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 18.104.22.168 and Anosh 22.214.171.124. 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.