Octopus – Won by 79 runs

Back to winning ways

On a better day that the previous Sunday, Graces welcomed Octopus to their Greenford ground and although the sun put in the occasional appearance, again the wicket was damp and the ball liable to keep low and the outfield damp and lush.
Batting first Graces’ openers made slow progress, even the normally ebullient Shorrocks scoring just one from his first eighteen balls (some sort of record there) but by now he had his eye in and with a vicious assault on the opposition bowling raced to fifty-three including three sixes and six fours, before holing out.In the mean time his opening partner Scott went for twelve. Mendis and
Hardisty departed cheaply and Modi controversially caught behind for nought. Shofiq was now batting well and joined by Patel, who struck the ball well from the start, the two added seventy- six in an unbroken sixth wicket stand, with fifty-five coming from the last five overs, with Shofiq belying his newly acquired quadragenarian status, Graces finishing on 189 for 5.
Octopus began their innings slowly and never caught up with the clock, although opener Smith batted well for his thirty-seven. Hemang and Manish opened the bowling with a tight accurate spell but no luck and it was Nihar who made the break through, bowling Hayward for ten. After that wickets fell regularly due mainly to a fine spell by Mendis taking 5 for 16 in eight overs. Despite trying nine bowlers Graces were unable to take the final wicket and Octopus finished on 110 for nine. Graces winning by seventy-nine runs.

Black Rose – Lost by 18 runs

Noddy left stranded!

Thanks to Pat for the match report
On another typical June afternoon, with the wind howling rain in the air and temperatures just above zero, Graces took the field against new opposition in Black Rose. With a damp pitch and a lush outfield, a high scoring game was not on the cards and so it proved. Sherwood and Bielby took the new ball and with miserly accuracy managed four maidens in their first six overs but it took the introduction of Anosh to break the partnership, having Kabir lbw for ten.
Ali joined by Ramu moved the score along despite the efforts of Modi who was weaving his his spell bowling four maidens in his first five overs but it took a double bowling change to bring about a break through, first Ramu was run out then Mendis took the first of his three wickets. With Modi returning to complete his ten overs he finally dismissed Ali the obdurate opener for a hard worked sixty-four with Black Rose finishing on 148 for 7 wickets. Mendis taking 3 for 29 Modi 2 for 19 and Anosh 1 for 43.
In their turn, Graces found conditions just as difficult and by the ninth over they had lost both openers with just seventeen runs on the board. Even the normally fluent Mendis in a stay of 45 minutes managed just one four in his twenty-three and with Kalyan going for ten and Tolley for nought Graces found themselves forty-four for  five in the eighteenth over.
Then Modi and Shofiq set about rescuing the situation and with the hundred coming up in the twenty-ninth over and victory a possibility, disaster struck with Modi being run out for twenty-two. Sherwood and Bielby failed to bother the scorer and with Shofiq trying to farm the bowling Anosh became the second run out victim. When Manish was bowled in the last over Graces were eighteen runs short of their target leaving Shofiq undefeated on sixty-two.

Old Haberdashers – Won by 78 runs

Grace's make it three wins out of three

Grace’s won the toss and chose to bat on a hot sunny afternoon. Rayan scored a quick 33 including some powerful hitting. But wickets fell and when Manish joined Leo at the crease the score was 73-5 and the innings was in the balance. However, Leo demonstrated excellent timing to score a valuable 24. Manish once again delivered an assured innings, showing great judgement and placement, and fortunately managed to avoid running anyone out. Grace’s batting stretched all the way down to No.11 and with support from Bielby and Hemang, Manish took his score to 51 not out off 50 balls and ensured Grace’s posted a competitive total of 195 all out off 39.3 overs.

Tea, which was taken in the newly refurbished pavilion, was less eccentric than previous occasions.

Old Haberdashers found the chase too daunting on a sluggish pitch with occasional low bounce. Wickets fell regularly with new opening bowler Anosh, Hemang, Nihara and Bielby taking two each. The only real threat seemed to come from the fifth wicket partnership of Maan and Uzair, who looked as though they might put Grace’s under some pressure. But Maan fell to an excellent catch at extra cover by Manish off Nihara’s bowling. Eventually, Old Haberdashers were all out 78 runs short of the target and we were all able to adjourn to the bar for an early J2O.

Man of the match, MVP, call it what you like, it was Manish for another superb display of batting and a very important catch.

Old Elizabethans – Won by 2 wickets

Thriller in the chiller

Thriller in the chiller

On cold windswept afternoon more suited to winter sports, Graces faced new opponents in Old Elizabethans at their home ground in a very rural setting a short distance from Barnet and having won the toss, invited the home side to bat.

Nadeem, opening the bowling and suffering from a pulled hamstring was only able to manage a very gentle medium pace, with Hemang sharing the new ball. With neither bowler obtaining much assistance from the slow wicket, the skipper soon turned to spin. First with Manish, who in his second over had Heavey caught by Jonathan for 13. Joined by Anosh, the two put a stranglehold on the batsmen, with the Modi-Hardisty combination accounting for the second wicket.
Bowling their full allocation of overs without a break, Manish finished with figures of and Anosh The Elizabethans were unlucky to lose Vernon who had played well for 34 before retiring hurt. The advent of Dunn soon increased the scoring rate until the return of Hemang broke a partnership of 68 with Jonathan taking his third catch, this time from behind the stumps and finaly getting the dangerous Dunn well caught in the deep by Manish with the Elizabethans finishing on 143 for 5 from their 40 overs.

After mugs of hot tea and huddling under blankets! Graces openers, Jonathan and Abi soon found scoring equally difficult. The combination of the slow wicket and lush outfield defeating their scoring attempts before Abi was out in the sixth over with the score on 8. Kaylyan fared little better before falling lbw in the fourteenth over with the score on 27.
Nadeem tried to lift the scoring rate before the dismissal of Jonathan for 21 precipitated a collapse and the loss of four wickets for fifteen runs. When Gordon was out and the score on 89 for 7 and due to a miss-understanding only having ten players, things looked bleak. But, commeth the hour commeth the men, Manish and Anosh pushed the score to 112 before Anosh was bowled for 11 Enter last man Hemang with 32 still required. One almost forgot the bitter cold as with intelligent running and some good strokes the last pair saw Graces home with it must be said, some apparent ease.

The club are grateful to Gordon for donating the match ball and hope many other players will feel similarly inclined.

Pacific – Won by 1 wicket

Gordie brings us home!

A typical April afternoon (cold with rain!) saw Grace’s start the 2012 season – at least 2 jumpers were necessary. Dom lost the toss (first time for a long time) and Pacific opted to bat first on an artificial strip. The start was delayed due to the footballers being very reluctant to leave the outfield so it became a 35 over match. Jonathan switched sides as we had 12 and Pacific only 10. A newly fit Noddy (welcome back!) opened the attack with Hemang and immediately they produced controlled bowling that was difficult to get away restricting Pacific to 30 for 1 off the first 10 overs. Manish and Anosh were first change and maintained the line – after 20 overs the score had progressed to 77 for 1.

The last 15 overs however saw the Pacific number 2 , Thornton , start to push things along with some fine driving and cutting. He was set to post a good total until Abhi held on to a sharp caught and bowled chance. The final total off 35 overs was 168 for 6. After a relaxing tea break Dom and Abhi started the chase , Dom was bowled playing over a straight ball and when Noddy departed shortly after hitting a long hop to backward sure leg who took a great one handed catch , it was not the best start. Mendes joined Abhi and the score advanced to 43 before Abhi provided Jonners with a second catching opportunity which he held (unlike the first!) for a good looking 25. When Mendes misjudged one and was caught and bowled we were in trouble at 45 for 4. This became 63 – 6 with debutants Tom contributing an encouraging 10 and Mittel running himself out attempting a suicidal 2nd run. Leo steadied the ship with Gordie to take us to 113 before edging to the keeper to become Ahmed’s third victim.

When Manish and Anosh holed out the game looked over at 124 – 9. However Gordie , supported by a very responsible Hemang , had other ideas. Good deliveries were patiently blocked with Gordie dispatching anything loose. When he took 16 off 3 deliveries Pacific heads dropped with their skipper rotating the bowling to try to break the last wicket partnership. A sharp catch was dropped at point but that was the only chance. Gordie made the most of this and finally hit a 4 to win the game and also to reach a well deserved 50. So a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat thanks to Gordie showing great concentration and application – a lesson that our batting will need to take on board for the rest of the season.