Up Fixtures 2017 Home
|Season to date||Played||Won||Lost||Drawn||Abandoned||Cancelled|
Pictures - Chris Sargeant
|April 23rd||Bank of England - Lost||A||May 7th||Chiltern Crusaders - Won||H|
|May 14th||The Lee - Won||A||May 21st||Pelicans - Won||A|
|May 28th||Little Marlow - Won||H||June 4th||Roxbourne - Won !||H|
|June 11th||Misfits - Won||H||June 18th||Southwell Ramblers - Won !||H|
|June 24th||Presidents X1 - Drawn||H||July 2nd||London Car Rentals - Drawn||H|
|July 9th||Ballinger Wagonners - Lost||A||July 16th||Red Square Lions - Drawn||H|
|July 23rd||Gt Gaddesdon - Won||H||July 30th||Chinnor - cancelled Chinnor unable to raise team||A|
|August 13th||Warwick Gypsies - Cancelled||H||August 6th||Cublington - Drawn||H|
|August 20th||Ley Hill - Won||H||August 27th||Bank of England - Won||H|
|September 3rd||Colney Heath - Won||H||September 10th||Chiltern Crusaders - Lost|
|September 17th||Ivinghoe & Pitstone - Cancelled||H|
September 10th - Chiltern Crusaders - Home - Lost
Beware the batsman late for a wedding !
Nick was forced to concede the toss this week, against a strong Chiltern CC side, thanks to only half our side arriving on time; one repeat offender was woken up at shortly before kick off, in South London. So we batted first. Makeshift opener Kenny was dismissed rather quickly, leaving Dom and Henry King to defend stoically against a strong new ball pair. As they got themselves in, runs began to come, but feeling the need to push on Dom called through a suicidal single and ran himself out. Henry continued with the most technically impressive and mature innings he's played for the club and put together an excellent 91 before he was bowled, selflessly pushing for a declaration. Will KD played some lusty blows before rather getting rather comically, reverse sweeping straight to short third man. Omar was equally brutal taking 35 from 20 balls. Our 214 felt like a very competitive total.
However, with eight of Chiltern's side due at a wedding reception in the early evening, they were rather keen to get on with things. After ten overs they were on 150, their skipper having scored his hundred from 32 deliveries.
In constant drizzle the ball was tough to hold for bowlers and catchers, so we bowled a few loose ones and dropped a few catches but this was as fine a display of striking as any of us had seen for some time. Their skipper ended unbeaten on 160, as they reached our total inside 20 overs, for the loss of three wickets. Convincing.
Still, there's always next week, and the chance to finish an excellent season on a high.
September 3rd - Colney Heath - Home Win
A famous victory this week, and a finish that will live long in the memory. The weather was inclement (it pissed it down all day), but we played through, at home, against Colney Heath, only our second fixture against them. Invited to bat first our innings took recent familiar form. Dom and Henry cautiously laid a foundation and got us well into the 80s before Dom missed a straight one and Henry King added some fireworks. Young Henry was a quick scoring as ever, surely surpassing his run-a-ball rate last week for his highest score for the club, an excellent 80.
Old Henry's form and reliability this season have been outstanding (rumours of performance enhancing drugs abound) and today was yet another illustration of a man at the top of his game. From the cut shot in front of square in the first over his hundred seemed inevitable, so much so that Colney's wicketkeeper mused aloud that he was considering appealing when Hen picked up a dead ball to return it to the bowler - that's when you know they're desperate.
Soon after Henry had reached his hundred Nick made an inspired, sporting declaration, which 100% of the team were behind...at least they were in the pub afterwards with victory sealed. We declared on 218, still with 25 minutes of our innings to bat, which we'd get back to bowl then out, but of course they would have to score the runs. It was a declaration that kept Colney in the game which ultimately gave us the opportunity to bowl them out.
Our bowling started well but screeched to a halt as Adam twinged a muscle and has to stop, and Sohail nursing a badly bruised foot could only muster one wicket. Runs were coming quickly and it was up to Stanley and Omar to stem them. They couldn't quite but between them they took vital wickets which kept us in the contest, just.
Fiddy, grumbling in the covers under his brimmer which was more umbrella than parasol today, was brought on fourth change, clearly being used as a strike bowler, for short sharp spells. He was immediately effective and hit an excellent probing line and took a wicket that made things 185-5. Only 34 required, plenty of overs, plenty of wickets, we were struggling and it was wet, cold and getting dark. We needed some inspiration and Stanly was the man to provide it.
Returning for a second spell he took two wickets in two balls, the second sending the off stump flying out of the ground. Knowing that runs were as vital as wickets, Stanley selflessly refused the usual nine men crowding the bat, in case we should concede a boundary. It was as altruistic a display as I can remember on the cricket pitch. His hatrick was not to be, but he'd dragged us back into the match and we were alive again in the field.
Their experienced skipper was hiding at number nine and he joined a man well set in the 70s and heaved his way to a couple of boundaries and got Colney Heath back on top. Fiddy picked up a second and Stanley his fifth, and suddenly we were only one wicket away from victory. With only single figures to score and two over remaining, all three results were still in play. They all remained in play until the final few balls. Some nifty field placings by Nick meant that we'd managed to keep their top scorer off strike, and it was down to their number 11 to score nine runs from the final three balls. Two came from the next two balls, leaving seven required from the final ball, making victory for Colney impossible. Undeterred by mere mathematics, Colney's number 11 had a huge heave towards mid wicket and Fiddy's delivery was perfect; full, straight and had it not been for the batsman's front pad, hitting middle halfway up. The opposition umpire showed great integrity and raised his finger to give Hyde Heath our victory on the very final ball.
We were jubilant and bundled into an 11 man scrum in celebration and for warmth. What a win!
August 27th - Bank of England - Home Win
So our second game of the season against Bank of England. They narrowly won the first with Hyde Heath only managing to field nine players. Onto the rematch. Hyde Heath won the toss and chose to bowl first. Luke opened the bowling and got us off to the best start possible with a wicket with his first delivery, catching the batsman on the back foot plum in front of the stumps. Luke continued to bowl well picking up five wickets, a great spell. From the other end, Ben managed to get their big-hitting wicket keeper out who had put us to the sword in the first game. He was really unlucky not to take a few more wickets. Change of bowling, Stanley came on and bowled an incredibly tight spell of 6 overs, 2 wickets for 10 runs. From the other end, Omar bowled well and took their last two wickets in a row so I guess next week’s game, he will be on a hat trick. We managed to bowl the Bank of England out for 96 and we headed in for tea.
Opening the batting was Matt and Kenny who didn’t quite get going. KD came to the crease and sprayed the ball all over the park for a quick-fire 28. Omar was there as well and was not-out for 31, pretty much all his runs were boundaries. Angus, pushed up the order to No.6, was 14 not-out, with three hard hits to the boundary.
So a very comfortable win to Hyde Heath and an early finish, all ready to have a giggle at the Bank of England dressing up. Their theme this year was the letter T so you can use your imagination and guess what they were dressed as. A good day had by all. The Bank of England are a really good bunch of lads
August 20th - Ley hill - Home Win
We were missing our Captain this week, but other than that has a strong side. Richie Howard, our original Kiwi was back and young fast bowler Adam Swede (rechristened Sweety, from Swedey) received his second cap.
Dom, standing in for Nick, lost the toss and was asked to bat first - fortunate really as our opening bowler was just finishing his second pint at Marylebone station and wouldn't join us for another hour - no prizes for guessing who! Dom and Henry managed a tricky opening spell in which ball dominated bat, moving through the air, seeming off a grassy wicket and being held up in a lush outfield. Patience paid off and soon shots began to come, singles and twos were dashed and we reached 80 odd without loss. Dom eventually chipped back to the bowler and Henry King joined Henry Capper and together they put on a massive stand.
Capper, Alistair Cook-esque, stuck to his game plan and ground the bowlers down, punishing balls in his areas and confidently defending the good ones over yet another high class, chanceless innings. King in contrast is more in the mould of the England middle order, hell-bent on attack, all the shots in his locker, clean striking. The scoreboard rattled along, the partnership well over 100. When Ley Hill realised they couldn't get Capper out, they thought to retire him and struck him hard on the back of the head with a run out attempt. Capper was not to be moved.
Eventually King was dismissed in the 80s, Spencer joined Capper and stole the strike to such a great extent that Dom threatened to declare with Henry still in the 90s. Only in jest of course and Capper soon cruised to another well earned century, and with 230-2 on the board, we declared.
Our reward for an early declaration was a 20 minute spell with the ball before tea. This situation rather confused Will Cousins, who had nipped home to send a couple of emails, leaving Jeremy (!?) in charge of calling him should he be needed. Will strolled casually round the boundary an hour later and chatted briefly to a few spectators in the pavilion before it dawned on him that his ten colleagues were all in the field and he threw on some whites and dashed out to join us.
Luke and Adam (Sweety) started beautifully; quick, attacking, and too much for Ley Hill's top order to handle. In their opening two overs Adam had one batsman fending to gully where Dom held on, and Luke ripped through their in-form danger man at 3, knocking back the top of middle stump.
Things got better and better for the Heath after tea. Rested, Luke and Adam were able to come back just a fast and strong and quick as a flash, Ley Hill were 4 down and still 225 runs behind. At this point the shutters came down and batsmen quite understandably went into survival mode. Some Kiwi guile was employed, Richie rolling back the years and hooping the ball round corners, he deserved more than his one wicket. Time for a bit of golden arm...newly rebranded Omar (see Umar in previous reports), started full and straight and almost immediately made a breakthrough, LBW. The next delivery was practically an action replay, LBW and Omar whooped ecstatically. Hatrick ball, every fielder crowed round the bat, but Omar didn't need them, his delivery clattered into middle and off and the whooping began again. What a moment, our first hatrick since 2007, SCENES!
We'd broken the back of Ley Hill and victory was almost certain. An ideal time for a a bit of offspin thought Dom and helped himself to a few overs and a couple of wickets; instructions from set batsmen to new batsman were "It's all over the place, but watch the straight one", I couldn't have put it better.
With numbers 10 and 11 defending stoically, the quick men were brought back and it was Adam who would have the final say, taking his third wicket. A clinical performance, and a tough man of the match decision, the centurion or hatrick man? For his offhand comment to the oppo in the pub afterwards "It's funny, I'm not even a bowler", I think Omar pips it.
August 6th - Cublington - Drawn
After a confusion of venue, we played at home on Sunday. Credit to Mike for getting the wicket and common looking so fantastic, especially with all the rain we’ve had. Hyde Heath lost the toss and were asked to bowl. Opening the bowling was Stanley and a new lad, Adam Swede. Stanley was unlucky not to take two early wickets. Adam bowled extremely well, 9 overs, 1 for 40. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make an early breakthrough and today our fielding really let us down – definite room for improvement. Sohail bowled a long spell to some in-form batsman. Spencer came on and when he pitched it up, we got the break-through we needed bowling 9 overs, 4 for 37. Really good effort. In the end we were set 190 to chase but it should have been more like 160 if our fielding had been on the ball.
Without three of our main batsman, our opening pair, Ben and Kenny really did try hard. Ben nearly seeing off the opening bowlers who were really swinging the ball in and out. After losing two quick wickets, Jez came to the crease and steadied things followed by Spencer who scored a blistering 69 but was unfortunately run out. We were on target to chase down the 190 but Cublington’s Saturday’s 1st bowler started to fly through our tail. Sohail did dispatch him and we were getting closer. But once Sohail was bowled, it just left Nick and Liam to consider trying to win or go for the draw. So with two overs to go, both of them did really well and closed the game out to a frustrated Cublington. All in all a lovely day on the common.
July 23rd - Gt Gaddesdon - Win !
A weather forecast guaranteeing thunderstorms all afternoon threatened our fixture this weekend, but the black clouds parted around Great Gaddesden's pretty ground and we got our game in.
Proceedings began as positively as one can remember; we had 11 players in whites at 1.55pm, we won the toss and took a wicket with the first delivery. The wicket was thanks to Ben's spot on start, a fine edge and Henry's dependable gloves - we were off and running. Our bowling was excellent throughout, Ed Whitehead and Spencer particularly. Spence found an extra yard or two of pace and his good length troubled all who faced him and he took four wickets for not very many runs. Kenny bowled very well too, taking two wickets.
Well here we go, my first match report. Back to Hyde Heath we were, not a dandelion in sight, Mike’s wicket was once again looking superb. Ballinger could really do with his services! Unfortunately, we lost the toss again and were put into bat by the Red Square Lions. Luke and Will to open, things started ok and then we lost Will and Andy quickly and things were looking a little wobbly at 18 for 2. Then through the white gates strode Umar. After telling me all week that his preferred batting position is no.4 I thought I’d give him a go. Luke and Umar steadied it all. Umar proved me right and hit a fantastic 66 with 10 fours, and 1 six and a partnership with Luke of 113. Luke continued to bat comfortably getting 81 not quite all the way to his first ton for the club! Three wickets then fell quickly with Spence and Nick both getting blobs. Then in came Ben Sonley with a quick-fire 19 so a good first innings total of 212 – definitely some runs to bowl at.
Fantastic tea with Laurie’s lovely sandwiches and Janet’s beautiful cakes.
So into the field we went. We couldn’t get the early breakthroughs we were looking for. Ben and Spencer were very unlikely starting off. After 10 overs we had contained them to 30 odd so unless we bowled them all out this was definitely heading for a draw. We managed to pick up 7 wickets, 3 for Spencer off 2 spells adding up to 15 overs – really good effort. 3 wickets for Luke, unlucky not to take 7 and one to the ever-reliable Jez. So I guess you call this a winning draw for Hyde Heath as the Red Square Lions finished at 136 for 7.
I do think if we’d won the toss and bowled first we would have had another win. Better luck next week.
July 9th - Ballinger Waggoners - Lost
A tough Sunday at Ballinger, we were beaten comfortably by a good opposition and an awful wicket.
Asked to bat first on not so much a green top, as a weed top, our innings never really got going. An excellent new ball pair, a couple of scuttlers and a couple of good catches made for single figure scores almost all the way down. The one exception was Spencer, around whom our innings was built. He appeared to be playing on a different surface and against different bowling to the rest of us and clattered his way to 36, our top score. Nine down inside 20 overs gave Liam and Ben licence to play their natural occupational games, to great effect, picking up singles and the occasional 4 byes to inch us into the 120s, which if not competitive at least gave us something to bowl at.
We started well with the ball, picking up a couple of early wickets, but these were to be our only victims. With only 70 odd still required, Ballinger's record holding run scorer came to the middle and made things look pretty easy.
After test matches losing captains talk about taking away the positives. Well, how about this for a positive; by six o'clock we were showered, changed and outside the Plough in the sunshine with a round of cold beers, toasting England's success at Lord's and consoling ourselves with the fact the we'd scored more runs than South Africa that afternoon.
July 2nd - London Car Rentals - Drawn
We have Matt to thank for our match this weekend. The Chair managed to magic up a fixture through the conference after Colney Heath pulled out on Thursday. The side we played, London Car Rentals, were among the strongest we'll face and a very friendly bunch, who played the game in just the right spirit. A fixture to repeat perhaps?
To the cricket. We rather let ourselves
down in the field, we started sloppily with the ball and though our
bowlers pulled things back, our fielding was pretty dreadful.
Countless catches went down and basic stops not made, it was all very
unlike us. Credit though must go to Kenny who fielded well and offered
unsolicited, unconstructive fielding tips to everyone else and to Nick
who took an excellent catch at mid off (before shelling a much simpler
one a couple of overs later). A couple of clean striking, aggressive
innings piled on pressure and runs and we went to tea requiring 240 to
For the early part of our innings, we
kept near enough to the required run rate. Henry was not at his most
fluent, but never looked like being dismissed and played a crucial
anchoring innings for Henry King, Spencer and Umar to play with
freedom around him. Spencer's innings was of particular note, his
second score in the 40s in as many weeks and whilst he was there it
looked for all the world that we might pull off a run chase that would
have gone down in the history books.
It wasn't to be, wickets fell and we lost momentum and the 20 odd runs required from the final two overs proved too many. A good draw to secure, given the scoreboard pressure we faced. No doubt Henry comes away with Man of the Match honours, thanks to another excellent unbeaten hundred (113*). His ability this season to go up and down the gears to suit the state of the innings is mightily impressive. As is the fact that from memory he has only offer one chance all year, that being his only dismissal to date. Well batted Capps.
June 24th - Presidents X1 - Drawn
President's Day, the highlight of the social calendar was upon us again. The beer festival the night before had been a roaring success and we're all very grateful to Nick and Emma for their wonderful organisation and to many others who helped set up, work the bar and man the BBQ.
Following many years of washed out, rain effected, or one sided matches this year's President's Day fixture was competitive and played under sunny skies. Charlie dusted off his whites to skipper Johny Capper's side of HHCC alumni, local rivals and old friends. As is tradition, the club bowled first and things got off to a suspect start when a short pitched delivery scuttled along the deck to bowl their opening bat, and when Luke pulled off a stunning return catch in his next over the score was 10-2 and Johny was worrying.
Fortunately at this stage Charlie, presumably keen to generously set the Heath batsmen something to chase, overlooked a convincing LBW appeal and Adam Pusey capitalised. His 151* was beautifully constructed, brutal at times and patient at others. We bowled well throughout, Luke particularly. Our fielding wasn't at its best but there were some high points, Ben deflecting a straight drive back onto the stumps in his bowling follow through, and a sharp diving catch by Dom behind the stumps.
The President's XI set 238 which would take some getting. Our reply got off to a stuttering start. Plenty got in, but then got themselves out. The sight of Luke leaving a straight one rather summed things up. Then Henry King and Spencer came together and both scored at a great rate, with such confidence that it looked like a win might just become possible. But in the 30s Henry was caught attempting to chip over the infield and all of a sudden our tactics needed to change.
Fiddy, at that stage on 30, took it upon himself to see us home to a draw. Seeping determination from every pore, he resisted loopy declaration bowling, the return of quick openers and a bucket load of unsolicited advice from fielders. It was a selfless (he finished tantalising close to 50), mature and match saving innings, the best I have seen him play. Wickets fell at the other end, until our last man Ben came to the crease, fresh from his long blocking session two weeks ago and the pair barnacled their way to the close.
An excellent day for the club and the village, made possible by the army of local volunteers to whom we are extremely grateful.
June 18th - Southwell Ramblers - Home Win !
Two fantastic individual performances, well supported by the rest of the side took us to our seventh victory in a row this weekend.
We lost the toss to Southwell Ramblers and we're asked to bowl first on what looked like a belting wicket and quick outfield. The Ramblers strong start confirmed this and they raced to 40 without loss. We managed to peg them back a bit, then Nick unleashed Adnan and the game changed. Adnan bowled beautifully all afternoon. He took a good return catch from their star man and Henry supported him behind the sticks with three stumpings. This is to be Adnan's final spell for the club as he's moving to Leeds and his parting gift to us was 7 for 41, well bowled. Sohail bowled a fearsome spell, which included a characteristic 'bowled' wicket. Stanley and Ben were unlucky not to break through and Dom popped up at the end to buy a couple of wickets thanks to a stunning overhead boundary catch from Stanley and a more regulation grab by Kenny.
We bowled the Ramblers out for 139. We've made hard work of similar chases recently, but not so this week. Henry and Dom's opening stand was dominated by Henry who's having an outstanding season, but even in that context this knock was special. He timed the ball sweetly from the first over, playing classy shots to all parts, there was nowhere to bowl to him. When Dom's much more conservative innings came to an end the score was over 100 and victory a near certainty. HHCC debutant Henry K made short work of the 30 or so still required, with some smart shots that we look forward to seeing more of. Henry finished on 87* and pushed his season average above 400. He even bought a jug to mark the occasion!
So we say farewell to Adnan who we have enjoyed playing with so much for the last few years - we wish him well in Leeds. There's space in the side again for a leg spinner, anyone know what time the first Eurostar pulls into St Pancras on Sunday mornings?
June 11th - Misfits - Home Win !
An wonderful victory for HHCC this week, to extend the winning streak to six. Things didn't get off to a good start though, Little Missenden's Australian opening bat got off to a flyer with well struck cover drives, to put 47 in the score board without loss after 8 overs. We needed some magic and Sohail provided it, strangling the Aussie down leg. There followed an odd exchange as the batsman firmly told the umpire to retract his decision, claiming not to have hit it, which the umpire, in the spirit of a Theresa May U-turn, did. With one eye on catches column in the end of season averages sheet, Dom just as firmly reminded the umpire how umpiring worked and to his credit said umpire upheld his original decision, pleasing the many (fielders), not the few (the batsman).
Sohail struck again the very next ball and from there on in, we were into them. Ben reeled off 12 excellent overs and took two wickets and Adnan tossed the ball high, extracted turn and took three wickets for 15 runs from eight overs. Bursts from Kenny and Fiddy saw them take a wicket apiece and Aaron's cool head ensured we capitalised on some suicidal running between the wickets. We bowled Little Missenden out for 119.
Oh what a mess our top order made of the chase, we were quickly 14 for 4. Out strode Kenny and we wondered what his approach might be to this perilous situation. He decided to belt everything pitched in his half as hard as he could and it was good to watch. He needed a foil, someone to sure up an end and Aaron was the man, enabling Kenny to keep hitting freely. It took a wonderful catch to dismiss Kenny, who fell just one short of his 50, but what a wonderfully entertaining and match resuscitating 49 it was.
There was still work to be done. Now 8 down, we were still 30 short and in the context of a 120 run target, still a way off. We needed another significant innings and Liam provided it. His wicket was never in doubt, even when opening bowlers were brought back on, Liam's forward defence was impenetrable. He played no false or forcing shots and knew that with 20 overs still remaining, the singles would come. Slowly but surely he was getting us to the line. Liam was ably supported by Ben, who occupied wonderfully in the slowest but most important 4 not out I've ever witnessed. A guide past backward point and we'd done it! Liam finished on 22*.
After an excellent fielding effort, it
look for all the world that we'd thrown this game away. But every
single one of our numbers 5 to 10 contributed, to make damn sure we
won and keep our winning streak going. Will it last to President's
June 4th - Roxbourne - Home Win !
A classic start to a Sunday cricket match, an opposition car had broken down en route to the match, so three members of Roxbourne's XI would be an hour late. They forfeited the toss, and given we had nine players at the ground, to their eight, we fielded first.
Luke bowled brilliantly, slightly fuller and slightly straighter than is natural for him and Roxbourne's top order couldn't cope. A superbly deflected bowlers run out was icing on the cake from Luke, whose figures read 9-1-24-2. His economy was particular noteworthy given that Roxbourne's strategy was T20 in style. Bats were thrown at everything, which got the scoreboard rattling along, but unfortunately for them, the wickets column rattled along nicely too. Sohail struggled with his line early on, but his last four overs were excellent and he also took two wickets. Adnan returning from injury bowled a very tight spell (10 runs off his 5 overs) and took his first wicket of the summer with the worst ball he bowled all day, good old leg spinners! Waq twirled down some offies until their number 8 whacked him into the trees, at which stage he decided to return to his more usual seamers and clean bowled the number 8 the next delivery. His accuracy cleaned up the tail and we bowled Roxbourne out for 135.
Our reply raced to 35 with pit loss. However, Dom managed to combine an awful shot, with a very good catch, setting off a mini collapse which saw three wickets fall in six balls for the addition of one run - game on. Luke joined Henry 'red ink' Capper, and the pair sensibly went into a quiet stabilising period for some overs. A classy, straight punch for four by Luke signalled that his eye was in and the two returned to their natural free flowing games, striking bad balls to all parts. Luke was run out on 40 thanks to a very smart direct hit, but the damage had been done. Henry, unfurled sweetly timed consecutive cover drives (yes, you read that correctly, eat yer heart out Ian Bell) and the job was done.
After a classic start to a Sunday cricket match, we also had a classic finish; the Plough full to burst with cricketers drinking warm beer and watching the rain fall outside. Inside we celebrated our fifth win in a row, wondered whether this was a record and calculated Henry's current average. It's 348. Perhaps the highest average without having bought a jug since records began.
May 28th - Lt Marlow - Home Win !
On a sizzling afternoon at Fortress Heath, we won again, making it four wins in the trot !
We hosted the strong Little Marlow, won the toss and asked them to bat first. Their experienced opening pair were aggressive from the start, but Ben and Sohail contained them and were well supported with committed fielding all round. Stanley, coming on first change bowled with deadly accuracy and a well disguised slightly slower ball, that stuck in the pitch and tested the well set batsmen. Debutant Saj came on to bowl a seemly never ending spell, which started seam-up and as the ball softened, he very effectively changed to off spin. We began to chip away at the wickets, then Jeremy came on to great effect, striking twice in two balls.
Though we bowled well, over the course of the innings a couple of chances went through pairs of hands, the odd long hop was dispatched and three of Little Marlow’s batsmen put together significant innings. We went to tea requiring 212 to win.
It was the first weekend of Ramadan, and 12 players across the two teams were fasting. Given the heat, humidity and length of day a great deal of respect was extended to our fasting team mates and oppo and it was a touching sight to see nine of the opposition make their afternoon prayers together on the outfield.
To reach 212, our reply needed to start with impetus and Will Cousins gave us just that, clattering the odd loose ball over the boundary for sixes and fours, allowing the more sedate Dom to get his eye in (and digest the 32 sandwiches he’d had to eat, given Ramadan’s double measures). Saj picked up where Will left off and sweetly timed some back-footed cover drives during a smart 20 odd. Kenny came to the crease and was firmly instructed by Dom to block his first ball (the last of an over). Kenny theoretically consented, then pounded said delivery high and far over mid-on, and continue with this strategy for a few overs.
Dom meanwhile had steadily made his way into the 60s, which combined with the firepower at the other end meant we had kept the required rate to a manageable 5 an over. With 70 still required, Dom missed a straight one and set off a batting collapse that looked to make victory impossible. But Jeremy steadied the ship, shoring up an end and another important partnership with Sohail got us over the line with two wickets and plenty of overs to spare.
Four in a row, eh.
May 21st - Pelicans - Away Win !
As can be the way when defending a low total, we had gone from cruising to victory, to looking like throwing it away. A rallying call from the skipper; a new strategic field set; and a double bowling change did the trick. Their strike batsman heaved a Dom offie to long off and Haroon Rauf charged in and took an excellent high catch. Ben came back on and immediately nipped out his fourth wicket and numbers 10 and 11 managed to miss a couple of straight, slows ones from Dom and victory was ours.
Another excellent team effort, another win against the odds and a third victory in a row, we could get used to this.
May 14th The Lee - Away Win !
A memorable victory away from home this week. We travelled the couple of miles to the Lee, with two debutants in the side, Waq and Aaron, one assumes their matching beards is coincidence, rather than a new selection policy. We won the toss and chose to bowl, news which was received gleefully by the oppo skipper, he who laughs last and all that...
We didn't bowl badly, nor field badly, nor make any strategical errors. We struggled though with the limited overs rule of bowlers being restricted to eight overs, and more so with some hideously ugly and brilliantly effective middle order slogging and slashing. The Lee looked set for an imposing 250 plus score, until Waq and Sohail pulled things back towards the end and we restricted them to 226. Credit to Kenny and Fiddy too for good control and to take pace off the ball, Dom debuted some off spin to reasonable effect.
The Lee's opening bowling spell was a barrage; both were quick, one was banging it in short, the other hurled down chin high beamers. Henry and Dom were obturate and pounced on any misdirected delivery they could, to try and stay near to the run rate. At 20 overs we were 109 without loss, oppo moral broken and a good foundation for our aggressive middle order to come in and 'express themselves', as younger TMS commentators would say.
And so it came to pass. Dom fell soon after drinks, but Will, Waq and Fiddy all followed with useful and brutal cameos. Henry was still going, anchoring the innings beautifully and when Nick joined him only handful of runs were required for victory and for Henry's hundred. Trouble was we were in the penultimate over. Henry selflessly instructed the on-strike-skipper to finish the match and for the second week in a row, Nick did just that.
To chase 226 is a fine achievement, and to do so against this depth of bowling attack, even better. Hats off to clean and powerful striking by the talented Waq and Fiddy at the end, but Henry's innings was a very special, match winning one. 99 not out though, jug evasion.
|May 7th Chiltern Crusaders - Home Win !|
The first home fixture of Nick's captaincy ended in a close fought win for Hyde Heath. We chose to field first and our four man, all seam attack did us proud. Luke and Stanley shared the new ball, tested Chiltern's top order and were unlucky not to take more wickets. These whippersnappers made way for the experience and guile of Jeremy and Sohail, both theoretically making tentative returns to arm turning over...not so you'd notice, they shared eight wickets between them! Sohail delivered his leg stump yorkers seeming at will to take five wickets, three of which were 'bowleds', and two in two balls. Jez took three wickets with tight lines and variations of pace, including a stunning slower ball that looped past a heave-ho-ing batsmen to nudge off stump.
The team's fielding was excellent, particularly Spencer in the covers who must have saved 20 runs, cleanly snapping up some full blooded drives that would have raced to the boundary otherwise. We were set 155 to win.
Our reply started watchfully, Dom and Matt had chosen not to net this winter and their footwork showed signs of rust. Matt played a trademark Sims square drive that rattled to the ropes, before receiving an unpleasantly good straight delivery which bowled him. So to the Heath engine room, where talent and lusty blows abound, in Luke, Spence and Kenny Holt. All three were directed to take their time and play themselves in and all three tried to hit a 12 year old leg spinner into the trees and all three tried in vain. 30-4.
The situation called for a wise old head, and Jez was just the man. He joined Dom and together they ran hard, and played measured innings to add 70 to the total. Dom reached his half century but a good diving catch saw him off soon after, with 50 still required for victory and overs closing in. A mix up between the skipper and Jeremy ended in Jez being stranded half way down and run out in the 20s. The importance of his stabilising knock, added to his three earlier wickets made him a standout for Man of the Match. Sohail joined Nick and the way these two bat, run rate was never going to be an issue, three overs of brutal fours and sixes from both men saw us within touching distance. Alas, Sohail fell and Liam 'Boycott' Harrison strode to the crease. With only two runs needed Liam uncharacteristically tried to score! But the match was appropriately ended by new captain, Nick, to smash the winning runs to complete his first victory as skipper, in his first home fixture. We hope to see many more.
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