Thanks to SW London traffic, the 3s slowly gathered for one of the longer away trips of the season on a scorching day at Winchmore Hill to play Hampstead. After observing their ludicrously vigorous warm-up, skipper Lockwood decided the oppo could do with a long sit down and stuck them in to bat.
Given the choice of ends, Middleton strangely opted to go uphill into the wind and bowled 9 tight overs on the bounce. At the other end, Gardiner bowled with hostility, pace and sometime direction and Hampstead got off to a strong start. As so often the case it was a genuine full bunger from Hicks that caused the fall of the first wicket with the score on 88.
Replacing Middleton was Heap, who, considering the short straight boundary, bowled superbly, deserving more than his 2 caught and bowleds. A gazelle-like piece of fielding in the deep from Austin accounted for their best batter for 55, attempting taking 2 to his howitzer of an arm.
Hampstead scored steadily without ever getting away from TCC, with a particularly entertaining passage of play ensuing when Ferg bowled with the wind and none of the Hampstead batsman could generate any kind of pace on the ball. Death bowling at its finest.
After a late flurry, Hampstead closed on 221-8 off 50.
We were told that the Hampstead side had a strong bowling attack and so it proved. After losing Austin early Cassady rallied, smiting the attack to all parts before falling for 42. Gardiner and Meek batted superbly, putting on over 100 before Gardiner (50) missed a genuine long hop (almost double bouncer) trying to hit it back to Teddington, the ball went through his legs and barely reached the stumps. Thorndyke batted with typical aggression and at the other end, Meek continued to deposit the Hampstead bowlers onto the tennis court next to the ground.
After Lalor and Hicks fell cheaply, Middleton, revitalised by a pack of tabs hit the shot of the day, a huge straight mixer.
TCC were well up with the rate, and as Heap and Meek ticked off the runs, Meek taking the strike and continuing to play positively, thoughts turned to a crucial away win. 10 needed off 18 balls. With the field ludicrously spread, Meek attempted a ramp and was bowled for a well made 69.
It was down to Heap and Ferg. 8 needed off 12 balls, then 6 off the final over, 4 off 4, 3 off 3, 2 off 2 and then Barney on strike for the final ball with 2 needed to win. The desired full bunger duly arrived and was hit straight to short extra, who beat Barney in a race to demolish the stumps and seal the win for Hampstead.
A fantastic game played in great spirits. TCC probably gave Hampstead 20+ runs too many in the field, and the catching, Heap aside, remains an issue. Uxbridge visit Bushy Park next weekend.