North Harrow – Won by 10 runs

Grace's prevail in tense finish

Graces won the toss and elected to bat on a bright and breezy afternoon but Deepu and             acting skipper Hardisty found it slow going against the accurate Raghu and Kumar before Hardisty was caught at the wicket for 3 with the score on 22. The arrival of Patel signalled an improvement in the scoring rate and with Deepu now getting into his stride.  The pair added 49 before Patel miss-timed one and was caught and bowled, Deepu followed soon after for a well struck 33.   Shofiq was now batting well but lacked support as wickets continued to fall at the other end. Kalyan, Tolley and Modi all came and went in quick succession and when Shofiq was surprisingly bowled by Harry for another aggressive knock of 40 followed quickly by Newton-Sawyer for 2, Graces  were in some trouble at    137 for 8 but Bielby following on from his great innings of the previous week helped  by a breezy knock from Mamoon Saw Graces to a respectable 165 for 9.
In their reply North Harrow got off to a poor start losing Robin bowled Bielby in his second over for  4 and likewise Matt was caught by Patel off  Modi’s second over for a similar score but then came stands of 45 for both the third and fourth wickets and with the score at 98 for 3 skipper Hardisty turned to Shofiq who until this time had been keeping wicket. With his fourth ball he bowled Raghu for a steady 28 and in his third over had the very dangerous Bryce brilliantly caught by Tolley for 44 from just 31 balls including one six and eight fours.  In his next over he bowled Harry for a duck and with figures at this point of 3 for 5 in four overs had turned the game with a supererogatory performance but it was left to Bielby to complete the victory taking the final wicket and finishing with 2 for 8 in his 6.1 overs with Graces winning by 9 runs.   

Octopus – Won by 61 runs

Veterans roll back the years

Old opponents but a new venue, a flat wicket and a fast outfield and on a glorious summer weekend the start was delayed by rain. With covers for the wicket the delay was brief and with Hardisty deputising for the injured skipper Scott winning the toss, Graces innings got underway with new boy Deepu opening with Shofiq showing aggressive intent from the start before being bowled for 11. Meanwhile Shofiq survived a miscued skier while Mendis came and went for 7. A stand of 56 between another debutant Anish and Shofiq steadied the ship before Anish was caught, then with the score on 118 Shofiq was bowled for 54 when looking set for a really big score. Patel scored breezy 25 while skipper Hardisty failed to trouble the scorer and with the score on 138 for 6 Graces were wobbling. Then came the best batting display of the match between Modi and Bielby who added 99 for the seventh wicket before Modi ran himself out for 46 going for an impossible run. Bielby now in imperious form went on to make 76 not out from 45 balls including 12 fours, the highest individual score for the season, with Graces finishing their 40 overs on 274 for 8.
 
Octopus got off to a bad start losing opener Reid for a duck bowled by Nihara and soon after Lamplaugh run out to a brilliant piece of fielding by Modi. Opener Smith was bowled by Tarun and Octopus were 40 for 3. Then came a stand of 45 between Murthy who made 26 and Hodge who went on to make 55. Useful contributions came from Gott 31 and Ogilvy 23 and although all the bowlers contributed well it was Mendis with 4 for 37 from his 8 overs that really put the game beyond Octopus, who were all out for 213.

Roehampton Bats – Won by 6 runs

Grace's return to winning ways

Welcoming new opposition Roehampton Bats to Greenford, Graces won the toss and elected to bat. Scott and Shofiq got the side off to a steady start before Scott was caught and bowled for 11 with the score on 25.  The partnership between Shofiq and Mendis was looking promising until the latter mistimed a pull off Evans and was caught. The bowler had two wickets in two balls when Roop was adjudged lbw first ball.   Shofiq and Modi then added 51 for the fourth wicket before Shofiq was LBW for a steady 42.  Modi and Patel then took the score onto 163 before Modi was balled for an innovative 29.  Patel went on to make an entertaining 37 as wickets tumbled at the other end in the chase for runs.  Graces finishing their 40 overs on 182 for the loss of 8 wickets.

In reply, the bats were never up with the required scoring rate and at 42 for 5 seemed out of the game due an incredible spell of bowling from Modi who finished with figures 8-6-7-2.   The Introduction of Evans provided the impetus required, scoring 75 runs and taking the score to 169 before the re-introduction of Tarun to the attack saw him caught behind.  Nair who had batted patiently until this point , tried to hurry the score along and graces total looked vulnerable until he was bowled by Shofiq with little more to offer Roehampton Bats narrowly failed to reach their target, with Graces winning by 6 runs.

Man of the match for graces was Modi with 29 runs and  2 wickets for 7 in 8 overs and Man of the Match for the bats was Evans for his 75 runs and 4 wickets for 26.

Washington – Lost by 24 runs

Patel carries his bat as Grace's come close

A superb maiden half century from opener Patel was not enough to see Grace’s home against Washington at Greenford.

Stand-in skipper Hardisty won the toss and elected to bowl on a flat track.  Washington reached three figures for the loss of only one wicket, and with little movement for the bowlers and a short boundary at one end, the visitors looked likely to post a high score. But the dismissal of Turner (42) and Smith (41), the latter to an extraordinary stumping by Hardisty, prompted a collapse. Bielby returned best ever figures of 5-32, but also conceded several sixes over the short straight boundary, as Washington chanced their arm towards the end of the innings.

In reply, Grace’s were unable to offer support to Patel who carried his bat for an unbeaten 65 including 7 fours and 2 sixes. A nagging seam attack and tenacious fielding made life difficult and wickets fell at regular intervals. As the innings went on, Washington’s fielders gradually retreated to the boundary until eventually the entire team (minus bowler and wicket-keeper) were on the rope.

Overall, a decent effort by Grace’s given the strength of the opposition. And many congratulations to Abhi for a great knock!

Hobgoblin Nomads – Won by 109 runs

Mamun gets 5 on debut!

 

With an early start scheduled for 12.30 in order that players could watch the England game, only five members of Graces team had managed to find the ground by the start time. Having won the toss they bravely decided to bat first in the hope that reinforcements would arrive in time. On arrival the reinforcements were met by the players scampering from the field to escape the first of many heavy showers. Because of the state of the ground the match took place on an artificial pitch, offering little help to the bowlers. Graces’ openers, Shorrocks and Mendis produced the best opening stand of the season putting on 91 before Mendis was bowled for28 in the 14th over, soon to be followed by Shorrocks for 53 including four sixes and three fours, all despite pulling a calf muscle and restricting his ability to run. Modi and Patel continued the run fest with a stand of 71 in nine overs helping Graces to reach the formidable total of 205 for 5 in what had become a 30 over game.
The Hobgoblin batsmen were never able to match the required scoring rate and only opener Blonde had any success against Graces’ attack of Bielby and Nihar, each taking a wicket apiece. It was the introduction of debutant Mamoun that brought about Hobgoblin’s final demise taking 5 for 16 in his six overs with the opposition finally being all out for 96 in the 26th over but contributing to their demise with 4 suicidal run outs.  Graces winning margin of 109 runs.