4s continue winning ways in EN postcode
Enfield Grammar School was a new ground for most, if not all, the 4s team for our fixture against Enfield 3rd XI and we were all pleasantly surprised on arrival by the rather beautiful and clearly well-looked after surroundings. The pitch looked flat and close-cut and the outfield lush, so something ofa departure for the 4s, more used to shopping trolleys on a length and burning cars in the car park. (I exaggerate for effect obvs, in case any of our other opponents read this!)
On any analysis batting first looked like the best option so we were faintly surprised when Hodgy lost the toss and the Enfield skipper inserted us. Did he know something we didn’t? Anyway, Nikhit and the evergreen Fletch opened up and started watchfully against a decent Enfield attack, especially the big left armer bowling cutters which jagged alarmingly off a length. Scoring was slow against naggingly accurate bowling although Fletch managed a couple of well-timed cover drives to keep the board moving. The running between the wickets was admittedly not electric and the Enfield ring took the opportunity to move deeper and deeper as singles were repeatedly refused to the growing frustration of those watching from the boundary but we needn’t have worried. Despite us reaching only 42 from 15 overs, the first change bowlers proved less economical and the runs started to flow.
Fletch and Nikhit took us to 88 for the first wicket before Fletch wafted at one from an offie outside off stump and chopped on after making an excellent 42. Nikhit was joined by Salman and the two started to accelerate with Nikhit launching a couple of huge mixers into the adjacent brook before being well caught in the deep trying to repeat the feat. Salman made a swift 20 odd before departing and Oscar then joined the fun, watchfully at first but then increasingly expansively especially when Anil joined him and stated to dismantle the now flagging Enfield attack. Abdul made an excellent 37 off 20 balls, including smashing 3 gorgeous sixes off the 2nd change bowler who until then had looked pretty handy. Abdul treated his bowling with utter
contempt in his brief but explosive innings and we were suddenly looking at a score in excess of 200 which felt like par on such a good wicket. A brief cameo from Thex coming in at 7 (20 off 16) saw us to 229 for 5 off our 45 and we took (our own) tea generally satisfied with our efforts.
During the interval we speculated on the oppo’s decision to field and concluded that this was almost certainly due the fact that they had more faith in their bowling attack which had in fact performed pretty decently. In retrospect I think that probably is the correct explanation although it did transpire that this side could bat but unluckily for them Thexo and Mo bowled superbly from ball one and we were soon taking wickets. Their openers looked competent and looked to score from the off. They hung a round for a little while but with Thexo bowling his left arm swing and getting the ball the go round corners, survival was always going to be tricky and he removed their no. 1 plum LBW at the start of his second over before castling the new batsman 3 balls later. Ably assisted by Mo at the other end who was looking sharp in his first HCC game of the season Thexo was simply unplayable, swinging the ball at decent pace and he struck again at the start of his next over and then again 3 balls later only to suddenly
feel his hamstring go and, tragically, to play no further part in the match, at least from a bowling perspective. With the oppo now 18 for 4 however 230 looked a long way away.
Batters 2 and 6 then put on about 40 for the next wicket despite the opener being caught by Hodgy in a flurry of limbs and rolling about for which both umpires were unsighted and refused to take the fielder’s word that the catch was clean but Mo accounted for the no. 6 with a sharp run out direct hit. Hodgy was now bowling a long spell in tandem with Oscar and took 4 excellent wickets but it was Oscar who finally snared the cat-like (in terms of lives) opener. Rehan came on to finish the job off having their dangerous looking no 10 stumped by me after he walked past one.
Great win for the 4s to make it 3 out of 4 and a top of the table clash against Ealing next Saturday. We got back to the Gate with smiles on our faces to be cheered even further to hear that the 1s, 2s and 3s had all won too. Gate times! Just need to get the 5s and 6s back on track and winning a few now…
Sam Ball 1 June 2022