Twickenham CC 3XI v Highgate CC 3XI: Match Report, 07/05/22
The 3XI’s opening of the 2022 campaign had all the hallmarks of the return to league cricket; an hour plus trek to SW London, a locked clubhouse, and a deck that showed discernible scars of slide tackles from the football season. Our top six’s Friday night dreams of a flat hard pitch were dashed, but new Captain Cummo’s hope of a fourth successful toss as skipper was not. Twickenham were inserted, much to the relief of the Gate batters and the trepidation of their counterparts.
Highgate’s opening pair of Alex and Steve immediately set to work with the new ball. Perhaps fittingly, the first chance – elicited by an early season loosener from Alex – hit the turf in the gully (Ben would go on to make amends in strong fashion). Both openers bowled with disciplined line and length and the pressure soon told as Steve opened his 2022 account; a straight ball scooted into the front shin of Twickenham’s number one, who looked grateful to have committed another 18 Saturdays to his thankless task, walking off at 1-1. Steve was unlucky not to add anymore to his tally, but his miserly 12-over spell helped bowling partner and Fantasy-bargain Alex to dismiss the rest of Twickenham’s top five in a superb spell. The pick of Alex’s four wickets saw the back of Twickenham’s only pair to offer any resistance to the Highgate attack. Both batters, having invested heavily in the pre-season gym prep, adopted a hit-out approach to counteract the uneven bounce. However, Alex and Steve’s refusal to offer width, supported by tight fielding from Nikhit, Salman and the rest of the ring, soon produced false shots from both; Max took a smart catch at close cover from an uppish drive, and Arthur obliged well at gully following a thick edge. Steve finished 12-3-23-1 and Alex 9-1-33-4.
With Twickenham five down for under 50, Arthur turned wicket-taker, replacing Alex as first change and continuing in the same vein to address Twickenham’s lower order. His aggressive straight line disturbed the stumps of two Twickenham tailenders, and a good grab behind the sticks from Cummo completed the three-for. Columbus replaced Arthur to finish the innings, invoking some of the great quicks of the past with a hostile bout of short deliveries that Twickenham could only fend to short fine and square leg, comfortably caught by Alex and Abdul. Arthur finished 4-1-9-3, Columbus 1.3-1-0-2 (with no mention of a burglary), Twickenham managed 71 ao from 27.3.
Ben and Arthur opened in reply, and though Arthur fell cheaply, Ben seemed not to have received the memo about the pitch. Batting as if he had just wandered out to the Oval, he drove and pulled sweetly, with Twickenham unable to offer any real threat as Ben finished 35*. A partnership with Sav took the Gate most of the way, before the second Twickenham wicket allowed Columbus to knock off the winning runs in the 17th over with a late cut (that beat the man at fine leg).
All in all, a comprehensive 8-wicket victory for Highgate 3XI and a statement of intent from the new captain’s side.