Last Saturday saw the team make a tough away trip to North Middlesex, a venue that has not been kind to us over the past couple of seasons. Having a 1-1 record so far this year, whilst nothing was said beforehand, everybody knew the importance of the game in trying to build up some momentum for our league campaign.
North Middlesex chose to bat first and posted a slightly above par 241 in their 50 overs. It was based around a well made 97 from their number 3, who made it difficult for us to ever really take control of things. It's very much a new look bowling attack for the team this year and whilst still a long way from where I think we will get to, improvements were there to be seen, and the team as a unit stuck to the task well enough.
Having scored over 300 in both of the previous weeks, though, and with nearly all the batters in form, we were quietly confident that a 'mere' 241 would not prove a problem.
About 40 minutes later it felt like it might be a problem as, after being second man out, in the time in took to take off my pads and find my ******* keys (how many pockets can one bag have!), I was joined swiftly by our 2 centurions from the previous 2 weeks. But this is a batting unit with confidence in each other and Ben and Tom Elliott assuredly began to get us back into the contest. It was a mature partnership that took us from 34-4 to 125 before the latter was bowled for 33.
From here, whilst others would need to do their bit it was clear we needed something a bit special from Ben Williams and that is exactly what we got. His composure, and the efficiency and power of his stroke play was something I'd have paid to watch (technically I did- £12). In making his 113 of 106 balls, he took us to the brink of victory (20 to get when he was finally dismissed) but it was left to Jack and DK, our final pair, to somehow find us those extra few runs we needed and once again we were slightly second favourites.
However Jack, our new fast bowling recruit, played as most number 10s do with an apparent freeness/total lack of awareness - I don't know him well enough to make that call yet - despite the perilous state of the game. With 5 needed and most of the team quietly mouthing 'just knock it about lads', Jack decided it was time to end it there and then and promptly with a long heave of the bat lifted the ball just far enough over long-on's head for the 6 that brought us victory.
So to summarise: Roy of the Rovers stuff from the new boy Jack (a six to win the game), another mention to Ben for an amazing innings (his second match winning century in a row); and 2 wins from the first 3 sets us up nicely for a big game this week against Hampstead. This team has some good players and should only get better from here too, which is an exciting prospect.