Bingo Time!

Graces attended the Busy Lady bingo night at the Wellington pub – a fun night to be repeated despite leaving prizeless!

Judd St Tigers – away – won by 5 runs

Judd Street Tigers ground details;

Winchmore Hill Cricket Club

The Paulin Ground

Ford’s Grove

Winchmore Hill

N21 3ER

As ever everyone is welcome to come along to meet us!

match report courtesy of Colin;

Back to regular season against Tour Related Welcome Opposition

Flushed with the highs of our recent tour in Portugal we today were entertained by friends at Judd St Tigers who play at Winchmore Hill Ground in Ford’s Grove. We shall play that venue more times this season. They go to play at Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club next weekend.

Before I press on further I would like to highlight long time Grace – Nick Swinburne, who sponsored today’s Matchball. Thank You.

Unusually Skipper Mahender lost the toss but we were put to bat which was desired anyway.

We had two new to side players today and as Judd St were short we agreed to loan out (Tour Fifer) Sam and Chair Jonathan.

Ansar opening alongside (Centenerian) Scott was most unfortunate. First ball wide then as he connected next ball his bat broke and the resulting shot flew for easy catch by Sam of all people.

In next was Mendis facing Ali S bowling. Ali struggled physically a lot today with hamstring and would only bowl three overs and later looked certain when batting to need a runner after another episode.

Leading the charge other end was Mitch G and he induced Scott into a deep gully shot safely captured by M Webster for 3. Next time Mitch was out with really low bounces he got Mahender LBW before he could settle.
Chris Wright was now a new bowler from over 7 and ceded the first boundary of match by Mendis who had been dropped in the previous over.  It was Mendis who also fell LBW after 9 to Mitch for his third wicket just after Chris was being slaughtered by Dom who took 15 in an over. He too though was LBW to Chris for 20. Stuart lingered for a while but was caught and bowled by Chris and Manish was soon out for little after a drive to awaiting Mitch at Mid On and two balls later an almost carbon copy shot took Newton for 9. Before this, young player Hari had started a spell of bowling and Newton was emphatic in a boundary. The boy did not have much pace but the ball was always in the slot and challenging.  We had considered getting drinks ready for over 20 but at 64 – 8 in only 15 overs would the innings end sooner?

Leo carved two boundaries in the 17th to calm down Chris who ended on 6-0-38-4 then being faced with latest bowler Steve Bignell who had an aerial bomb style had a trademark 6 well over straight hit and perhaps drinks were likely. Mamun had parried many shots then sent an emphatic boundary off Hari but was undone next ball as the ball found his stumps. Drinks then while two balls into the 20th at a mere 89.  Could we actually reach 3 figures?

On resumption, new player Ronnie to crease then  played to keep Leo on strike who brought our score up to 100 with another two past the markers. Hari’s father, Jason, was bowling and both Sam and Jonathan made returns that created dot balls but on the fifth delivery it was all over as he got through to cap Leo at a majestic 30 with Ronnie not out on two and a target of 101 set.

Tea was ready in good time and a good varied selection without sandwiches and our prospects did not seem bright at all.

M Webster and Captain Richard Burgess were the openers facing Newton and Manish who both opened with Maidens and then Captain fell LBW for 2 to Newton. Hardly any more score before Manish  had an instinctive caught and bowled to take Webster for 1 in a Wicket Maiden leaving Guest player Sam on 3. Score now 8 for 2 in 8, followed by 9-2-9.

Ali was their Leo despite his strains and refused a runner and his third boundary was a lofty drive for 6 over deep Midwicket which did not please Mendis. Before this Sam had a lucky break in the 12th as he survived a run out opportunity after responding late. A long spell of a run rate less than 2 followed with Ali slipping up again in the 17th as Mamun, Mendis and occasionally Mahender bowled to keep it down. Drinks were put off to after 21 which was expensive for Mahender and the score was still only 55-2, just about par for required run rate of 2.5. Manish resumed a spell having been 5-3-3-1 to bring about great excitement as Sam finally amassed 10 in 74 balls (playing to boost Ali of course)

The 29th was interesting as before then it was amusing to see the open and closed field positions dependent who was on strike. This was a first, and only over, from Ronnie. Ansar was also now bowling, maiden to start, but in place for Ali to reach 50 in 50 off a boundary (62 mins) then going onto two more Maiden and a finish on 5-3-9-0. Back to Ronnie, yielding another single to Sam then taking the big prize of Ali who drove to waiting hands of Ansar at Extra Cover and capping him at 51. Replacement Jonners meant we now had 13 Graces on Field, only punished as Jonners swept boundary second ball.

22 required in 11 overs, time for Graces to squeeze tightly once more. Jonners did not help with his 11 before Mendis bowled him after no customary nurdles but bold second boundary and a brace. After all the tight bowling, Mahender taking Mitch for 1 despite his previous shot having two players headed to catch before mid on, looking into the sun and almost colliding and then seeing ball now on deck; there were 23 balls remaining and still only 13 required. Then 18 left to score 11.

On the last ball from Mendis, Sam charged up the wicket but Chris was staying put and was effectively ran out and did walk for his 12. A chance for wicket keeper Ian Duffern to help get 11 from 12 balls and the pair survived Mahender so that the last over loomed with 7 required. Mahender had finished another match on 22-1 in 5 or 6 overs.

Ian had kept strike and was bowled first ball then Chris perished for 5 as Newton caught and bowled holding a fierce response well. Young Hari was not keen to run but Father Jason had set off and he became stranded. Three balls left and as Jason had crossed he faced the ball rather than last man Steve Bignell. 7 required off 3 balls, a dot ball and then Newton finished it all off bowling him.

An absolutely incredible finish that saw 4 wickets crash in that over from Newton with no added score (7.5-2?-10-4) and a win by 6 runs for Graces after all with one ball to spare. TV rights are now on offer.

A frustrating early partnership of 67, Sam and his 2 hour stint at Crease, Ali with 2 x 6 and 6 x 4 in 51 could have meant an early finish and embarrassing loss but our bowling team and Scott as keeper held firm . Manish had gone on to only yield 11 in 8 and Mamun was 4-2-7-0. Mendis was 8-1-29-1 and Ronnie only 1-0-5-1.  The field saved the day although that steadying tally of 30 from Leo to join Dom (20) as only double digit batters meant Leo was our Man of the Match. You could argue second place was highly competitive but does not need any note so all round efforts recognised.

On to Alleyns Ad Hoc at Herne Hill next week. To be a good match for sure but today will linger in memory for a long time to come. Fortunately we have known Judd St Tigers a long time and they were pleased that this was no walkover but an exciting match against all probability so it was drinks at the bar and good company to finish a truly bright day.


Portugal Tour 25th – 30th April

Must be passed to the left!
Coimbra’s plaque

Graces had a great tour to Portugal – very welcoming hosts at Coimbra Knights and Oporto. We managed to win all four games – match reports below

Some outstanding performances included a maiden 50 turned into a 100 from Scotty plus 2 eighties from Mendis and Leo. Sam picked up 5 wickets too!


Match report – Saturday 28th April v Oporto – match drawn

Apologies my report is a bit longer than usual but it was an eventful game!

  After the super hospitable Coimbra Knights adventure Graces had an early start travelling the 90 kilometres back to Porto for an 11am start to play the Oporto Cricket Club.

The Oporto club looks like a little corner of Hampshire tucked into the middle of Porto , a lovely clubhouse (with many years of tennis tournament winners and best cricket averages displayed on honours boards) swimming pool and clay tennis courts. It’s a haven for expats with British newspapers available to read , somehow the Guardian didn’t feature! It has a lot of history having been set up in 1855 and regular host to one of the most historical cricket matches in existence between Oporto and Lisbon CC – the Kendall Cup first played in 1861!

So a very different set up to our first hosts and Graces were expecting a much tougher match. The artificial strip sits in a lush outfield surrounded by trees with a very cute pavilion for players to sit in , a chalkboard giving the players’ figures for the season – thankfully almost all the best ones were away!

Eventually the start time arrived (11am) and Mahender made it 4 correct calls in 4 matches choosing to bat with Sam and Dom opening. The match format was unusual for us being a time game – the second innings lasting an hour and 20 overs after tea.

The weather was mixed sun , cloud and around 16 degrees. As expected Oporto’s bowling attack was a step above what we’d encountered in Luso with a decent pace attack. With plenty of overs available our openers could pace themselves against accurate bowling. Lawrie continued his umpiring duties together with an umpire from the hosts.

In the 8th over Dom was caught and bowled for 13 bringing Stuart in at 3. When Sam was caught behind for 9 in the 12th over we had moved onto 38. Scott then joined Stuart – these 2 upped the pace before Stuart was LBW for an attacking 26 complete with some lovely straight drives  (76 for 3 after 19 overs)

Mahender soon fell for 5 bringing Mendis in. Together with Scotty he went on the attack. Both batsmen punished anything loose on the even pitch as the run rate accelerated sharply. The Oporto bowlers were switched around but it was really only damage limitation as the ball was dispatched to the boundary with regularity by both batsmen – it was a run fest with plenty of overs going for 10 runs or more. Mendis was first to fifty with Scotty matching him to reach his maiden Graces half century- the watching players and supporters were thoroughly enjoying the carnage.

A fine lunch was taken by players and supporters in the traditional pavilion having been delivered in a trailer towed by a tiny tractor chugging slowly over from the main clubhouse. After a leisurely intake of sandwiches and savouries Graces were all set to take the field when the cheese and biscuits appeared complete with 2 bottles of 10 year old port! The hosts are very hospitable and used to taking over a hour for a relaxing lunch. During the break Graces noticed a team photo of our old adversaries the Judd Street Tigers among the visiting teams’ pennants. Eventually the teams took to the field.

The rapid scoring rate continued until Mendis was caught for a wonderful 84 in the 44th over (10 fours and 1 six) the partnership of 142 had only taken 19 overs. Jonners having been padded up for an eternity then rotated the strike allowing Scotty to get closer to the big 100. After getting a bit stuck in the nineties 2 quick boundaries took him to a magical 100 (11 fours) and the supporters cheered with delight. A maiden fifty taken all the way for a ton – surely a first in the club’s history and fully deserved by our popular Kiwi!

After our centurion retired Jonners , Manish , Mamun and Leo all hit out taking our total to 308 for 9 after 55 overs – Sid was the only Graces who didn’t bat. The hosts were a player short and Ritchie kindly played for them as we had 12 players with the arrival of Mamun.

As they came off the field a few of the Porto players commented on the length of our innings not giving them enough time to mount a challenge – this format is new for us.

A wicket in the second over (a catch for Leo off Manish) was not the best start for the hosts – this soon became 2 down as the accurate Sid bowled the number 3 for only 1. Nineteen runs after 5 overs.

The other opener was the friendly fresh faced Sabha who we had first encountered on Friday when he guested for Coimbra. Together with number 4 Yetin he kept the good balls out putting anything loose away. Mr Yetin hung around for 13 overs for 8 runs when he was caught by Leo at square leg. This catch was a stunner as Yetin powerfully pulled a long hop off Mahender which was boundary bound until Leo dived to his right somehow plucking it out of the air – an early contender for catch of the season!

The seasoned looking Evan joined Sabha and these two didn’t take many risks as our total was beyond them but it was an entertaining partnership. Mahender rotated the bowling with only Scott and Stuart not having a go – Stuart’s bowling ban was probably still in force anyway!

Eventually time was called in heavy drizzle after 42 overs with the score at 167 for 3 with Sabha on 78 and Evan on 48 both unbeaten – a winning draw!

Both teams then retired to the clubhouse for more port cheap beer and wine!