Roehampton Bats – 2 day test match – lost by 105 runs

Match report 2 day test match 26/27th July 2018

After many months of waiting for our first ever 2 day game the day duly arrived. Unfortunately due to the match falling on working days getting a team together proved to be a struggle. After using all options and sources our guests included Sam from Pacific , Dave from Oxshott , Dan from Dulwich and Husnain from HSBK.

The Roehampton pitch is tucked away in a picturesque copse with the clubhouse located a 2 minute walk away. The pitch is a real belter and a lot depended on who won the toss. Unfortunately we lost and to nobody’s surprise we were fielding in 30+ heat and relentless sun.

When Sam had Ben,their opener, LBW for a duck Graces tails were up. Nick the other opener has a similar style to Jonners in that he can drop anchor and let the other bat take up the attack and so it proved as Rob (one of 4 PE teachers!) played really well flaying anything wide to the boundary – as the outfield was brown and super quick the ball seemed to accelerate away from Graces fielders. His 50 came up quickly as we did a lot of chasing – Mendis finally ran him out with a great throw and when keeper Jonners caught Nick shortly after our hosts were 82 for 3 and we thought we were in with a sniff.

Sadly it was not to be as Bats number 4 Ed and 5 Sam then took advantage of the super flat wicket and accelerated the scoring rate  away leaving Graces to toil in the sapping heat. Our heads never went down as guests Sam and Dan and Husnain bowled well. Dave sharing keeping roles with Jonners showed that he’s a smart keeper.

When Husnain bowled Sam for 57 the Bats had reached 274 for 4 and we were really looking at damage limitation as the pitch was giving nothing to the bowlers. Ed went on to make a fine unbeaten century and a late clatter of wickets as the Bats looked to declare which they duly did at a formidable 328 for 7 after 62 overs.

Fielding in 30+ degrees with a cloudless sky was really draining and frequent drinks breaks were taken. Lunch and tea were taken in Roehampton CC’s cosy clubhouse.

Husnain and Jonners opened for us and after a lovely pull for 4 Husnain played over one and was bowled for 4. He then promptly walked off to sit on a bench with apparently his dad – he’d come all the way from Chigwell to play for us. He then stayed on this bench for the rest of the day!

Dan in at 3 hit a brisk 25 before getting an edge to be caught and bowled for 25 – 31 for 2.

Jonners had been playing patiently but when a wide delivery appeared a rush of blood resulted in a mistimed shot caught in the covers – 35 for 3.

Menis in at 5 looked comfortable , skipper Mahender edged behind for 4 and when Mendis was smartly caught in the covers for 32 our score was 90 for 5 – the Bats total seemed a long way off!

Stuart and Manish looked to rebuild our innings and looked comfortable until Stuart managed to pick out square leg for an entertaining 36. Guest Dave in at 8 showed his batting class as he then took the attack to the Bats with an attacking range of drives and pulls taking the score to 165 before Manish was caught for 15.

Sam and Ronnie supported Dave taking our score to 188 with Dave finishing on a stylish 61 not out. So a deficit of 140. Both teams then retired to the clubhouse for a much needed beer , BBQ and an egg throwing competition!

So onto day 2 – It was going to be 100 overs maximum. Our numbers were reduced when Husnain contacted us to say he’d broken his arm! (also Stuart and Dan could only play Thursday)  However on Thursday a stocky Aussie , Andrew , had wandered past and asked about the game – numbers were exchanged and he duly turned up on Friday to help us out! A nephew of one of the Bats , Charlies , was roped into play for us and Newton was expected at about 2.30.

Our hosts unfortunately carried on from Thursday with a rapid run rate – a chance free 100 opening partnership left us again chasing the ball to all parts of the field. The Bats eventually declared after 38 overs on 230 for 7 – Dave taking 3 stumpings as our hosts looked for quick risky runs. Mahender took 3 wickets.

This left us needing an unlikely 370 in 62 overs at almost 6 an over – Graces have never scored anything close to this so did we have the application to bat for 62 overs for a draw? Mahender opened with guest Charlie and took us to 22 before the skipper was bowled for 17. Unfortunately after looking very capable Charlie had to retire in order to go to work! When Mendis was bowled we were wobbling at 57 for 2 (effectively 4 as we only had 10) Dave in at 3 was joined by guest Aussie Andrew at 5. The watching Graces then enjoyed watching these two make our hosts chase the ball as boundaries flowed. An unlikely victory seemed possible until Andrew was well caught on the long on boundary for a very uplifting 57. 148 for 4 after 23 overs

Jonners in at 6 then joined Dave. It’s not often Graces batsman are on a pair and Jonners (well aware of this unwanted statistic!) cautiously waited for a lose ball before hitting a boundary – relief! With the weight off his shoulders he then enjoyed supporting Dave , who continued with his great attacking shots from the first innings. The Bats then started to feel the heat as a wicket wasn’t forthcoming and a lot of chasing was necessary.

This partnership lasted for 19 (frustrating for our hosts) overs before Dave’s first error of the match left him caught behind for 48. 224 for 5 after 42 overs. Newton had arrived and joined Jonners with only 20 overs left to negotiate.

Jonners then supported once more while Newton enjoyed the flat track hitting anything lose to the boundary. Newton was caught for a fine 55 bringing in Manish in – he looked untroubled as ever. Jonner’s marathon stay eventually ended when he edged to the keeper for 17 – 252 for 7 after 54 overs.

So we had 8 overs to negotiate to force a draw – Sam batted well until he dragged a ball onto his stumps for 10 bringing last man Ronnie in. Ronnie had damaged his hand fielding and batted in some discomfort. His batting (and bowling) has really come on this season and stayed with Manish until getting bowled in the 59th over. After our stubborn batting performance our hosts were delighted with their win – we were so close to a draw!

So our first ever two day game turned out to be really close – The Bats were on top for most of the sessions and helped us out when we were short of 11. They are definitely one of our favourite teams with fab hospitality and a great attitude. A big thanks to all our guest players without which we couldn’t have played. Next time we should try for a Saturday / Sunday 2 day game to help with availability.



Venue ;

Roehampton Cricket Club
Telegraph Road
SW15 3TU

Away – Theydon Bois – won by 18 runs

Essex Scorcher on 22nd July

This Sunday was doubtful in the diary at one point after Winchmore Hill Ground became unavailable and briefly it seemed that Octopus would host at Ally Pally. Late in the day we got the opportunity to once again visit Theydon Bois and took it up as we had not been able to fix a date with them in early season.

The game started about 1:30 on a surprisingly good square given the continuing heatwave but all were wary and would consider helmets. Leo and Scott opened though in the event Scott faced first. Opening to a  Russ Maling Maiden was ominous but Leo first hit boundary on his third ball off Dave Shutler and both played attractive shots against a pair of bowlers who would only yield 2 wides in 13 overs. Scott had a lucky escape as a catch was dropped but it was when Leo got to actually face Russ that he was bowled in the 5th over.

Mahender came in next and you could see by his approach that he wanted another high score but Russ got his second Maiden (only ones of Bois) and kept our rate contained despite Scott having three boundaries before bowled in 10th by Dave, handing the baton to Mendis who soon powered 4 boundaries against new bowling from left spinner Hussein Spall. Some of these boundaries ended up in hedges and there was never much urgency to find but you could rely on whenever Stuart picked up his bat and said let’s go and help, the ball would be discovered. It was off Spall and after six boundaries including one that dropped inches short of the rope that Mahender was caught by the other current bowler Nasir at Fly Slip for a healthy 28 after the ball bounced unexpectedly as he prepared to strike.

It was good to have a scoring presence alongside most of the match which left enough time to also keep the electronic scoreboard up to date. However having multiple heads can lead to multiple interpretations and when players are filling in as Umpire, without the luxury of regular walkie talkie end of over clarification such as we had in Luso, the matchraces on and the finer points are not thoroughly debated until Stuart later brings in to question.

Here, a momentary confusion between byes reaching a boundary and a boundary when wide called meant that only 4 runs credited. (Twice in our batting) When question arises initially, the instant advice of Chairman is easily accepted and as the game is continuing, one convention is followed. Stuart was right though, but this scenario is not illustrated clearly in Tom Smith’s invaluable guide and it needs the precise wording of Law 22:6,7  (has been Law 25 before) to  be certain that a penalty of one run shall be awarded instantly on the call of Wide Ball……and shall be in addition to any other runs scored, any boundary allowance and any other runs awarded for penalties…… all runs resulting from a Wide shall be debated against the bowler. Easy after the event, till next time!

Gerry, their scorer in first half, their players mucking in during their innings, has a grandson, still only 15, playing and Dom Small was effective as wicketkeeper soon taking Stuart behind at the end of that same over off Spall. Later in the match he took a nasty impact on his instep but no one else appreciated his footballer reaction. Newton was now in and his relaxed style suggested a long innings but Small was there again to catch Mendis for 18 just as we approached drinks at 17 of 35 overs and 78/5 was not too inspiring.

On resumption we had a new partnership of Newton and Manish both all rounders and were right to have confidence as they called plays well to bump up the run rate. As they reached 49 together Newton was unusually LBW off Jack Ewing but his 25 has made a difference. Manish is now on 20. Jonners makes his way in and out soon after being bowled in a second spell from Dave. Manish meanwhile has upped to 37. Our number 9 goes in, Arshad, who only got to bowl one ball before the downpour at the Regents Park T20 and I had to put on whites and box in case required.

There was no urgency as Manish and Arshad bonded to lift the game to levels we have become accustomed with a splendid 70 partnership in which Arshad swiftly accumulated 37 while Manish reached 54. The ball was played everywhere and Manish had tallied his 50 in only 39 balls. If Arshad had not been bowled by Captain Tariq, his strike rate was superior. The game was far more comfortable now at 215/8 or was that really 217 as we discussed the finer points of boundary wides! There were 10 balls planned as Ronnie went in so I applied pads just in case but was pleased that Manish at 60 and Ronnie with 6, a 4 on first ball, closed our innings at 227 (229) in the 35 overs.

Tea is always a good spread here and I am told the mini eclairs were a delight. The weather did not seem as oppressive as forecast with high cloud but sunburn remained a risk. The bowling rate of Theydon was definitely unhurried and so it was after 5 before resumption.

Newton and Arshad opened bowling against McCausland and Clarke and Clarke was gone for 3 in the third off Newton who snaked into middle stump. Dom Small was even briefer getting two before his first decent strike went into the hard working hands of Stuart at Deep Backward Point in Arshad’s second over. An almost identical catch but with more movement to be in place saw off McCausland for 9 in the next over. Swiftly followed next over by Ewing being LBW according to Makin off Arshad without score. 20 for 4 in 6 was not the response they wanted.

Ahmed Tariq (Captain) had to force a change and started a statesman innings soon altering our prospects and although Faisal has been merely defending he suddenly upped a gear with consecutive fours and soon after the first six of the match over to Deep Cover, admittedly a shorter boundary. Manish put an end by bowling him at 22 but that partnership of 68 gave hope to Theydon and this was not diminished as Mo Tariq, brother of Ahmed came in and they both made a slick pair.

In fact after a while they became quite audacious going forward to balls from Mendis, Mahender and Manish and for a time the over by over comparison showed a prospect of tight finish. This partnership was ended by Stuart with another firm catch this time at Deep Square Leg off Mendis  and Ahmed went for 76. With eight overs remaining there was 77 required and you could sense their hope.

Spall tried to settle but in Ronnie’s second over was run out by Ronnie as he foolishly went for an extra run that was never there. Talking of run outs, there was an earlier direct hit from Mendis which if video reviewed might not have been as generous as the umpire to Ahmed, which in itself was atoning for another run out chance foiled by standing in front of and not behind the wicket when the ball was sent on. In the same over Ronnie also bowled and Mahender took a good catch at deep Midwicket to remove the thorn of Mo Tariq for 47.  Russ Makin and Narez played out the innings with gusto, Russ getting two swift boundaries and running a four as well and there was still some hope of getting 21 out of a last over, especially if no ball extras appeared. They didn’t and the final margin was 15 (17) runs in our favour.  A match that kept excitement through twists and turns and enjoyed by all. It was good to have Jeremy, Simon, Matthew, Mamun and Sam along for support.

Manish rightly got his first man of the match of this season for 60*, a wicket and the two Maidens of our innings, but knew he was pushed hard by Arshad, all rounder, Newton 25 and 3 wickets, and the reliable 3 catches of Stuart which sent the message that we were definitely playing to win.

Jugs were quaffed to finish and as Skipper pointed out we have had a marvellous June and July, not finished yet as there is the two day match at Roehampton this week then we host Southland at Winchmore Hill next Sunday.

Theydon Bois Cricket Club

Loughton Lane, Essex, CM16 7JY


Merton – away – won 104 runs

Address ;

The John Innes Recreation Ground

Cannon Hill Lane

Merton Park


SW20 9ES

Merton in the sunshine

Match report away to Merton 15th July 2018 – won by 104 runs


Another hot hot afternoon saw us return to Merton’s cute ground in south London. The World Cup final saw us start early to accommodate us watching the climax of the great tournament between innings.

Availability was an issue this week and further late drop outs left us with well short of numbers  Thankfully Merton are truly wondrous and helped us out with a fast bowler (South African Andrew) and sub fielders. By agreement we batted first in the baking sun (thanks again to our hosts) If we didn’t last for the full 35 overs Merton were prepared to allow some batsmen to have a second innings – how helpful is that?

Mahender and Scott opened for us with the skipper signalling his intent carrying on his aggression shown in last week’s match. A few balls to get the measure of the bone dry pitch and then some attacking shots. After 5 overs we were on 30. Merton , as ever a mix of youth and experience , opened with promising teenagers Sam Wyld (more of him later) and Romalo.

Mahender continued to punish anything wide and after 10 overs we had reached 57 for no loss. Scotty had played a patient supporting role understanding we were effectively 4 down from the start. The skipper now had the measure of Merton’s attack and continued to entertain the watching Graces with some hard hit drives and pulls all of which raced away on the lightning outfield (most of which was browny yellow)

The hundred came up in the 15th over with Mahender having reached his 50 off only 42 balls. Scotty had by now got his eye in hitting boundaries and despite the bowling being mixed up the 150 came up in the 20th over – Scott had reached his fifty too before falling LBW for 61 off 61 balls including hard hit 10 fours. We were now 156 for one off only 21 overs. We’ll have to check the records to see when this was last surpassed by our opening batsmen.

Stuart had a nice cameo for 7 , or was it 11! Before falling LBW. Dom in at 4 sportingly walked after edging to the keeper for 7. Our total was 212 for 3 off 28 overs and Merton must have thought they’d be able to put the brakes on. Newton had other ideas and hit a rapid fifty off only 23 balls! Merton’s heads never went down despite the onslaught on their bowling. Mahender brought up his second century of the season and showed no sign of tiredness as overs were despatched for over 10 runs. He ended up on 141 not out off only 91 deliveries. Our total was a formidable 293 for only 3 wickets – in the end Merton’s kind offer to allow batting again wasn’t needed.

Both teams sat down to enjoy a sumptuous tea and watch Croatia run out of luck against France. After the 3rd French goal Merton’s openers padded up and their innings was away. Skipper Neil faced Newton and our pacy guest Andrew. Our ace supporter , Anthony , kindly helped out fielding on the boundary and young Sam Wyld and another young Sam helped out as sub fielders.

Aggressive shots saw Meron reach 50 after 10 overs for the loss of Neil (a nice 31), bowled by Mahender. Jonners then caught a skier off Suggitt (the number 2) for 30 – Jonner’s first catch of the season! This second Mahender wicket soon became 3 when Mr Milton , in at 3 , was bowled.

This brought Sajid in at 4 – he quickly showed himself to be a stylish bat taking on our bowlers , putting away anything loose. Sam Egan at 5 provided able support and the 100 came up in the 22nd over. It was Graces’ turn to chase the ball across the bone dry outfield.

Mahender was able to use some more occasional bowlers out of necessity and our defendable  score , Dom given 6 overs went for a reasonable 46 and Jonners had 2 overs for 12- and in a memorable moment dropped an absolute sitter caught and bowled!

After 35 overs merton had reached 187 for 5 – although it was a win for us the game will be remembered for Merton’s skipper Neil proving to be unbelievably sporting and accommodating in coming to our aid in our hour of need – Sam Wyld fielded for 2 whole innings!

Both teams then retired to the clubhouse for some much needed drinks!

Unsurprisingly Mahender was our MOTM.

So our winning run continues helped by some responsible batting and good fielding. How long will the hot spell continue? Next week sees us return to leafy Theydon Bois.





T20 Regents Park v Clapham CC – abandoned rain

Summer in Regents Park T20 and the first rain ☔️ forever

Stuart led our team for a T20 tonight on pitch one against Clapham who asked us to bat first so Manish opened with Stuart. A bold start saw 10 off first over but Stuart was stumped in the 2nd. Newton in but little opportunity to face before Manish caught behind in 3rd and then Dom played on still in this over from Hasan. This brought in Tauseef who played at Sheen recently who steadied and I wrongly forecast a long partnership as Curtis bowled Newton for 12 just as he was opening up. Scott was caught way back in gully and we were struggling at 43/5 in 6th. Sam steadied and gave Tauseef plenty of strike before getting himself run out in 10th but the score had climbed with extras (wides NB are 2) to 68. Arshad was caught off Burgess swiftly so it was now up to Jonners who hit a fabulous 6. Burgess induced Tauseef to be caught mid wicket but he did have 19. Mamun was in full rearguard flow with a majestic 4 to start and was caught in gully off Jamieson leaving the score at 97 before the 15th. Could Jonners and Matthew take it over 100? No. Matthew was caught behind second ball and Jonners marooned on 8.

As play restarted the clouds were looking heavy and light rain fell so I was glad of Khin holding brolly over scorebook, Simon retreating to cover. Newton and Manish restricted the openers of Robbins 18 and Taylor 2 before as Arshad delivered his first dot ball the deluge happened and we all retreated for cover. All too soon it was apparent that this was more than a passing shower and we had to abandon without facing the further challenge of finding 7 bowlers (max 3 overs) and preserving our status So no formal result but a taster for our 40 over Match later in season if we cannot make another T20 and they may be at Barnes anyway in August Bank Holiday T20 Tournament.

Still an enjoyable foray in the Park, near the Zoo and a reminder for me how much I have missed seeing our team during my recent travels and commitments. They will face Merton early on Sunday with an opportunity to socialise watching France v Croatia

Piccadilly Pitchers – away – won



An important shortcut! When you leave the station entrance there’s a footpath on the left leading to Askew Road – the ground entrance is just along. The pitch is located in the north west corner next to the modern pavilion.

The Pitchers have a fab ground!




Chaldon CC – away – won by 74 runs

Address; Six Brothers Field    Hilltop Lane    Chaldon   Surrey    CR3 5BG

Match report courtesy of Colin;

High Score but not High Temperature

A somewhat cloudier outlook today for the visit to Chaldon which is nestled deep in Surrey countryside but on a hill top near the junction of A23 and M25. This visit is an outcome to the Sky Sports Publicity we received last year.

As I arrived late to the match due to an appointment and the logistics of getting  here with a long wait to secure a taxi from nearby Merstham, I thought there was a conjunction of names. Our Bowler Mamun shares his name with a fielder and was name of my driver too.  It turns out however that Chaldon had players arriving very late and so both Sam and Mamun assisted in field initially, as we will see.

There may be supplemented information about the early batting but by the time I focused Leo(3) and Newton(7) were 33 runs into a partnership. Mahender had opened again and scored six boundaries in his 27 (maybe 31 when I do checking) before he was caught by Sam??  and Scott made all his 16 from boundaries, being caught by successful bowler Giles Owen off the opening bowling of 15 year old Brennan whose mother Jayne was a great pleasant conversationalist as Anthony knows. Innings were very short for Mendis, Stuart and Dominic with a catch recorded as Mamun!! for Mendis, Dominic bowled and Stuart LBW.

I then noticed there was quite a pitch on the square so later there was less chasing of twos and reliance on singles.  Although there were a couple of places where the outfield slowed, a forceful shot downhill would often make a boundary and the need to search amongst the deep rye grass or in dense boundary hedging leading to balls delayed in seeking or being substituted.

The area near the pavilion looked sheltered but seemed to induce a chill wind that towards the end of the Match was drizzle laden and quite chilling as the cloud cover thickened. The field is also known as Six Brothers Field and the area is close to the North Downs National Trail.

Leo and Newton meanwhile were playing in great conjunction and although offering some catch opportunities (their Captain rued 8 lost chances in his reckoning) were very much in tune with each other. As well as 23 fours between them there were also a six seemingly over the sight screen from Leo and two sixes from Newton to Long On or Cow Corner. Leo eventually succumbed to bowler 6, young Nathan, at 89 and Newton remained not out on 69 at the 35 overs innings close. Manish was a brief partner for the last overs, 10 not out with one boundary but was almost a Golden Duck as he sent the ball high into cover only to see the catch fumbled. Their partnership was a stunning 133 that gave us a wonderful score of 254, the highest score in regular season for a long while.

Tea was tasty with bananas and succulent strawberries and well filled sandwiches and some super sliced cakes.  In some ways it was a shame that the chill weather and perhaps some half hoping to see the late World Cup match meant that the interval was not longer so that we could interact more but players were glad to receive Rainbow Laces offered at the end.  We had few injuries this week but both their Phil and our Ronnie were glad of a box when balls hit the body. Brennan already has a strained shoulder and he fell awkwardly but not seriously when trying to field a ball on way to boundary.

Mamun and Manish opened our bowling against Giles Owen (4 wickets) and Kyon Vyas, one of the younger players, but although tight did not penetrate their defences. Bowling then moved onto Ronnie and Sam, these only ceded one extra between them, a first ball no ball. In Sam’s first over Ronnie handled the catch at deep cover well even if was less happy about later chances and Giles was gone for 31. There was a trademark Stuart catch at Long On to deprive Andy Axelsen off Ronnie for only 10. Shaz Shoukat had only yielded 19 in his 7 overs bowling but his stay was brief as Scott seized a stumping opportunity to send him away for 4 in Sam’s watch. Kyon, Nathan and Sam Owen were very solid young players and each made a reasonable tally.

As Sam and Ronnie completed five overs apiece, their Captain commented we had no fast bowlers, oh yeah? Wait and See we have plenty of reserve. In comes Mendis with uncharacteristic wide, then his next ball uphill was not wide but led to bye. He looked uncomfortable but only conceded two off the bat. The next change was Newton and he bowled Kyon with his first ball in style sending him away for 28. Mahender then took a spell in his usual quickfire manner.  Sam Owen settled alongside Nathan for a partnership of 47 before Nathan was cleanly caught behind after movement from Scott for 29 off Mahender. Newton followed up with another clean bowl to remove Sam for 31.  This led to a new partnership of Vyas senior – Anip and bowler Viral. Our Openers returned for a final spell and Mamun finished on 35 from his 6 overs and Manish on 21 from his. Sam on 36-2 and Ronnie was in place for the final over, the batsmen expecting just to keep knocking quick singles but Ronnie bowled Vyas for 17 bringing in Fraser Owen for the last ball and his Golden Duck as he was bowled setting up Ronnie for a technical hat trick next ball he bowls in match.

A spirited counter from Chaldon had raised 191/8 without rolling over but with Leo once again solid earning Man of the Match and Newton at his shoulder contributing too and lots of other teamwork, this was a clear victory by 63 runs.

Ronnie finished on 29/3 and Newton on 29/2 and Mahender 27/1.  In the less than best conditions with quite a lot of moisture in the breeze, both sides would want to have caught more cleanly or stopped more balls heading for boundary but this was still a good afternoon of Cricket and I feel we would be welcomed back another season if available. Thanks to Robert, also in shorts directly after Tennis, Anthony and Matthew for coming along in support, despite the distance, it all builds the atmosphere at our games.

Manish will Captain next week when the venue is Sheen Park, most likely some skilful energetic youngsters once again in that opposition. I will wish the team well from Slovenia, Germany and Belgium from coming weeks so hope to hear fulsome reports of enjoyable afternoons and no howlers like appreciating Nathan taking wicket despite the fact it removed this week’s star or aiming to throw a replacement ball onto pitch and only just avoiding more grubbing in the rough as the flight path was embarrassing twice. Supporters will no doubt build our presence as ever as our players keep making this a strong season. Onward, upward and balls ready for action, handled and beaten for great results.

Home – Greenford v Roehampton Bats – won by 47 runs

Ground details

Unfortunately Winchmore Hill messed up our booking so we are returning to Greenford;

Birkbeck Avenue

Match report – thanks to Colin once more





South Loughton away – won by 1 run

South Loughton’s main man!

Venue; The Cricket Pavilion, Roding Rd, Loughton IG10 3BS


Match Report

Essex expects a great contest and was not disappointed

Today under the first captaincy of Manish, a regular VP, we made another trip out to Loughton but this time it was a clear bright day as often we have been over there at season ends.  A junior match was just finishing and Manish took the toss with Ahmed, won and elected to bat first.

The match ball for today’s match was kindly sponsored by Pat Sopp, a long time supporter of the club

Dom and Scott opened against the bowling of regular captain David Smith and Lloyd Mann. To start the wicketkeeper was Mustafa Zaheed. This however changed to Sam Hill who got a nasty knock to his ankle and finished with Aleef Hossain. This was tough going and it took five Maidens and the 10th over before Dom got a first test of the boundary and we were at 20 after 11 overs. The bowling changed to Murali and Aleef. Aleef bats for one of the Saturday team but is not said to be a regular bowler but he bowled Scott second ball who had reached 11 at a faster strike rate. His balls could move and carry leading to a boundary bye and in his third over he induced Niroshan to an edge which Sam Hill in slip did well to retain with outstretched arm.

Neil followed and was gone second ball, which brought in Newton. That ball swung in with such force it damaged the upper stump. Hossain struck again in his 4th taking Dom’s wicket but had acquired 14 with another boundary on a no ball from Murali. Time now for Paul, a Stonewall Football contact to step up, looking forward to his game but little recent experience and he did score a couple but by his sixth ball, it was once again Hossain capturing the wicket. Leo came in and reprised Neil so at drinks we were 39 for 6. Manish told everyone to keep up their spirits and we set out to try and recover some prestige. Murali gave way to Arun Farthing and he was soon joined by the inimitable Andy Battle so there was some chance to score runs and accept extras.

Newton and Manish faced this with gusto, both knowing when to push for the quick runs and punish fielding errors. Not to say eagerness on more than one occasion did not create run out opportunities causing Manish to almost fly back to the wicket in the 30th over but they did not have the direct hits and gathers to catch the pair out. At this point Sam left the field for a few minutes and ice pack so Neil subbed as fielder preventing more boundaries. The aerial style from Andy is designed to get a ball sent high for a catch but Newton took three sixes and more from him, two them being consecutive Cow Corner drives and the other marginally missed a supporter near the pavilion who was watching her phone and oblivious to the efforts of waiting batsmen trying to deflect the flying ball.

It was now Andy’s last over, no. 36, when his ploy worked and David Smith was in plum position at deep Square Leg to capture Newton for an amazing 64 and a partnership of 128. All the milestones were reached in consecutive balls in the 34th, 100 partnership, Newton 50 and score 150. Jonners came to try and see the innings out, now facing the return of opening bowlers. Canny shots got through the tight cordon and it was last over before Mann had Manish, probably not aware he was on 48 and us all willing Jonners to pass the strike before the innings concluded, hooked one over to Square Leg and David Smith was in closer and took it comfortably. Yousuf came in but Jonners has crossed and took the final ball for a single to make 6 and incredibly the score had soared to 183 for 8.

Tea is always a pleasant affair here and very much enjoyed and all were able to catch up with the early Test result  as well as check on Counties.

Newton and Neil were our opening bowlers against Billy Soomro and Mustafa Zaheed and with few boundaries the first 8 over spell was contained at 29. Manish and Yousuf were the next pair, Yousuf first outing this season and recovered from injury that plagued last year. Billy swiped at his second over and Manish moved across well to catch at Mid Off, one gone with 12 but replaced with Ahmed Chughtai who is a regular slogger. Yousuf in his 4th induced Zaheed and it was Neil at Mid On who made sure that catch was secured and so he was gone for 35,  64-2. Neil now had another spell including a much prized maiden and it was time to give Paul an opportunity. As with many, he struggled for early consistency and was slaughtered in his two overs but for all the delight of the batsmen, he was getting some on a good line and his last ball accounted for the wicket of Liam Hill who had rapidly amassed 21. This meant we were a lot more content to go to drinks at 102.

As Neil completed his spell for 28, Ronnie came in for a full spell and continued the progress seen over this season to end on 24-2 but that is jumping way ahead.  In his first over he bowled Sam Hill for 1, Sam had replaced his brother Liam and so Arun Farthing  was next up. Newton returned for a final spell and soon had Arun LBW for 6 but Ahmed was still steadily accumulating with Murali just passing on the strike. Newton was complete and Manish was next to head to completion and in his second of the spell tidied up Murali with a well held caught and bowled. With 5 overs remaining the match was finely balanced with Loughton requiring 26 to win and four wickets remaining. Ronnie improved this balance in his final over as Manish made a fine catch at Mid Off again to remove Ahmed for 43.

Mann and Hossain parried but Manish bowled Mann for 8. 13 required in the last two overs and now David Smith was in and going for every opportunity. It was a real head to head against Manish with every run scored off the last over of Yousuf making it more and more tense and their team now updating the big clunky rotary board on every run.

Manish would not give up and on the penultimate ball of the match he bowled Smith and the score was 182.  All rested on Andy Battle and bowler Manish. Any extra would tie or lose the match. If the ball was hit would it be enough to tie or win the match. Surely Andy would not relish running two under pressure unless he could make a boundary. Manish bowled, a dot ball just parried and victory was ours. At almost 8pm, this match that started with such a low score turned around by Manish and Newton with team back up holding back South Loughton in their innings was complete and for the second week running the result was all on the last ball, but in our favour.

The result shows we have depth in our players even if it was a struggle to know there would be a full team before Sunday. Manish did a fine job stepping up. He also graciously acknowledged advice from fellow team players and kept spirits up when they could easily droop. We had chance to welcome and develop players against a familiar but worthy opposition.

There was one poignant touch to the day, many players and others sported a black armband as respect for the recent death of Newton’s father. The team acknowledged him before the game and gave Newton backing and he shone through in style with his bowling, his fielding and a great score when needed so despite the attributes of Manish evident, all were pleased to see Newton Man of the Match.

Next week, we revisit Greenford and host Roehampton Bats in  a full 40 over match. They may be on high after game T20 win but in friendly engagement we look to continue our achievements.  One for the supporters indeed and thanks to those who made the visit East this week that included Augusto, Jeremy, Matthew and Simon.