowlers performed well extracting some bounce from the strip.

After a welcome egg sandwich heavy tea Newton and Asad opened our attack with some accurate bowling – Asad picked up the first wicket LBW – 23 for one in the 6th over. Montgomery the seasoned number 3 joined the remaining opener, Jawed, who batted aggressively for 39 before Scotty caught him behind off Mahender. 2 balls later danger man Sohaid was bowled by the skipper to Graces’ relief – 56 for 3 in the 16th over. This became 81 for 5 in the 23rd over.

The host’s number 5, Kent, is a Canadian who was playing his first ever cricket match! He soon proved to have an excellent eye as he compiled an unorthodox 40 in a worrying partnership with the attacking all rounder Shiv. Asad finally bowled Kent with the total at 155 for 6 in over number 34. Graces were beginning to get concerned with the direction of the game and a home win still looked well on the cards until Niroshan then smartly stumped Shiv for a fine 47. Some great economical bowling in the closing overs saw KCC unable to get past our total finally running out of time at 196 for 8.

So an entertaining win by only 11 runs – a memorable debut by Neil , as well as two good catches he bowled tightly in the final overs. Mahender picked up 2 key wickets and Matthew 3. Asad had a good day – as well as the vital last wicket stand he also took 2 wickets. One concern was our catching today as we uncharacteristically put down at least 8 chances of varying difficulty.

An encouraging start to the season for us – next week sees our return to Essex to take on South Loughton

Season kicks off!

After what seemed to be an endless winter Graces return to do battle on the cricket pitch! This Sunday we’re playing in leafy New Malden against the welcoming Kingstonians CC – all the details are on the fixture list. Everyone is welcome to come along!