1st XI vs Brentham - Saturday 18th July

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

After an almost 10 month hiatus, league cricket finally returned to the field of dreams on Saturday. Have we have seen the back of insufferable government press conferences, relentless zoom meetings and plain awful tiktoks? I sadly doubt it. However, a visit from Brentham CC provided some urgent respite, and a tidy win for the 1s was the ideal nerve settler for new skipper Freddie Barrass. I largely offered to write this report as I’ve missed reading the stellar musings of Nick Brunner, (amongst others) on life and cricket. I’m sure you’ll deem it appropriate therefore that your correspondent contributed so little to a 1st team win, yet celebrated it so intensely at the Highgate bar.

Unfortunately my slightly tardy return from a 21 st in Maidstone meant I didn’t see the toss. To be fair, I wasn’t initially going to play in this game but a pitiful Thursday night cry off left Fred with little choice but to shuffle the pack. Anyway, I’m told the standard discourse regarding the new regs was followed by Brentham opting to bat on a rather pleasant looking Juniper special.

Someone remarked that the opening bowling combination of Barrass and Foster was a throwback to a bygone Highgate era, but had doubts about exactly which one. I’m sure the statisticians will confirm whether they have indeed taken the new pill together before. FB had requested a miserly start in the field, but sadly Foz seemed to have other ideas, conceding a painful 31 in his 3 over spell. It later emerged that his head may have been full of kitchen design blueprints, but honestly most of us were just happy he’d turned up to the game. He did get us on the board though, bowling Ilyas with a pretty tasty lifter.

A double change then saw Sandun and Billy take over from the openers, and at this point we started to gain control of the game. 59-1 became 82-9 as the pair attacked the stumps, wrapping the pads of the Brentham middle order with encouraging regularity. Sandy bowled nicely for his 3fer, but a word for our U19 captain who finished with 5-19 off his 7 overs. The dip he generated, complimented by suitable changes of pace are hopefully a sign of the confidence that he has carried into this season. A couple of unexpected mixers from their number 11 saw them reach 107, before Thaxo was introduced and promptly ended things with a straight skidder.

Tea was a pretty dull BYO affair, with supermarket meal deals the most popular choice. The days of both teams sampling noodles together in front of sky sports were badly missed.

Has and Cal were up first against a Brentham attack that perhaps looked a bowler light. It wasn’t Hassy’s day as he departed early, but his consistency over the last couple of seasons has been excellent and it was good to see him at the top of the Highgate innings once again. Number three Sharland had an injury hit 2019, but was  back to his dominant best here, crunching a string of punishing boundaries off the
Brentham seamers.

Fraser was sent packing shortly after launching a rare spotted maximum, so it was left to Sandy and Jake to finish with a flourish. Both sporting the stature of an archetypal playground bully, they bludgeoned the remaining runs in a hurry, Jake bringing up his 50 with a pulled six and Dias depositing over long off to finish the game.

An early finish allowed us wander over to Crouch End, where to give Foster his dues, he had the home support on strings with a plethora of sardonic comments. It was also nice to see some Highgate veterans at our game in support, and all are welcome this week as we take on an accomplished Acton side at the gate. Let’s hope the administrative prowess shown by MCCL titans de Silva and Reeve Snr during lockdown translates into some decent cricket from the two sides.

Your Correspondent: Sachin Raws