Washington – Won by 23 runs

Morale boosting win!

On a balmy summer afternoon, under a cloudless sky and with Gordon winning the 
toss, the spectators (both of us) looked forward to a run-fest. Washington it 
seemed had other ideas and with the wicket in a particularly capricious mood, 
allowing little and on occasion, almost no bounce at all, so it was that after 5 
overs, Graces openers Gordon and Dominic were both back in the pavilion with 
just 3 runs on the board. Stalwarts Shofiq and Mendis set about redeeming the 
situation with some responsible batting. With the score on 43 however, Shofiq
played an in-judicious shot and was caught at deep mid-off for 24. Joined by 
Niroshan, Mendis went on to play his best knock of the season. The pair added 67 
for the fourth wicket before another fine catch ended the innings of Mendis for 
56. This brought Manish to the crease, who immediately set off for a run that 
wasn't there, leaving Niroshan with no where to go but the pavilion for a well 
struck 21. Wickets continued to fall at a steady rate, with Manish making 13 and 
Anosh 16 before the innings closed in the thirty eighth over for a competitive 
Because of   the state of the wicket Gordon decided to open the bowling with a combination of 
seam and spin. Anosh's first spell of 3 overs went for 17 to be replaced by 
Nihara who's 2 overs went for 18. At the other end Shofiq's  first 5 overs went 
for 1 run, that a miss field and 3 wickets including the dangerous Hill, 
finishing his 8 overs with figures of 3 for 9. Manish and Mendis carried on the 
good work with tight spells of 2 for 28 and 1 for 15 respectively from their 8 
overs. It was left to skipper Gorden and Anosh  to claim 3 of the last 4 wickets 
to fall, before a further crazy run out brought proceedings to an end with the 
visitors 23 runs short of their target.

Belmont & Edgware – Lost by 23 runs

Batting lets us down again

Another Sunday.  Another day of mixed weather and another defeat for Graces.
Gordon lost the toss and elected to field in the rain! Dark clouds moved slowly during Belmonts innings and there were several heavy drizzles too.  The One O’clock start on a June Sunday caught a couple of players by surprise who joined the others in the field as the openers dug in to build a solid partnership and take advantage of a shorter boundary.  Hemang and Abhi opened the bowling for Graces without success but kept the score down.  With showers forecast for the afternoon, Gordon turned to spin and this immediately brought about a change of luck as both Anosh and Mamoon picked up 2 wickets apiece during their spell.  Whilst the fielding was an improvement from previous weeks, Graces yet again fumbled 4 catches during Belmont’s innings.   Although Shofiq and Mendis both bowled tight spells to minimise the damage, Belmont and Edgeware completed their 35 overs innings for a total of 135 for 7 losing wickets at crucial points. 
Graces in reply got off to a good start with new opening partnership of Anthony and Meadowcroft putting on 37 runs under blue skies and sunshine! However the change in the weather didn’t bring about a change of fortune for Graces who were continuously pegged back in their pursuit of victory by excellent spells from Mr Kaplan and young Greg Mayer each picking up 3 wickets.  A mixture of rash shot selection,  superb catching and fielding by the visitors resulted in another defeat for Graces.

Strange event of the day: We lost the match ball after it was hit for a 6 into the long grass/nettles on the boundary.  Three bats and at least 9 set of legs were used to trample the vegetation to seek out the ball. But we all failed.  

Old Elizabethans – Lost by 110 runs

Grace's lost to Old Elizabethans by 110 runs

Batting last seems to be the norm now as another toss was lost and Old Elizabethans CC opted to bat on an overcast and cool afternoon. A dream start saw one opener caught behind  for a duck. However the number 2 then dug in and after some consolidation took the attack to the bowlers with some well timed shots. A great throw from Newton saw the number 3 run out going for a second run to break this partnership. This brought in the stocky number 4 who lacked elegance but had a good eye. Their partnership looked like it was going to take the game away from us but some good fielding and some tight bowling had wickets tumbling at the end to keep the score down to what seemed a reasonable total of 186.

After a filling tea Grace’s took the field with Dom opening with newbie Simon. This was a new strip and it showed with the low bounce from the first innings continuing into ours. However the wheels came off our innings as a series of injudicious shots and poor judgement saw wickets clattering. We have certainly faced trickier bowling this season but with a highest partnership of 22 we were never going to get close to the total set.  
In previous games we have relied on at least one good partnership to see us close to the target or at least respectability but no one was able to hang around for too long. All we can do is put this batting performance behind us and think about the next fixture!   

Merton – Lost by 71 runs

Yet another run chase!

The sunniest Sunday of the year so far saw Grace’s take the field against Merton CC at Greenford. Gordie lost the toss and we were invited to field – we have now chased in all the games so far!

Newton and Hemang opened the bowling , after an edge through slip to get of the mark the Merton opener Ahmed then proceeded to play his shots aggressively with the opposition skipper giving support. The first wicket didn’t fall until the 20th over with Newton taking a nice catch to dismiss the skipper. After a cautious start the Merton number 3 also started to play shots and with the opener accelerated the run rate to reach 143 in the 30th over until De Silva took a good catch to see him back to the pavilion for 87. This was the first of 2 good catches for him in the game.
Taking over from Ahmed the number 3 kept putting away anything lose over the fast outfield – Grace’s fielded well with Mamun getting a good run out. Their final score was 207 for 6.
Of some concern was the usually true wicket had displayed some variable bounce – some moisture must still have been present.
After the usual filling tea Gordie and Dom started the reply – Gordie was timing it well for 25 until mistiming a shot resulting in a catch to the keeper. The score was 44 so it was an encouraging start. Mendes came in at number 3 and Dom was soon run out attempting a 2nd run. After Mendes was bowled ,a solid partnership was needed to steady the ship. However Jonners and Abhi departed in quick succession leaving us in trouble at 70 for 5.
Anosh and Richard put together 30 before they were both out bowled – Richard by one that kept low. 
This brought Newton and De Silva together for the most entertaining partnership (52) of the day for Grace’s. De Silva proved his ability with the bat with some well timed drives for a not out 26. This restored our pride – the run rate proved too much and Merton bowled well to bowl us out for 156.
So Merton gained revenge for their home defeat 2 weeks previously – some positives to take from the game – a much improved fielding performance and some depth in our batting. 
Bizarre event of the day – the appearance of a large worm on a length!
Will we ever bat first this season!  

Grace's lost to Judd St Tigers by 13 runs

Grace's lost to Judd St Tigers by 13 runs

The Sunday of the bank holiday saw us travel to Winchmore Hill for our traditionally close game against Judd Street Tigers. A wet Saturday resulted in a very green strip with a beautifully manicured outfield. Having lost the toss we were invited to bat with Dom and Leo seeing off some straight bowling from the Judd Street attack. In the 8th over Dom was caught and bowled (was it a bump ball!) with the total at 8. This brought in our secret weapon Regan who had previously blasted opponents attacks to all corners. However he was soon bowled edging onto his stumps for 1 walking back to the stunned Grace’s players who had been awaiting fireworks!  Mahender came in to join Leo – the bowling was changed with Judd St’s veteran spinner , Bignall , coming on. He produced very looping deliveries that were missed at your peril as we were about to discover –  Mahender soon succumbed to temptation playing a big airy drive and was bowled for 2.

     Leo had played very patiently and was growing in confidence with some sweetly hit fours – however he mistimed a defensive stroke which resulted in a simple catch back to Mr Bignall. Stuart entered the fray and was respectful of the bowling putting anything lose away – sadly a lofted drive into the outfield put the ball down a fielder’s throat for a tidy 14 – Bignall once more. At the other end Mendis was also patient until he was another batsman tempted into a big shot that resulted in his being bowled by the loopy spinner. Newton came in and soon provided Bignall with his 5th wicket mistiming a simple catch to the keeper.

    We were now in big trouble at 66 for 7. Niroshan joined Scott at the crease and managed to add a bit of stability, Scott batting very sensibly. After a few nice fours Niroshan was bowled and after Jonners hit a long hop straight to square leg we were 94 for 9. A few lusty hits from Anosh saw us to 109 before he was bowled in the 36th over.

     We didn’t have much luck but Judd Street bowled very straight and took their chances and the ball wasn’t really coming on to the bat on the green strip.

      After a yummy tea Newton and Regan opened the bowling and kept the scoring down – Regan (nursing an injury) bowling tightly with some hostile bouncers bowling their opener Delanian for 12. Soon after the other opener , Herhily , took a risky single to Regan who whistled the ball back over the stumps to be run out for 16. 35 for 2 became 40 for 3 when Jonners caught fellow keeper Pinfield off a thin edge off Mendis.

      This raised Grace’s spirits but number 4 Dane aided by Burgess ,the number 6, took up the attack. Sensible batting with some fortune (Chinese cuts!) accumulated Judd Street’s run total bringing up the winning runs in the 30th over. – Our bowling was good with Anosh pinning an end down (7 overs for 19 runs) but our total was at least 50 short of  being defendable.  

  This was the second innings that we didn’t use up the overs and this combined with some rash shots made it difficult to give the bowlers something to aim at. So some more batting stability is needed for our next match.



Roehampton Bats – Lost by 10 runs

Close run chase in the gloom

Our first home game of the season saw a bright morning turn into a gloomy and drizzly afternoon.
Despite this, Grace’s had a close and exciting game against Roehampton Bats. Gordie lost the toss and we were invited to field – train problems saw us with only 9 fielders for the first 13 overs.
Accurate opening spells from Hemang and Mahindra saw Roehampton restricted runwise but after the first wicket fell the number 3 chanced his arm , punishing anything lose. At this point the weather turned gloomy with a slight drizzle – this didn’t help our cause as cold fingers allowed the ball to squeeze past.
A bowling change saw Mamun claim a wicket with his first ball closely followed by another in the same over. Grace’s spirits were raised – however the visitor’s skipper had other ideas ,stylishly driving on his way to 89 with support from their number 7 to post a challenging final total of 231.
After some warmth and respite in the pavilion having a welcome tea , the 9 man visitors (they were 2 players short) took the field. The fine drizzle continued with Jonners and Deepu opening the innings , Deepu hit a quick 18 before hitting a full toss straight to a fielder , Abhi fell the same way for 25 – the cold didn’t seem to hinder Roehampton as their fielding was tight with few errors.
Anosh continued his good form with the bat before mistiming a shot giving a catch to the keeper for 26. After Korsala was caught looking to push the score along Gordie joined Jonners. Despite some big hits , the target run rate remained high but Grace’s battled to the end with Gordie on 53 and Jonners 47 , falling 10 runs short.
A great game despite the cold and drizzle, the difference was the visitors’ fielding as they didn’t let many through despite the conditions. There are a lot of positives take from the game , Grace’s chased the total well and newbie Mahindra showed he is an asset to the squad. – Roehampton joined us for a drink afterwards showing us a great scoring app for the Ipad , perhaps something for us to consider

South Loughton – Won by 7 wickets

First win of 2013

A trip out east to Loughton saw Grace’s third game of the season and new opposition. Founded in 1930 South Loughton have a lot of history and a compact little ground. 

Dom lost the toss (again!) and Loughton elected to bat. Noddy continued his accurate bowling  and together with Newton pinned the openers down on a green and slow strip. A  mistimed drive saw the young opener (one of 4 colts) depart. The number 3 came in and put together their best partnership before he fished at a wide one from Hemang and Anosh hung onto a good catch in the slips.

This then signalled a regular fall of wickets with Mendis picking up 5 for only 7 runs! The home team were dismissed for a well below par 90. 

After a nice tea Jonners and Deepu opened the innings for Grace’s – Deepu hit a full toss straight to a fielder and after Jonners perished attempting to sweep the airy opening spinner Anosh came in and started to punish anything lose – he wanted to get home quickly!

Together with Mendis he took the attack to the home side and after only 17 overs the game was won

So an easy win against very friendly oppostion – hopefully Grace’s can continue this form to the next game!