The 3s first home game of the season saw us making the trip to the quaintly named village of Botany Bay just outside Enfield and a slightly longer commute than in previous seasons when our home games had been played at Edmonton. I can safely say that the new facility is a massive improvement and definitely worth the extra mileage. Botany Bay CC is a great facility with smart changing rooms, excellent pavilion and decent bar and a proper pitch in beautiful surroundings. Hopefully the 3s and possibly next year the 4s as well will continue to play here for the foreseeable future.
Sadly our performance wasn’t up to the same high standard. JDs won the toss and put NLCC in to bat on a flat looking pitch without much grass on it. In retrospect batting first might have been a better option but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
We opened with Max and Tom who both bowled testing spells. Max removed their dangerous looking gobby opener after he’d hit a brace of 4s and then removed numbers 2 and 3 with little fuss bowling great lines at good pace. Tom didn’t get a wicket but deserved one and went for only 18 runs in his 6 overs.
NLCC were finding the going very tough and the score inched along at around 3 an over not helped when their number 4 Alex Lewis pulled a calf muscle and had to hobble off. Ubayd had joined Alex in the attack and found his rhythm immediately and at this stage it was mainly a matter of survival for the NL batters particularly Brimble who played and missed on countless occasions particularly at Max who desperately unlucky not to remove him. Brimble’s obduracy proved to be the difference between the sides as he hung about for virtually the entire NL innings despite looking in awful touch and constantly berating himself. His 75 made against a testing attack was nevertheless a great effort and he rode his luck to provide the backbone of an otherwise ordinary batting performance.
With Max virtually bowled out JDS brought on Danny who continued to pose all sorts of problems for the batters with testing line and flight. I have seen him bowl better than this but even at slightly below par he was still too much of a test for the batters who either remained shotless or tried to go at him with too much aggression with predictable consequences. Danny finished up with 6 wickets and was the grateful recipient of 3 LBW decisions from a generous NL umpire. At the other end Jacko took over from an unluckily wicketless Uber and bowled with pace, bounce and accuracy carrying on from where he left off last week. He deservedly picked up a wicket and NLCC ended up on 180 after their allotted 45 overs.
Tea was taken in the bar and did not disappoint, witness Uber’s mountainous plate of baguette and chips.
The less said about our batting the better. None of the top order really got starts against a decent opening attack apart from debutant Joe Watts who was looking good until he got a good one from their skiddy opener Alam and was bowled. Shivank got a desperately poor LBW decision from the NLCC umpire but the rest of us with the honourable of Danny B batting at 5 really have no excuses. The bowling was testing without being top drawer and too many of us got out because of poor shot selection. Admittedly there were some good nuts from the NL attack, JDS and Max Lewis for example both got bowled with balls which moved in the air and off the seam but we needed at least one of our top order to stay with Danny B if we were going to have any chance of chasing the target. As it stood however it was only a fighting last wicket partnership of 49 between the 2 Dannys, Juniper and Blyghton which got us within hailing distance and we were finally all out for 124. Danny B was marooned yet again just short of his 50 which would have been entirely deserved after he’d shown admirable grit and determination and was a shoe-in for player of the day across all the teams at the round-up back at the Gate.
So 2 games in for the 3s and 2 losses against teams we should really be looking to beat comfortably if we’re to hold our own in the division this season. I’m confident skipper JDS will turn things around given the talent at his disposal but it really will take a significant improvement in our level of performance. Next week we are away at Osterley and hopefully we can start to turn things around and play to our potential.
19 May 2019