North Middlesex CC - 2nd XI Vs Teddington CC - 2nd XI

The 2s arrived at a sunny North Midd ground to be a confronted with a flat deck and a very short boundary down the hill on one side as well and straight. The returning captain Baggs won the toss (for a change) and decided to field.

After the warm up of the season JLG and Swan took the new ball. It quickly became clear that anything beating the infield on either side of the wicket would be 4. Swan came around the wicket to their left handed opener and the pressure started to build. After one near miss run out he pushed the ball into the covers and set off. Hicks swooped from point and threw down the stumps at the non-strikers end to get TCC on the board. The pressure continued to build and the other opener slapped a good length ball from Swan to the tumbling Munday, fresh from a month long sabbatical looking after Andy Murray, who took a good catch for the second wicket.

Swan continued to bowl around the wicket at the left handed no 3 and went passed the outside edge over and over again. After many plays and misses and 4s through third man, one very close call (and convincing appeal from the cordon) and in the 30c heat, Swanny was ticking. When the edge finally came, Smith at 1st slip was celebrating before the ball had even reached Baggs and this perhaps contributed to the subsequent uncharacteristic fumble. Smith regained his composure sufficiently to palm the ball up and caught it at his second, and the team’s third, attempt. If this had been dropped, Swan’s swede would have popped.

The innings then settled into a pattern. Sweepers went out and the bad balls were put away with conviction but the game never got away from us. The scoreboard was ticking but considering the short boundary and flat pitch concerns were limited. R Bennett bowled tightly from the pavilion end their captain hit a very clean ball in scoring a rapid 56 before JLG took a good catch to get rid of him. With Munday finding the bottom end tricky to bowl from Baggs turned to Hicks’ mediums and a well spread field. Combined with Bennett a few tight overs brought a waft at a short wide one and a well taken catch by BB standing up. Smith replaced Hicks and Bennett wheeled away, snaring their no 4 for a well made 68 thanks to another good catch by JLG.

With the field well spread North Midd started swinging from the hip, Bennett/JLG combining again for his third. After another half pitch run out to Hicks at third man attempting to get the set batsman on strike North Midd surprisingly decided that 270 wasn’t enough and batted on past 50 overs. After 5 dots balls in the 50th over JLG took the final wicket. Given the short boundaries and good pitch, a strong display in the field.

In his first game with more than half hours sleep, Gardiner was LBW early. After promoting himself to 3, Baggs and Austin started to get the scoreboard ticking, Austin picking off the short ball with aplomb, including one huge mixer. At 73-2 ambition got the better of him when aiming a lofted on drive off the opening bowler. Poles splattered for a boundary filled 33. Smith continued to keep Baggs company, playing risk free cricket to add another 60, staying well up with the rate before a good ball from their opening bowler held its line to clip the off bail. Another 40 partnership with the incoming Meek followed as the required runs ticked down, the tiring Baggs starting to play more freely and finding the boundary with ease. With North Midd literally putting every fielder on the boundary, Meek plinked one to long off.

After spending almost every ball on the field in the heat and with a hundred nearing, Baggs aimed a swipe over the pavilion and was castled for a superb run a ball 91. Hicks joined Bullon at 206/5 with 7s needed and they calmly picked up singles to add another 30 before Hicks holed out to long on. JLG came and went first ball thanks to an unlikely over the head one handed grab at mid wicket.

The tension rose as Bennett arrived with victory still the target. Bullon continued to pick up singles and a streaky Bennett 4 through the vacant slips brought cheers from the watching 3s. When Bennett was castled with 25 needed Munday strolled out with the target adjusted firstly to reaching the 265 needed for the winning draw. He was trapped LBW as Stef watched from the other end and despite a trademark straight Swan 6, he too was trapped in front with us still requiring 16 with 10 balls left.

Thanks to Ealing drawing at Richmond we remain top of the league by 4 points with 2 timed games and 4 limited overs games to come. Bring on Eastcote next weekend…

Author: Simon Hicks

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Finchley CC - 2nd XI Vs Teddington CC - 2nd XI - Saturday, 9th July, 2016

TCC started the second half of the season with an away trip up North to Finchley. Having dispatched the opposition by 10 wickets in the first round of fixtures, confidence was high that the 9 point lead over Ealing at the top of the table would be maintained.

The mood for optimism was somewhat wavering as the eleven started to turn up at the ground, culminating in the self-proclaimed ‘most successful captain at the club’ walking out to do the toss in last night’s gears. Having been told how fruitful his night time exploits had been, you’d have hoped he would have carried this form into his tossing ability. Alas, captain Baggs lost the toss…again. Fortunately for the rest of us, the Finchley captain thought it wise to stick us in so we retired to the pavilion to discuss how strenuous a warm up we fancied this week.

Some 30 minutes later Austin, fresh off finishing two crosswords before the start of play, and Gardiner strolled to the crease. The pair got off to a flier before settling down into a more sedate style of play. Austin was eventually dismissed when nearing 50 which brought Johnnie Smith to the wicket. These two continued to play steadily until Gardiner reached his 50. After a week doing the nightshift at Wimbledon this was a quite superb effort, and clearly he thought so too as he was bowled next ball…his work was done for the day. Alex Smith came and went – caught in the gully however he still assures us all it was a bump ball. Chin up.

TCC then lost a flurry of wickets, including captain Baggs who once again thought it best to drop himself down the order. Unfortunately this week it did not work as the captain was bowled by the oppositions overseas who at this stage was approaching his 20th over. This left debutant Krishan Sachdeva and Pollock with a bit of rebuilding to do at 150 – 6. Sachdeva played well for his 20 until he was caught at long-on and after a few lusty blows from Pollock the scoreboard sped up to 220. Pollock was out for 44 of 29 balls in the 50th over, Swann then followed which left TCC 220 all out off 50.4.

Having bowled out the opposition cheaply last time around, it was felt 220 should be just about enough. It soon came apparent that it was certainly enough as TCC stalwart and vice-captain Swann ripped open the Finchley top order with two quick wickets. Pollock then bounced out/burgled down the leg side the other opener for a swift 30 which left TCC in the driving seat. A period of calm followed as Sam Harris continued to beat the bat and Swann got a bit tired. Captain Baggs gave the signal for Sachdeva to warm up which did not go down well with Swann who begged for another over. After Harris bowled the number 5, Baggs, reluctantly, gave into Swann. Fortunately he did not let his captain down with two wickets in the over. Rather unfortunately this secured Swann another 4/5 overs as he attempted to get that allusive 5fer. The Finchley wicket-keeper took a fancy to Swann’s bowling and blasted him out of the attack which left the opening bowling to retire to the boundary to lick his wounds.

Then came on the spin twins of Sachdeva and J.Smith. A wicket for Sachdeva and Smith got Swann excited as Finchley were now 8 down, way off the target, with cumulative ages of the batsman in amounting to 30 tops and the remaining batsman being 3 times this figure. Smith then grabbed one of the young-guns. 9 down. Baggs gave the call for Swann to warm up however as there were 4 balls left in the over there was no guarantee it would last that long. Swann made sure it would, now circling around mid-on begging Smith to throw a few wide ones in so he could have another. A kamikaze single ensued, straight to Swann at mid-on, not that you’d have known it though. Swann casually sauntered round, picked the ball up and lobbed the ball into Baggs on the 3rd/4th bounce. Even with this blatant slowness the batsman was still out, however, not given…well played Swanny.

Swann then cleaned up the number 9 second ball which left him with figures of 5-51 – well bowled Swanny. TCC had won by 91 runs – a good team performance. All that was left now was to celebrate the victory and celebrate Swann’s 5fer. The team toasted success thanks to Swann’s jugs and then descended on the Anglsea to celebrate into the night.

Next week brings a top of the table clash with Ealing with the winners likely to be firm favourites for the title. On the back of the Lord’s test a win next week a win would surely go down well. 

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Teddington CC - 2nd XI Vs Richmond CC, Middx - 2nd XI, 11th June 2016

Despite putting in a good shift in the Harris Garden on Friday, The Dinks juggernaut marched on with a hard fought and highly satisfying victory at home to Richmond. 

Captain Baggs won the toss and set his bowlers to work in what were helpful overhead conditions. Hannah and Pollock, fresh from the Shepway Station White Tie Ball, were given the responsibility of leading the attack. Both started well, offering very few scoring opportunities to the Richmond opening pair. A couple of early opportunities went array but the bowlers patience was rewarded when Pollock (1-26) made the breakthrough in the 9th over. Hannah (2- 29) then responded quickly and found himself on a hat-trick after two gorgeous away swingers were edged through to Bennett-Baggs, leaving Richmond at wobbling 29-3.

After finally making a bowling change, Richmond threatened to take control before Munday entered the fray. Richmond's Number 4 had already taken 20 off the over but decided he needed one more. Munday had different ideas. He picked up cleanly at mid on and thew down the stumps at the non-strikers end, allowing the batsmen to continue his run back to the shed. From there Teddington never really took their foot off the gas. Harris (1-41) and Munday (1-37) picked up a wicket a piece, before Austin rolled back the years with a second direct hit of the day. Finally, after 32 overs, Captain Baggs decided he should give the part timers a bowl and threw the ball to Swan (3-21). Unsurprisingly, Swan, who had been told in the 31st over before that his services were not going to be required, angrily mopped up the tail and Richmond were dismissed for 160 from 44 overs. 

After tea, Teddington looked to carry their momentum into the second innings and started brightly with Austin (13) crunching a few early boundaries though backward point. However, once the Richmond attack found their rhythm, batting became tricky. With the ball hooping both ways, Teddington found themselves 40-3 and in need a partnership. Meek (19) offered some resistance before Kennedy (23) and Pollock (24) looked to counter attack against Richmond's very own Andre Nel. Richmond's self proclaimed "quick bowler" decided to test Pollock out upstairs and when he awkwardly fended one away, the red mist descended. After a heated exchange, Nel called for a short leg and Pollock called for his tennis racquet. Pollock proceeded to fly swat the rest of the short pitched bowling back over the bowlers head for three boundaries of as many balls, much to the delight of the Bushy Park faithful. 

With tempers flaring, Richmond wrestled back the initiative with a few quick wickets, leaving Teddington staring down the barrel at 110-8. However, with two old heads at the crease, all was not lost. Bennett-Baggs (34*) and Swan (11*) took the sting out of the occasion and began chipping away at the target with some measured batting. With victory getting closer, Swan was getting more expansive. Captain Baggs therefore decided it was best to do the work himself and began declining singles. Then, with just two needed Swan found himself  back on strike and calmly edged the winning runs straight through 1st slip, sparking wild celebrations and cries of 'well bowled big lad' on the boundary. 

While the Dinks continue their title charge next week at Acton, this might not be the last Bushy Park sees of Andre Nel this month. He admitted after the game "I'll probably play 1s next week" which so happens to be away at Bushy Park again.

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Teddington CC - 2nd XI Vs North Middlesex CC - 2nd XI, Saturday 21st May 2016

Things didn’t start well when a groggy stand-in captain crawled out of bed in North London with 'jet lag' 1 hour before the meet time. He duly pulled himself together and won the toss, choosing to bowl on a day when rain was likely to intervene. 

1st team veteran Hannah was given choice of ends and he decided that taking on a Force 7 from the bottom end would be a good idea because he 'always bowled from that end’. It didn’t take Elliot long to regret his decision but he bowled well in some of the worst wind seen at Bushy Park. The run rate was low and North Midd were struggling at 43-4. 

In came their skipper, Mills, who I can only assume has played at Teddington before. He knew exactly where to go and got stuck into anyone bowling up wind - the 3rd team fielders needed hard hats! JLG and Niall took the brunt of the onslaught and it was the spinners, Euan Munday and Johnnie Smith, who steadied the ship after a tense few middle overs when it felt like the game was about to be dragged away from us. We eventually bowled them out for 218 in 42 overs – Munday and Swan both taking 3 wickets. 

The batsmen were full of confidence in the new Teddington motorway and the North Midd bowlers struggled early on. They used 4 bowlers in the first 4 overs and conceded 44 runs in the process, Smallwood and Gardiner tucking into everything with apparent ease. Jasper was caught behind once the bowlers started to find their areas, and we found ourselves at 90-3 after Rob had made a run-a-ball 45. However, the rain came down and the umpires brought us off, which changed the momentum of the game. We were just on the rate but had to maintain it when we went back out, which was not easy as the wicket became more lively. Johnnie Smith and Rich Bennett put on 65 of the 5th wicket, with the former doing an excellent job at keeping to the required rate. They both fell in quick succession (Johnnie 59) leaving it to the ‘finishers’, JLG and TK (Tom Kennedy), to score the last 50 to see us over the line. They moved the ball around well and ran the fielders ragged with 2s all over the ground. We ended up winning comfortably by 5 wickets with 5 overs to spare.

A very confident chase in tricky conditions to maintain our unbeaten run and position at the top of the table. 

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Teddington 2nd XI vs Ealing 2nd XI, 14th May 2016

Second game of the season and another strong 11 for TCC 2’s. The captain was faced with two concerns Saturday morning when he woke up - 1st the batting order, and 2nd Matt Austin's text at 2am saying - "We’re on the Gin Tram". Later it was revealed his autocorrect had overruled his intended message which was - "we’ve a gun team”

TCC won the toss and chose to field. It was quite clear from the off set that their wasn’t a lot in the wicket for seamers; however, Matt Swan and Niall Burke did a great job to keep the Ealing XI at bay and relatively boundary free. TCC’s side was packed with spinners, supported by the odd over of Ben Williams’s medium short. 

Euan Munday, Tom Kennedy, Jonny Smith, Richie Bennett all bowled well, picking up wickets along the way. TCC dismissed Ealing for 176 all out. 

Further from Matt Austin’s text and explanation, it was clear he was battling a hangover. He made the request that he didn’t open, which was ignored by all. Wickets fell quickly from one end, with a couple of lads not picking Murtaza Khalid quicker ball. As collapses go, it was a fairly big one. However, the scoreboard kept ticking, 66-3 to 119-8. All through this Ben Williams stood firm and watched it all at the other end, playing a very very calculated innings, controlling the speed of the run chase with ease. Ben finished 100* and led TCC 2XI to victory against its rivals in the last over. A fantastic win!

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Teddington 2nd XI vs Finchley 2nd XI, 7th May 2016

In the first game of the 2016 season TCC 2nd XI played Finchley CC at home in Bushy Park. Some new faces and some old had been selected and the side were in good spirits following a surprisingly good warm up performance. With Finchley's top 6 stuck in traffic, TCC's skipper negotiated a bowl and a prompt start. 

Fantastic opening spells from Pollock (9 overs, 4 for 16) and Swann (9 overs, 2 for 15) got TCC of to a flyer and let Teddington control the speed of the game from the start. The 2s' seam attack was too much for Finchley, who were bowled out after just 35 overs for 76. Needless to say, tea wasn't ready. 

Chris Bennett-Baggs and Rob Gardiner opened up the batting and looked to impose themselves on the Finchley attack immediately. Boundaries flowed and the total to chase was reduced to just 50 going in to tea, with all wickets still in hand - an early finish was looking likely. After tea, the two openers continued to swing the bat and knocked off the Finchely total in under 20 overs, winning by 10 wickets. 

Tendington CC's season has started well.

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