Match Report ~ 3s v Acton, Botany Bay CC 13th July
Acton winning draw - 5 points Highgate - 2 points
This was one of those weeks when for some inexplicable reason availability across all 5 teams suddenly plummeted and the 3rd XI was comprised of a combination of fresh-faced youngsters making their debuts for the side and, ahem, slightly more senior members.
A warm but cloudy day at the wonderfully picturesque Botany Bay ground. JDS won the toss and given the make-up of his team elected to field. We opened up with Tom Newell down the hill and Max ready for a long spell at the other end. Both bowled well without much luck. Tom likes to bowl at the stumps but in doing so occasionally drifts towards the leg stump and gives away runs. As a left hander his natural line should be across the right hander moving it away off the seam and when he finds that line he can be devastating. As it was the Acton openers played him watchfully and picked up runs whenever his line erred. Max bowled quickly and accurately as ever and was mostly too good for their skipper who played and missed on at least 20 occasions. Just too good Maxy!
The opening stand reached 100 though not without a couple of chances at least one of which we should have taken. Our catching was pretty dire on the whole and probably made the difference between 2 points and 5 at the end of the day. Even though they were occupying the crease Acton’s openers never got away from us and the rate stayed at around 4 throughout on a pitch which played well if a touch slow, which made scoring quickly problematic.
After his statutory 7 over spell Tom was replaced by Rawson who immediately settled into a nice line at respectable pace. He almost immediately induced a false shot from Kumar who chipped one to Tom at mid-on and then Max eventually nicked off their skipper for a hard earned but slightly streaky 56 and with his frustration finally boiling over gave him the mildest of send-offs which didn’t go down too well. You’d think that he’d never encountered a send-off previously which seems unlikely.
The match then became the Rawson show as his nagging line and variations induced various false shots. Their number 3 Arora slapped a sharp one to me at a slightly short extra which I was pleased to grab, after missing a one-handed chance from the skipper earlier. After that we were amongst them and wickets fell regularly, mostly to Rawson and the rate stayed stubbornly at 4s.
After a marathon 17 overs up the hill ( 17-0-64-1 great effort), Max was replaced by Kash bowling his slow left arm spin to great effect, keeping the rate down and grabbing a couple of poles in the process.
Rawson finished with the exemplary figures of 6 for 71 off 18 overs (his second 6+ haul in the last month) and bowled beautifully, a joy to watch.
Acton used up all their available 50 overs and finished on 211 for 9 leaving us 42 overs to chase their score or 178 for the winning draw. Tea was taken in a very quiet pavilion, Botany Bay’s game on the main square having been cancelled.
JDS and Fletch opened us for against a competent opening attack including a fairly sharp left armer. JDS as usual set off like a train while Fletch was more watchful although did enjoy the extra pace from the leftie and leaned on a couple of well-timed drives through the covers for 4. JDS was unlucky to mis-time a full toss which he slapped to square leg and Jenks never looked really settled in his first game back before eventually getting castled by the leftie for 11.
A change of bowling brought Robin Reeve bowling slow left arm, varying his pace and flight ( sound familiar?) and he got Fletch LBW for a solid 31. bringing Kash out to join Max. Whilst these 2 were in we were in with a chance but the bowling was tight and the pitch slow, making quick scoring very difficult. They both fell eventually trying to force the pace but still well short of the winning draw total. It was left to the father/son combo of Joel and me to see out most of the remaining balls before Joel departed trying to smash a length ball across the line having obviously decided his work here was done. Good effort from the lad though and with a good running catch in the first innings he’d acquitted himself well in his first 3s game. A word too for our other debutant Toby Cohen, currently an U13, who had an excellent game in the field despite not getting a bat or a bowl.
Given the vagaries of selection and considering the team we put out this was probably the best result we could have hoped for particularly after Johan departed cheaply. We fielded well on the whole although our catching was dire and cost us at least 30 runs which would have made a significant difference. Whilst we’re 20 points clear of relegation, a win next week against NLCC ( 1 point above us) would go a long way to ensuring that we’re not at risk of going down.