Brockley CC lost by 7 wickets

For the penultimate game of 2017 Graces made their way south to leafy Brockley to play a team we had first encountered in the indoor cricket league in Whitechapel.

On arrival some realised that we’d actually played at the host’s Hilly Fields ground a few seasons ago against the Hobgoblin Nomads and that there was a reason we hadn’t visited since – namely it’s a park ground with very limited facilities.

However Brockley are very friendly and hospitable hosts. Mahender won the toss and decided to bat on a very green pitch with an extremely lush outfield in a 35 over game.

Any idea that Brockley’s bowling attack would match the standard of their ground was dispelled as their openers produced some fine deliveries which tied down the normally attacking Newton. Interesting fact – Their opening bowler was Merlin , named after the famous Spitfire engine! Mamun pulled a nice 4 and then attempting the same shot was caught behind. Mahender in at 3 was soon bowled and when Mendis was edged to the keeper we were in trouble at 18 for 3 in the 6th over.

Although the wicket looked like a complete pudding it had some life with lots of bounce – our hosts told us they had to mark it and roll it themselves! Graces batsmen had to play very circumspectly as the change bowlers proved to be as accurate. In the 13th over Newton was caught for 4 with the score on 41. Niroshan joined Sam and both slowly accumulated with lots of dot balls as the bowlers gave very little away.

Niroshan was eventually run out for 20 bringing Neil in – the fact that he didn’t get off the mark until his 14th delivery says a lot about the difficulty in scoring. Sam’s marathon innings came to an end when he was bizarrely run out at the non-strikers end for 15. The bowler deflected a fizzing drive from Neil onto the stumps and Sam was stranded out of his crease!

A late flurry took us to 112 all out in our 35 overs.

The limited tea was consumed with the clouds looking threatening – some players regretted not packing their long sleeve jumpers. The last couple of Septembers have been really sunny , sadly not this season.

Our bowling attack took up where Brockley left off with Asad and Manish making the host’s batsmen work for everything. However they weren’t prepared to get bogged down and chanced their arms with some risky shots that they got away with until Manish took a nice catch in the outfield. The number 3 was in a rush and hit an entertaining 35 in no time at all taking the game away from us. Mahender eventually caught him but the damage had been done at 80 for 2.

The winning runs were hit with a few overs left despite another wicket falling , so a 7 wicket loss. Another 20 or 30 runs would have made it a lot more interesting. We can take some positives from the game as we bowled really well and never gave up.

As ever a big thank you to our supporters Phil , Tom & James with particular thanks to Marc for a long umpiring stint!

So next week sees our last game (weather permitting) with Graces returning south of the river to Norwood CC.

(Apologies but I’m not sure who sponsored the match ball)

Old Wimbledonians – Lost by 5 wickets

Batting falls short as the Wombles win by 5 wickets

This season’s visit to OWCC carried additional interest as ex-Grace Dean was captain of the hosts. The toss won Mahender opted to bat with Naroshan and Scott opening in the sunshine.

The host’s youthful bowling proved to be accurate not presenting us with many loose balls – Scott was caught by Dean with the score at 15. Wickets fell regularly with no-one really getting going until Neil and Newton were partnering at 77 for 4 in the 21st over. Neil played his usual attacking innings for a rapid 42 until he was bowled. Newton tried to keep the momentum going but was bowled for 22 – 132 for 6 in the 30th over.

After this nobody really got going and we were all out for 156 in the 37th over.

Ironically Dean was suffering from a shoulder injury and didn’t bowl at all!

After the usual fine tea the hosts took up the chase with the openers playing very well compiling an opening partnership of 90 in only the 15th over making light of our attack. Like last season the sunshine turned into a persistent drizzle dampening our spirits a little.

A clatter of quick wickets raised our hopes briefly until Dean came in and took OWCC past the post with an unbeaten 22. We lost by 5 wickets with 9 overs left.

So we were well beaten but our hosts are very hospitable with Dean buying us a jug.

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Hampton Wick Royals – Lost by 7 wickets

Batting wheels come off!

We’ve always been lucky with the weather on our trips to the lovely Hampton Wick Royals CC and this time was no exception – a relief after losing the previous 2 games to the weather.

 This time Sky Sports had sent a crew to film a feature on us with some interviews and match footage.
 The toss won , Mahender chose to bat on a flat looking strip opening with Sam and Scott. The camera was on Sam as he faced the first over and maybe was distracted as he edged to first slip (or did he!)
This set the scene for our whole innings as we almost all appeared to have been distracted by our fifteen minutes of fame. The host bowlers were accurate and proceeded to run through our batting line up with resilience only really shown by Scotty (19) , Stuart (17) and Newton (32). No one else got to double figures! Niroshan was unlucky to be awesomely caught one handed in the covers but we have certainly had better batting days as we were all out for 112 after only 29.3 overs.
At tea we were sad to hear that the usual tea maker had died from cancer earlier in the year. The tea we were given was a great spread as ever. With little to defend we knew we had to bowl them out and when we had them 3 wickets down for only 14 runs we thought we had a chance.
Unfortunately they have a strong batting lineup (as ever a mix of promising youngsters and more “experienced” players!) and then showed no mercy knocking off the runs by the 19th over. A notable feature of this game was the appearance of some beautiful deer on the boundary.
We then had a beer match which we lost too!
So a fun day with great publicity arising from the Sky Sports filming despite coming second on the pitch!