Away – Barton Seagrave – won by 75 runs

Barton Seagrave defrosted!

After last week’s wonderful summer temperatures Graces packed all available jumpers before heading north to play our friends Barton Seagrave.

They were needed as the day was distinctly chilly with a selection of colourful woolly hats on show.

As well as Matt turning out for us , home player Michael also kindly guested. This was our third trip to Northants and the match tally was 1 a piece. Matt had played on both winning sides so was he to be our lucky charm?

Supporters Adam , Rafe and Simon all travelled north with Adam kindly umpiring all the match.

By agreement Manish won the toss and chose to bat on what looked like quite a green strip. It proved to be quite slow as Matt and Scotty opened our innings. The host’s bowlers were quite variable with accuracy and patience was required. After Matt mis-timed and was caught Mahender was soon back in the pavilion – 33 for 2 after 8 overs.

We then lost 3 quick wickets as Barton S’s bowlers made us work for runs and we were in serious trouble at 59 for 5 in the 18th over. Scotty had watched all this from the other end and had played really well keeping the good balls out.

Our fortunes turned when Ari in at 7 joined Scott. The runs started to flow as Ari played in his usual positive style – Scotty joined in as the rate climbed and our hosts were doing a lot of chasing. The watching Graces players and supporters were now enjoying the spectacle – this pair took the score to 133 in the 28th over until Scotty sportingly walked after a faint edge behind just short of a deserved 50 with 45.

Despite having apparently survived a few heavy evenings at Stuart’s Herefordshire pile Leo strode in and continued to entertain the crowd with some big hitting. In the 39th over Ari was finally caught for exactly 50 –  Leo finished with 42 not out including consecutive sixes. Our total was a defendable 218 for 7

So a great recovery from what had looked like a low score. Our hosts hadn’t helped their cause conceding more than 30 extras.

A BYO tea followed including 3 magnificent cakes baked by Matt’s mum.

The hosts batting started positively but we continued our fine catching from last week’s match with some well judged catches,  the pick being Ari running along the boundary at full speed to somehow reach a hard hit pull shot.

Wickets fell regularly with only their number 4 (Doc – his job!) ) showing application. He eventually was left stranded on 60 as we managed to bowl them out for 136 in the 35th over. The next top score was 16. The wickets were shared around (we used 8 bowlers)  with Matt earning bragging rights picking up 3 of his club mates. Ari was deservedly man of the match for 2 catches and his 50.

Jonners managed to get the last wicket with a rare bowl and rarer victim!

Graces socialised in the now sunlight ground before heading back south.So it’s now 2 – 1 to us and another enjoyable game with Matt yet to play on a losing side!

Next week (weather permitting) it’s a much closer final game in Putney.

 

22-, 62 Barton Rd, Barton Seagrave, Kettering NN15 6RX

Away – Pacific CC – Friendly – Highgate CC – won by 24 runs

Thanks to Adam for the match report;

No Pacific blues for Graces…

The 20th of September saw us wake up to another absolute beaut of a late summer Sunday as the Graces players & fans headed up to leafy North London. A slightly earlier start to allow for any potential light issues but not before the conclusion of a morning colts match, complete with some impressive fielding; the standard had been set!

With some key players taking part in a GLTA tennis tournament south of the river it was again a slightly different looking line up, but this presented an opportunity for Matt from Barton Seagrave to don his Graces jersey once again along with Archie Stroud, making his debut. Jim and Darren were also welcomed back having featured against Winchmore Hill.

With the pitch looking good and the sun beating down there was only one thing to do; so what do you do if you need a toss won? You send Manish of course; Graces would bat first.

Archie and Matt it would be to open up and bar a couple of early scares (Matt put down without scoring and a big appeal for Archie caught behind) they settled in quickly and looked to take advantage of some short boundaries. The Pacific openers bowled really well in the heat but ultimately toiled away without luck or success and it wasn’t long before Archie had brought up his half century with a fine strike to the boundary. Matt was offering fine support and the pair brought up their hundred partnership in the 16th over.

Having just survived a drop by the young keeper Matt was eventually out caught behind for 40 and Jesant joined Archie with the score on 113-1 in the 18th over. Jesant played himself in as Archie continued to take the attack to the bowlers and after a flurry of boundaries he was bowled coming down the wicket for a classy 67, 56 of which were strikes to the boundary.

Stu joined Jesant in the middle and continued his recent good form as a flowing partnership developed moving the score to 170-2 in the 27th over. Stu fell victim to the slow off spin of Pacific captain for the day Tim Garrett (lbw for 33) and after Jim was bowled by Garrett for 3, Jesant went the same way for 27.

It was a fine spell from Garrett (4-46), which on another day might have sparked a collapse, but tidy cameos from Dom and Manish moved Graces on to a fine total of 246-7 from their 40 overs. A big score but with fine conditions and short boundaries nothing could be taken for granted at the hallway stage.

Ari and Archie took the new Dukes for Graces and with Archie grabbing a plumb lbw in his first over and Ari taking 2 wickets in his 3rd it was one hell of a start as the opposition found themselves on 23-3 after 5 overs.

Thankfully for Pacific their fightback was led by chairman Toby Chasseaud who went about his business sensibly, building a solid partnership with Rahul at the other end. As their partnership passed 50, and the score 80, it took a fabulous caught and bowled by Jesant to make the breakthrough and put Pacific back in trouble at  83-5 in the 19th over.

In the remaining overs Pacific did their best to keep up with the required rate but with wickets falling at regular intervals they always looked like second favourites. Big hitter Rizwan Siddiqui played a stellar knock to keep them in the game but with 50 in his sights, and some squeaky bums in the field, he slapped a short of a length delivery from Jim to Ari in the covers who took a brilliant diving catch to end the match – Pacific all out for 222! It was a fitting way to end a great match of cricket and a fine fielding display from the whole team.

Three wickets a piece for Archie, Ari & Jesant who were the pick of the attack; congratulations in particular to Archie and Jim for their first Graces wickets; the first of many we hope!

As usual in this beautiful setting some drinks were enjoyed post match and it was great to see so many staying back to celebrate the performance. Next week looks likely to see us switch from beers to Bovril as we head to our friends at Barton Seagrave and an autumn weather front sweeps across the country; It won’t stop us, until then…

 

 

Shepherd’s Cot, Park Rd, London N8 8JJ

There is a path / narrow road opp Park Avenue South in Park Road on the left about 200 yards after the swimming pool when heading north. Take the path , on your right is North Middx Club on your left is Calthorpe. Keep to the path & go beyond the next ground on the left & the tennis courts on the right, then turn left toward yet more tennis courts.

The pavilion will be directly in front of you & Highgate’s ground on your right.

Away – Hampton Wick – lost by 6 wickets

Graces Hampton Wicked!

Planning a late summer wedding? Check Graces fixture date at Hampton Wick as it’s always a beautiful day!

This year was no different as Graces arrived at our host’s lovely ground (on the edge of Bushey Park) to find perfect cricket conditions; sunshine and around 25 degrees.

There was a lot of activity around the clubhouse (bar and cafe open!) due to a morning junior rugby event finishing up. As usual we were supported by our great band of followers – thanks as ever.

Manish had returned unscathed from his quarantine and promptly won the toss  – maintaining his 100% record! He chose to bat first on what is always a very true strip with a flat outfield. A late drop out saw Mark (skipper of our friends Roehampton Bats) make up our squad.

Hampton Wick Royals are a thriving club with a seemingly endless supply of talented colts who are selected to play against us – a request to their skipper revealed that their team’s average age was 24.7 –  I don’t think I have enough fingers to calculate ours!

Stuart and Jesant opened for us and looked comfortable against the host’s medium pace attack before Jesant fished at a wide one in the 6th over edging to the keeper for an ever stylish 12 – 32 for 1.

Mahender in at three couldn’t find his usual timing , edging to point for 6 – 35 for 2 in the seventh over. Regrouping was needed and Dom (nursing an assortment of injuries!) showed the necessary application with a strong defence while looking to rotate the batting with Stuart. The vice-captain meanwhile had reached an attractive 32 including 6 crunching boundaries before being caught – 60 for 3 in the 15th over. Guest Mark in at 5 helped compile our highest partnership of the day (53) with Dom , showing a nice range of shots before falling LBW for 33 off only 24 deliveries. 113 for 4 in the 27th over.

The game saw 9 (!)  bowlers used by our hosts – sadly none of these could be classed as making up the numbers as we were made to work for runs. This accuracy (together with youthful fielders) prevented us from reaching 200 – Scott with a quickfire 15 not out helped us reach 178 for 7 wickets – Dom top scored with 36.

After another BYO tea (featuring Tunnock Tea Cakes) we took to the field to experience deja-vu. Twice this season we have encountered young opposition openers who have scored a classy century and today was the hat-trick! 16 year old Chris Cole (later revealed to be part of the  Scotland under 17s) showed he’s a few levels above us with perfect timing and judgement dispatching anything loose (and not so loose!) to the boundary with regularity.

We were doing a lot of chasing and as ever we never gave up. He gave one difficult chance (a catch in the deep) but otherwise was errorless as he rapidly reached his century (in the 17th over) before retiring! After this the run rate thankfully slowed down to something more normal. But the damage had been done and despite a few late wickets our total was reached in only the 31st over with 4 wickets down – the next highest score was 16! It was a family affair as Chris’s dad hit the winning runs – so a loss by 6 wickets.

The pic of our bowlers was Mahender with 3 wickets.

Thankfully the bar was open so we were able to enjoy drinks in the sunshine with the opposition while looking for deer (a few spotted in the distance) while hearing the ubiquitous green parakeets flying around.

As ever there are positives as we showed resilience in our batting and our heads never went down! -With the season nearly at an end next week we visit a usually strong Pacific with a tennis tournament unfortunately depleting our squad!

Away v Winchmore Hill Tigers – Friendly – Winchmore Hill – lost by 152 runs!

The Tigers pounce in Winchmore Hill…

Sunday 6th September and a beautiful morning for a journey North to our friends, and regular opponents, formerly known as The Judd Street Tigers.

With a number of injuries (Jesant the latest to break a bone) it was a different looking line up with friend of Adam, Jim Merrick stepping up to make his debut and former Graces player Darren Charles returning to the fold after more than a 10 years absence.

Even with the additions to the team Graces were a man down so our opponents kindly agreed to lend a rolling substitute fielder and the game was on. In the circumstances skipper Stu nobly suggested that The Tigers bat first and so the toss was uncontested. For the record though, a coin was tossed and Stu called correctly!

Royall and Ranser opened up for The Tigers and, perhaps to their surprise, they found themselves facing their teammate Sikander Ali with the new ball (Stu never to miss a trick taking advantage of the fact that the first rolling sub was in fact their premium bowler!)

Ali came steaming in and a beautiful first delivery took everyone by surprise, taking the edge of Royall’s bat and being put down behind the wicket. Circumstances had conspired against the ever-reliable Scotty who had had to rush out to the middle in borrowed WK gear just moments before. Had the chance been taken however, it would have been Graces’ second consecutive Platinum duck bowling first!

A fine opening over from Ali was followed up with a maiden from Mahender and the terrific start continued as Ali had Royall clean bowled with a yorker and Mahender had Rander caught behind in the next; Tigers 7-2 after 4 overs and Graces on top.

Mitch Greenham & Abdullai Adejumo were in at 3 & 4 for The Tigers and they settled in nicely, seeing off the opening bowlers and playing themselves in against tidy spells from first change bowlers Rob & Jim. Both batsmen looked in decent nick and Adejumo was looking particularly dangerous dispatching a couple of powerful sixes as the partnership passed 50 and the score moved on to 60-2 in the 13th over.

Meanwhile Graces horrible luck with injuries continued as a pulled back muscle did for Scotty behind the stumps and he was unable to continue. Time for another reshuffle with Jonners taking the gloves and super sub Collin donning his whites and making square leg his own.

As the partnership continued and the score reached 100 it was the golden arm of Sam that eventually did for Greenham, holing out to Stu (who else?) at deep mid-wicket from a trademark dipping full toss. The departing batsman not happy but some hope for Graces!

Youngster Hassan Bajwa was next to the middle and he didn’t take long to hit his stride with some fine boundaries as the toil in the field continued. Adejumo passed 50 without offering a single chance (though there was a brilliant one handed catch by Mahender, just the wrong side of the boundary). Bajwa was next to reach 50 and the total passed 200 with 5 overs to go. Bajwa was eventually bowled by Dom for 58 and there followed further late wickets with Barker bowled by Mahender for 3 and Adejumo finally run out on the last ball of the 40 overs. It had been a cracking innings though and The Tigers posted 231-7 as it reached a close.

There had been plenty of tidy bowling but ultimately the attack was lacking some firepower and The Tigers were able to capitalise. Mahender the pick of the bowlers with 2-25 from his 8 overs.

Fed and watered the players returned to the middle in some warm sunshine and it was debutant Jim who was given the opportunity to open up with Mahender; Sikander Ali had the honour with the ball (for the second time in the match!) Unlike in the first innings Ali dropped a tad short with his first ball and Mahender dispatched it to the boundary. He was back on form second ball though and as the ball fizzed through to the keeper there was a huge appeal for caught behind; not out was the decision and Mahender was reprieved.

A couple more cracking boundaries followed from Mahender but after being dropped in the covers his luck was finally up, given out lbw to Ali for 12. Dom joined Jim in the middle and the pair initially looked in good order with a trademark late cut on show from Dom and a couple of elegant leg side boundaries from Jim; any hopes of a decent partnership were however quelled in the 9th over when Jim’s bails were sent flying by Ali. Jim out for 8 and the score to 34-2.

This sparked somewhat of a fizzling out of the innings with Dom dragging Ali on to the stumps for 10 and Adam Bray bowled round his legs for a duck two balls later. Of the remaining six batsmen, which included a second crack of the whip for Dom & Mahender, it was only Mahender who made it to double figures, out lbw for 11 as the innings eventually ended on 79.

Whilst runs weren’t easy to come by The Tigers were made to work hard for the wickets with the innings lasting 30 overs including a 54 minute rear-guard innings of 7 by Jonners! The bowling was very consistent with nine of the wickets bowled or lbw, pick of the figures 4-25 for Ali (match figures of 5-36!), 3-8 for Rick Barker and 6 overs for as many runs for Nadeem Muzhar.

A challenging, but no less fun day at the office for Graces and thankfully there was no early locking up of the pavilion this week so some of the team were able to enjoy a beer (and collect their belongings) with opposition players in the early evening sunshine.

Next week we visit another regular opponent Hampton Wick CC at their beautiful home in Bushey Park. Always a great day at HWCC but they’re a strong outfit so we’ll be glad to welcome back some of our regular players including Captain Manish fresh out of quarantine. Until then…

 

 

Address;

The Paulin Ground

149 Firs Lane, London N21 3ER

Away v Hadley Wood – Friendly – Botany Bay CC – lost 20 runs

Botany Bay Cricket Ground, East Lodge Lane, EN2 8AS

The curse of the wishing well…   

Sunday 30th August and a trip to the beautiful Botany Bay CC for a friendly fixture against Hadley Wood CC. Some of our South London players had to set their alarm for the journey to the rural outskirts of North London but the quaint ground is well worth the trip and the team were hopeful to recreate their victory of last season. Despite the long journey it was great to see a number of supporters make the trip including new followers Andy from Herne Hill and Adam’s friend Jim from Chelmsford.   

As we inspected the pitch, opposition captain Saif revealed that he hadn’t won a toss all season; conversely Graces had won them all, so this was only going one way right..? Yep, Hadley Wood won the toss and elected to bat first on a whiteish pitch that was just a little soft underfoot; not a bad toss to lose perhaps?   

Ari opened up with the ball and didn’t have to wait long for success as Iqbal, not fussed about ‘having a look’, drove on the up straight to Mahender at cover; a platinum duck and Hadley Wood 0-1! Ben Steele joined Saif and they cautiously set about seeing off the opening pair of Ari & Mahender, successfully taking the score to 25-1 after 8 overs. 

Time for some spin and Jesant the star from last week, who was also on a hat trick, was introduced to the attack. Steele, knowingly or otherwise, saw off the hat trick ball but Jesant wasn’t to be kept waiting and had him lbw for 11 four balls later, and Saif bowled for 13 in his next; both guilty of playing back to fullish deliveries. The score, 33-3 after 11 with Jesant and Mamun bowling beautifully and building pressure. 

With Hadley Wood in need of a partnership, Sha & Chetan (in at 4 & 5) looked keen to step up and having seen off a tough spell, including a few fine boundaries, it was guest player Rob who was brought into the attack. Rob had impressed in the field and he slipped straight into it bowling a tight line and punished only for dropping the odd ball short. Meanwhile Mamun had switched ends and in the second over of his new spell he had Chetan caught by Ari at gully; Chetan had looked in good nick so this felt like an important breakthrough as the score moved on to 67-4 in the 19th over. 

As Mamun continued to impress with a wicket maiden followed by a maiden, returning player Sam joined the attack and was straight into his customary variation following up a no ball that bounced four times with a flighted full toss that bamboozled the batsman, dipping and crashing into the stumps! Sam I’m calling it pure genius but Sha wasn’t so happy and trudged VERY slowly back to the pavilion with the score 72-5 at the halfway stage. 

Josh Steele and Ishmael were now at the crease and as Steele looked to take the attack to Mamun he skied a full toss to Captain Stu at long off who took a regulation catchand HWCC were in trouble at 79-6. Here followed a sensible 13 over spell from HWCC as Ishamel and Nee, looking to consolidate, rotated the strike well and moved the score along to 126-6 from 36 overs. The partnership even saw off a rare spell from Chairman Leo who bowled a tidy 3 overs before being replaced by Dom for what was also his first bowl of the year. 

It was Mahender who eventually broke the partnership with Nee skying another catch to safe hands Stu at long off and Dom quickly followed this up with the wicket of Tahidul off only his fifth delivery; Ari taking a neat catch at square leg. In the penultimate over Ishmael was sold down the river at the non-striker’s end and was well run out by Jesant & Mahender for 28 as the score reached 133-9 with one over left. Dom bowled the final over of the innings and despite conceding no boundaries HWCC moved their score on to 141-9 from their 40 overs. 

Despite the pitch being a little tricky it was Graces who were the more buoyant at the halfway stage after a fine effort in the field with skipper Stu setting the standard. Would 141 be competitive? As the sandwiches, teacakes and battenbergs were devoured the feeling was, probably not. 

Stu and Mahender strode out after the break and after a decent first few overs, with Stu looking in good nick, he played around a straight one and was lbw to Saif for 9; 17-1 after 4 overs. This brought the in-form Jesant to the middle and the two looked to play sensibly, not bothered by plenty of dot balls they dispatched the rare loose ball to the boundary and took the score past 30 in the 7th over. Meanwhile Saif was bowling well and into his 4th over it was a low full toss that did for Mahender, who looking to dispatch the ball to the boundary skied it to mid off off the toe of the bat; 31-2 in the 8th over as Dom joined Jesant in the middle. 

 HWCC are notoriously lively in the field and with his tail up and into his 5th straight over Saif got one to pop off a length and Dom was unlucky to glove behind for 1. Saif completed a wicket maiden and his team sensed an opportunity as Ari strode out; the score 39-3 after 10 overs.

With the low target and plenty of overs left, sensible batting was all that was required and this is what Ari & Jesant set about doing; both looking good as they took the score to 80-3 at the halfway point; Graces looking comfortable. Tahidul, who was finding plenty of turn, continued for HWCC after drinks and he was joined by left armer Chetan who quickly found his rhythm and plenty of swing as conditions became more overcast. As the duo looked threatening Tahidul was finally rewarded in his fifth over (the 24th of the innings) snaffling the prized wicket of Jesant, caught behind for 46 and completing a wicket maiden with Jonners seeing out the over. With his confidence high Tahidul followed this up with another fine over and had Ari lbw for 24. The score 95-5 in the 26th; game on?

In at seven today was Scotty and with two new batsmen at the crease HWCC were in high spirits looking to pounce on any opportunity. Alas they weren’t forced to wait too long as Chetan continued to find plenty of movement in the air Jonners was clean bowled for a duck and in his next over Scotty was caught off a leading edge looking to turn the ball into the leg side. Rob joined Leo in the middle with the score on 96-7 in the 29th over and Graces position looking rather precarious. Rob successfully let a few deliveries go by but after a sequence of dot balls he was stumped for 2 in new bowler Iqbal’s first over and Graces were 8 down with the score on 107; 35 runs still needed. All eyes were on Leo by this stage and when he launched a trademark 6 down the ground in the 32nd over the away fans perhaps sensed there was still hope. It wasn’t to be for Leo though as he was clean bowled by an inswinging yorker from Ben Steele and any hopes of last wicket heroics from Sam & mamun were scuppered when Sam suffered the same result, bowled by Steele for 2 and Graces were all out for 121. 

The final 7 wickets had fallen for 31 runs in what was an almighty turn around for HWCC and a collapse that Graces will be happy to forget. Thankfully the Robin Hood pub round the corner was still open to wash away that final hour and enjoy some merriments in the company of HWCC veteran David Turner.   

One unique feature of Botany Bay CC is an old well just outside the boundary which some say will bring you good luck; Jonners, Dom and Scotty all put money in the well but with 2 runs between the 3 of them we’re not sure the rumours are true! Or perhaps it takes 24 hours… it was after all a bank holiday weekend.   

Next up a return to the wonderful Winchmore Hill CC for a friendly against regular opposition Judd Street Tigers. Last season this match saw a narrow victory for Graces in a high scoring match. Until then… 

*I should point out that a regulation catch for Stu is not the same as a regulation catch for you or me and this one saw Stu sprint in and take an exceptional diving catch to a ball that looked for all money to be falling short of him. Absolute class from the Skipper! 😉

 

Away v South Loughton CC – Friendly – won by 6 runs

Thanks to Adam for this match report;

Sunday 23rd August 2020, time for Graces annual excursion to deepest Essex and to our friends at South Loughton CC. After a spell of inclement weather, including a washout last week, the outfield looked slow and the pitch green but it wasn’t enough to stop Stuart electing to bat first having won the toss; that’s 100% success rate with the tosses so far this season.

Cher’s ‘If I could turn back time’ was blaring from the invisible speakers as Stu & Leo walked out to open the innings looking to recreate some fine partnerships of seasons gone by. After a steady few overs to open up a ball from young seamer Lloyd Mann reared off a length and took the shoulder of Leo’s bat; caught at gully for 5.

This brought leading run scorer for the season Mahender to the crease, who demonstrated what a tricky pitch it was to time the ball on. Despite this Stu and Mahe kept the scoreboard ticking over with the latter adding a couple of swashbuckling boundaries before being caught off a top edge at fine leg in the11th over. This brought Jesant to the wicket with the score at 33-2.

By this point Stuart looked to have found some good rhythm and with Jesant playing himself in sensibly they were able to rotate the strike and build a cracking partnership of 56. With the score at 89 and thoughts of an acceleration in the air Stu was caught behind off the bowling of Evans for 30 and Mendis quickly followed; bowled for 2 looking to cut a ball that kept a touch low. Score on to 90-4 after 22 overs and the target of 200 looking a fair way off.

In amongst it all Jesant was looking in good form and was joined by Dom (in at 6) who quickly showed he was happy to be back, both players executing the late cut particularly well and taking the score past 120. After another fine boundary, Dom looking to be aggressive didn’t quite get to the pitch and edged Evans to gully for 17. 121-5 after 28 overs.

Next in was Adam Bray who after a couple of singles missed a straight one and was bowled by Shivanash and Adam was quickly followed by Hiten who was another victim to the spin of Evans, lbw for 1.

With the score on 133-7 Jesant desperately needed someone to stick around with him for the remaining 8 overs and that’s exactly what Scotty set about doing. There was plenty of sensible batting as a much needed partnership formed with Jesant expertly managing the balance of aggression vs undue risk as he took his score past 50. After some flowing boundaries Jesant was eventually caught and bowled by Shivanish in the penultimate over with the score on 170.

With only one over left Jonners promoted the expansive Mamun ahead of himself and a strong final over took the total to 178-9. The feeling amongst the ranks was that on a sticky wicket this was probably around par and that it would likely be another close match!

After an array of home cooked teas and a few beers from the bar Hill and Farthing; two of the younger opposition players, walked out for SLCC and in Ari’s absence, our very own Dhaka express (Mamun) opened up with Mahender. It was a fine opening spell from both and though no early wickets fell you could feel pressure building, especially on Hill who had only managed 8 runs from 23 balls.

Mendis and Jesant took over the attack and in his first over Mendis had Hill brilliantly caught by Stu running in from long on and followed this up with Sam Davey (in at 3) caught behind in his next over. A great little spell for Graces and SLCC had moved on to 35-2 after 11 overs.

Shivanash was in at 4 and after a rain delay he linked up with Farthing who had been batting nicely. They looked to be constructing a decent partnership but having hit Jesant for a 4 and a 6 Farthing had a rush of blood and played one big shot too many. He was well caught by Mendis at long on for 45 as the score moved on to 70-3.

Next in was the young Seb Ali who looked effective and the SLCC ranks began to recount how these two batsmen had led their team to victory in their previous three matches… would they make it four?!

Clearly having a good understanding of each other the two batsmen set about their task well, looking to rotate the strike and put away any loose deliveries as they and saw off spells from Hiten and Adam Bray and built a partnership that passed 60. As they looked to be cruising Stu brought back Mahender for his second spell; this time his traditional spin. It proved a great decision as Mahe picked up the young Ali; bowled for 23 in his first over. Graces sensed an opportunity but SLCC were still favourites requiring 44 runs with 10 overs and 6 wickets in hand.

In at 6 was Josh Evans who buoyed from his fine bowling performance steadied the ship and when Shivanash passed 50 SLCC looked on course and Graces looked in need of something special. The Dhaka express was back but had reverted to his usual action and after a couple of very economical overs their was some confusion between the batsmen as they looked to pinch a single and Mamun pounced to run out Shivanash off his own bowling. Game on!

With 18 required from a little over 3 overs you could feel the tension as Luke Hill walked out at number 7. Mendis was into his final over by this point and as the batsman looked to target the long off region Stuart took the decision to move himself to there. The stars aligned as next ball Evans hit it high into the air and Stuart took the catch!

Mann strolled in at 8 and although the run rate was still very achievable, with wickets falling the pressure looked to be telling on the lower order batsmen. With the game in the balance Hill went for a quick single off the bowling of Hiten and as the throw came into the keeper the ball ricocheted off Scotty on to the stumps and on to the square. Desperate for the runs the batsmen tried to steal an extra run but Scotty leapt on the ball and an underarm throw smashed into the stumps at the striker’s end – another brilliant run out and the score to 166-7.

Everyone was well on the edge of their seats by this stage and with 2 overs up his sleeve it was Jesant who Stu called upon to bowl the 38th. It was a good start from Jesant and with only 3 singles from the opening 5 balls the pressure told when Mann, looking to slash the ball into the off side, was well caught by Mahender for 6. With his hands warmed up Mahender was back into the attack with SLCC requiring 10 runs from 2 overs, with 2 wickets in hand. Mahe cleverly rattled through the over and the 3 runs off the 5th delivery were the only from the over.

So after 79 overs of cricket it came down to 7 from 6. Russell (in at 9) saw the first ball off but looking to attack the second he was clean bowled for 5. This brought captain and veteran Andy Battle out at number 11 and as he immediately looked to turn Jesant into the leg side he sent a leading edge to Stuart at mid wicket; gone for a golden duck and it was over in the blink of an eye!

A victory for Graces, another fantastic game of cricket and a hat trick pending for Jesant who’s fine all round performance won him the man of the match award!

Next week sees us return to the picturesque Botany Bay CC for a friendly against Hadley Wood CC. This was a victorious league fixture for us last season. Until then…

Away v Totteridge Millhillians CC – friendly – lost by 5 wickets

Totteridge Green, London N20 8PB

https://www.cricket.totteridgemillhillians.com/

Deja Vu for Graces!

Away to Totteridge & Millhillians – 9th August 2020 

Lost by 5 wickets – 35 over match

Another glorious Sunday (30+ degrees!) saw us travel north to leafy N20. The Totteridge ground nestles nicely among some seriously expensive looking homes – the club’s car park reflected this featuring some posh cars including a Bentley and Porsche. Graces thinks this may have been our first match at this venue unless anyone knows otherwise!

We first played our hosts when they were Southlands CC quite a few seasons ago and chatting to their veteran skipper Clive discovered that they merged with Totteridge as Sundays were not utilised at this really cosy ground and they were struggling for numbers.

As ever we had a great turnout of supporters with Colin enjoying his scoring role. Chris Sherwood and blast from the past Aussie Jason Groves turned out as we have some injuries including Dom and Adam (who kindly came along to umpire again) Mendes played despite injuring his bowling hand playing for Old Wimbledonians the day before.

Thankfully unlike last week the home team had a wide age range with some seniors playing too!

A sigh of relief as Manish won the toss and we batted , Ari and Scotty immediately played positively on the flat surface against seam and spin. The total was 47 in the 11th over when Scotty mis-timed and was caught for an aggressive 21. Mahender came in at 3 – Ari perished LBW the very next ball trying a sweep (scoring 19) bringing Mendis in at 4. The hat-trick ball was survived. However the score had only moved on to 52 when Mendis swung at a wide one getting an edge that was well caught by a diving leg slip.

Drama as Stuart in at 5 was not happy with his batting helmet and took it off. Two balls later he promptly edged the ball onto his lower lip and retired hurt with an ice pack! Graces seem to remember him getting clobbered a few seasons ago in similar circumstances!

Jason Groves was in at 6 and hit a fine 4 before getting bowled. This brought newbie Adam Bray in at 7 – he went on the attack with some fine drives adding 56 with Mahender who continued his great form with some crunching shots. Adam was eventually stumped for an important 25. Our total was now 134 with ten overs left – Stuart had recovered sufficiently to return to bat – however he was soon LBW for a duck! (135 for 6) 

Jonners at 8 hung around with Mahender who brought up yet another entertaining 50 in quick time. Jonners was LBW in the 27th over bringing our skipper in at number 9. Could we last the 35 overs? Last week we didn’t and paid for it! 

30 was added before another LBW saw Manish return to the pavilion (actually a gazebo!) scoring 12. Chris Sherwood strode in at 10 and proceeded to ping it around with some lovely drives adding 30 in quick time. Mahender was stumped for a fab 74 in the penultimate over –  Mamun and Chris (20 not out) took our total to 215 as our overs were completed.

As the BYO tea was consumed Graces noted that like last week the outfield was super fast – anything wide of a fielder was 4 runs.

Chris and Ari opened our bowling against youngsters Umarr and Chaim. We experienced deja-vu as after 5 overs the hosts had raced to 54 , 19 year old Umarr taking a liking to the pace attack with a range of classy drives and cuts. Our skipper changed to spin and the run fest thankfully stopped with the batsmen having to work for their runs. Our first wicket came with the score at 72 in the 9th over. The batsmen had been a bit complacent with their running until Jason Groves hit the stumps with a fantastic direct hit from mid-off to run out Chaim for 21. Umarr had scored 48.

Number 3 , Tom , never looked comfortable until he was bowled by Mahender for a duck. Chad at 4 was also bowled by Mahender for 2 – 3 wickets down for 79 after 11 overs and Graces thought they were back in contention. Simon at 5 soon showed his talent with some classy drives taking the total to 122 in the 21st over before falling LBW for a nice 26. Umarr at the other end meanwhile had slowed down his run rate dramatically as our spinners bowled accurately.

Young Sharma came in at 6 took up the attack with Umarr and kept up with the run rate as Graces fielded well – Umarr reached a fine century and surely wanted to bring the hosts home until he played over a straight ball from Ari and was bowled for a classy 103.   

The score was now 194 for 5 after 31 overs – we were still in with a chance. However number 7, Norman , had different ideas with a big 6 into the sight screen helping to win the game with only 3 balls remaining!

Despite a narrow loss we had plenty of positives with some fine fielding and accurate bowling 

Thankfully the bar was open and after a hot afternoon fielding a cold (alcoholic!) drink with the opposition was overdue

Next week we’re at Broxbourne sadly without our contingent of tennis players who are at a tournament in Zurich!