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.