Despite a decent looking weather forecast, the 4s arrived at Botany Bay to the sight of clouds scudding across a grey sky and drizzle in the air. With a greenish but flat looking pitch and the possibility of rain later on it was a good toss to win and Hodgy duly obliged, inserting Harrow CC to face an attack of 3 seamers and an astonishing 4 spinners.
The evergreen Cooky, bouncing back from a double titanium knee replacement, and Kash opened the bowling, the latter nominally a spinner although probably slightly edging Cooky on the speed gun. Both started well and the Harrow openers started very circumspectly in the face of naggingly accurate bowling. Kash got the breakthrough with the score on 10.
An intensely frustrating century partnership followed between the remaining opener and their number 3 bat, whose entire repertoire of shots consisted of ugly hoicks across the line which he stubbornly refused to miss or hit directly to a fielder capable of catching it i.e. none of our entire side. We dropped 8 catches in total and it’s a testament to the efforts of all of our bowling attack that Harrow still failed to get away and post a significant score.
Once bats 2 and 3 had finally been separated by Oscar making his debut and bowling classical off spin with great control we were in business and wickets started to fall. Rehan, Fred (my auto correct just changed that into Rehab Fred which is what I’m going to call him from now on) and Oscar all contributed with more poles and all bowled well. I took an edge from Oscar and then, in a village comedy cricket moment, threw down the stumps to effect a run out at the bowler’s end after 2 overthrows. Some of you may also have heard about my stumping off Hodgy’s bowling but modesty forbids me from harping on about it.
Harrow finished on 217 from their 45 and we went to the virtual tea moderately happy with our efforts.
The evergreen Fletch (you can’t refer to Fletch in a match report without calling him evergreen) opened up with Rahul against a mixed opening attack i.e. one guy who could bowl and one who couldn’t. They put on a watchful 66 together before Fletch was comprehensively castled by their 15 year old first change bowler who was bowling decent away swing at a fair pace. Rahul was joined by Blacky and they put on another 60 odd and it felt like we were on top until the latter slapped a long hop from their leg spinner to midwicket and Rahul followed shortly afterwards chippIng a caught and bowled to the same bowler.
The match had been swinging in our favour while Blacky and Rahul had started to accelerate but the double loss of their wickets swung it back Harrow’s way as Oscar and Chintan consolidated watchfully putting on a valuable 30 or so runs together until Chintan missed a straight one from the young seamer. We still had 60 runs to get at this stage and the rapid departure of Kash chipping a caught and bowled to their leggie had everyone shifting nervously in their seats, except for Oscar who continued to accumulate carefully. Fred played a nice little innings but departed for 7 with the score on 190. I joined Oscar and indulged myself in a few hare-brained singles before Oscar decided enough was enough and smashed their returning opener (the good one) for a four and then a beautiful lofted on drive for 6 to take us within hailing distance of the win. I tried to copy him but clothed mine to mid-off and it was left to our skipper and Oscar to see us home by 3 wickets with 9 balls to spare.
A really good win for the 4s, superbly led by Hodgy and with the bonus of a wonderful debut for Oscar including a top knock of 48* and bowling figures of 7-0-21-2. Everyone else contributed on some level with the only black mark being awarded for the dire catching performance. Compulsory high catch practice for everyone with Steve on Tuesday!
9 May 2022