Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Crouch End CC - 3rd XI - Saturday 2nd September 2017

This was the last league game of the season and as far as we were concerned, it was pretty much a 'dead rubber' as we were already guaranteed to be safe from relegation, due to the previous week's win over Indian Gymkhana. Crouch End, however, needed to win the game to give themselves a chance of grabbing the third promotion spot, so it was still a competitive fixture.

Crouch End won the toss and stuck us in, to my surprise. Having had a discussion in the bar the previous week with Phil Eastland and Fergus King, I had apparently tacitly agreed to them opening the batting this week, so I decided to let them try to turn back the years to see if they could replicate a 200 odd partnership from years gone by. They didn't put on quite that many, but did get the team off to a very solid, if unspectacular start, averaging 4 an over and managing to put on 86 before Phil ("Headless") smacked one to extra cover. Phil had hit 46 from 60 balls, including 6 fours and 1 six. Fergus was a little more cautious, having taken 18 balls to get off the mark, but bizarrely got out for exactly the same score in exactly the same fashion to the same fielder and bowler. His 46 came from 81 balls, with 3 fours and 1 six. Fergus' innings, in particular, had been a lesson for the kids in how to open the batting (according to Faz, at least). A number of other players got into the teens and we managed to set a target of 183, which seemed the bare minimum on our bottom pitch on a day like that.

Crouch End got off to a bit of a flyer in response, so much so that I felt I could only afford to give Luke, Archie and Suneth four overs each, which was a shame, considering their recent exceptional performances for the club. Faz, who had been moaning earlier about not been giving a chance to bowl this season by me, bowled 4 very tight overs for 10 runs, but didn't produce any wickets, so I again had to change things. Has and Jag both got us a wicket and when I finally turned to Fergus, he got us a wicket first ball and ended up with a wicket maiden. He'd been telling only to use him, if we were desperate. Sometimes I shouldn't listen to players. Crouch End ended up reaching their target after only 31.1 overs of a 45 over game and got the 10 points they needed to gain promotion to Division 1, so congratulations to them.

I wasn't that disappointed, though. We played relatively well and it was a good-natured game with a nice opposition and was a nice way to finish the league season.

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Indian Gymkhana CC - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday 26th August 2017

This was a crucial end of season fixture for Teddington 4s. Win and we were mathematically safe as Indian Gym had to play Alexandra Park the following week, so if we beat them then it would be down to fight between those two teams to see who went down to Divison 3 and we'd have a comfortable cushion between us and the two relegation spots.

It was a warm day. A little muggy, you might say. The grass in the outfield resembled lots of Donald Trump combovers. They'd obviously cut it some weeks before and just left it, so it was looking like a slow outfield and the pitch looked like a horror show. Probably not a good batting strip then.

I won the toss and despite some misgivings because of the warmth, decided to put them in and chase (as we'd beaten them doing the same thing earlier this season). We started with 9, as Abbasi and TK were characteristically late, so Aziz and Saunders opened the bowling for us. The shortage of fielders didn't affect us too much, though, as we took one early wicket, but would have taken another if I could have had a first slip in place. 

I managed to hold onto three catches and we also had a couple of umpiring decisions go in our favour, including giving one of their batsmen out caught by yours truly down the legside. I had been pleased with this, as this would have been my first legside take for the club, had Phil not ruined the moment later in the clubhouse by informing me that he'd been standing at Mid On and the ball had clearly clipped the chap's thigh pad. The batsman had obviously realised the same, as he had one hell of a hissy fit whilst storming off the pitch.

Luke Saunders had his best spell for the club that I've witnessed, continually swinging the ball in and moving it off the seam. He returned impressive figures of 8-2-25-6 and at one point was on a hat trick in his final over. He didn't quite get the hat trick, but did finish Indian Gym off with a triple wicket maiden. (TK, when he wasn't disappearing, also bowled well to return 6-1-22-2). Only one or two of their batsmen had shown any real resistance to our attack as we knocked them over in only 27 overs.

When we walked off the field to wait for someone to bring tea along in the boot of a car, the target read 116 for us to chase down. However, whilst everyone else was tucking into their share of Indian Gym's "Curry a la Boot", I checked their scorebook and noticed that the kids they had scoring clearly didn't know what they were doing as they actually had got 123 runs, so I informed their captain and we modified our target to 124. Got to play the game in the right spirit, eh? Whilst checking the scorebook, I also noticed that when we'd shouted TK's name to the scorers as "Tauseef", they'd somehow interpreted this as "Mouse Id"! as that is what was written in their scorebook. So I informed the team during tea that "Mouse" was now to be TK's new nickname.

The slightly inflated score didn't prove to be an obstacle, though, to our opening pair of Dilan Camball and Phil "Headless" Eastland as they both set out about their jobs in a workmanlike fashion, blocking and bashing appropriately. We were cruising along at around 5 an over before Dilan (42) was held at Long On to a good low diving catch. By that time, though, we were 112-1 and only needed a few more for the win and guaranteed safety. Hasan Aziz joined Phil in the middle and Phil suitably finished the game with a six over long on.

So job done and next week's game at home to Crouch End is now effectively a dead rubber for us. Still, relief all round!

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Author: Matt O'Toole

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Perivale Phoenicians CC - 3rd XI - Saturday 19th August 2017

Teddington won a crucial game against Perivale to help stave off the threat of relegation.

Having won the toss, I decided to insert the opposition. Tauseef Khan and Hamza Abbasi opened the bowling for us and kept things relatively tight. It was the crucial intervention of spin, though, that helped turned things really in our favour. Harry Polhill bowled an excellent 10 over spell of his zippy left arm orthodox and returned figures that were as tight as a Scotsman in a pub - 10-1-24-3. Jag Sanghera's loopy spin also got us a crucial wicket and helped to keep their total to a very chaseable 164. He got three wickets in exactly the same way - bowled Jag, caught TK at deep square leg. It is also worth mentioning that young Dan Carter again performed admirably behind the stumps, diving around and showing quick hands and also taking a regulation catch from TK's bowling.

Whilst I tried to get some food down me, I sent Tom Elway and Hasan Aziz in to get us off to a solid start, which they did as we only lost Tom (20) when we had 62 runs on the board. Hasan followed shortly after and then it was the 'Faz show' as Faz Ahmed hit another quick 50 (56 - 9 x 4s and 2 x 6s, off 57 balls, so almost at a run a ball!). This helped propel us towards the target and Hamza Abbasi hit a quick 22, before he showed he couldn't run 22 yards very quickly. TK and Faz then decided to pointlessly block the next 4-5 overs (because Taus wanted to "face a couple of overs"), which almost gave Perivale a point they didn't deserve, before 5 wides finished the game and gave us a crucial win and 10 vital points.

Author: Matt O'Toole

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SKLP CC - 3rd XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday 12th August 2017

Ideally, we needed to win this game, but we were facing a well-organised SKLP team, who all had matching kit and kitbags. 

James Croft put some effort into this first outing for the 4s in a couple of years as he continually swung the ball back in and got some seam movement, all the no avail, though, wicket-wise, but he did only concede a miserly 2 runs an over from his 10 over spell. At the other end, Pububidika deceived one of the SKLP with a length ball that did just enough to miss an outside edge and click the top of off stump for her first senior wicket for the club. Her young brother, Suneth, also bowled and got us two wickets from just three overs. TK also bowled well, once him and Hamza had turned up, that is and he returned excellent figures of 10-4-22-3. Aziz also bowled a tight spell and picked up 3 wickets. 163 was the total from 45 overs, which on the face of it, if we could bat well, looked very very chaseable, even on a tricky pitch.

However, on this occasion, our top 6 failed to show they could establish and manage a run chase like this, as none of them got into double figures and we found ourselves on 53-6. The two late boys, Hamza (24) and Taus (34) blasted us back into possible contention, but when they were both out, it left us too much to do and we were skittled for just 114, our lowest total of the season. 

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Teddington CC - 4th XI vs Twickenham - Saturday 5th August 2017

This was a timed game and I won the toss and decided to stick us in on a nice day. Everyone in our side got into double figures, apart from me, as I was quickly cleaned up by an inswinging yorker on my toes. Ben Mallinson (21) batted well and Dilan (35) made a typically steady contribution in the middle order, along with a somewhat quicker 38 from Faz Ahmed and 40 from Tauseef Khan. In the end, we'd posted 239 from 50 overs, which seemed defendable at the time.

They got off to a modest start and for a while it looked like they weren't going to get anywhere near the total. However, their number 3 (Oli George) wasn't easy to dislodge and ended up getting an aggressive 70 which put them insight of nicking a winning draw and 4 points. At this point, towards the end of the game, things did get a little bad tempered with some players showing their frustration at the fact that we were about to lose 3 points from a decent position. In the end, they just got there (or said they did, according to what they put on the scoreboard) with one over to spare. Pick of our bowlers were probably TK (12-1-41-3) and Harry Polhill (11-1-42-2).

Some controversy over their scorebook ensued, though, when I realised their bowling figures only added up to 198. I don't know why some teams find it so hard to score properly; it isn't that hard to add these numbers up! (As it was turn out, though, this was thankfully not going to affect the overall league results, as both teams were to stay in Division 2, so we can put it aside. Probably worthwhile trying to find someone who can score and doesn't mind spend their Saturdays sitting in a field for £10-20 or so. Wishful thinking?)

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Middlesex Tamil Sports & Social Club - 4th XI - Saturday 15th July 2017

Teddington 4s lost a good-natured and entertaining game against top of the table side Middlesex Tamils.

Having lost the toss, Teddington were asked to bat on a warmish day with drizzle threatening. Continuing my long-term policy of showing faith in our talented young group of colts, I asked Oliver Khan and Bobby Woodcock to open the batting and they got us off to a flyer, both employing good use of a straight bat and showing the rest of us how you can comfortably run 3s on the second team ground when the ball is almost at the rope. They'd put on 60 for no loss after about 11 overs, before the Tamils changed their attack to an all-spin option and Bobby popped one in the air. Oliver was then unlucky to get caught trapped in front to a half-tracker that hit him on the shin (I'd blame the light rain, rather than his technique for that one) and we were 77-2. Still, not that bad. However, we then entered a period where we couldn't seem to get the ball off the square to the Tamils' spinners, as we only added 5 runs during a seven over spell. This was a crucial turning point in the game and credit has to go to the Tamils for making use of two spinners intelligently when the ball was hardly turning. After Hasan Aziz (19) departed, Dave Pearce decided to charge for a quick single towards an immobile Faz, only to see Faz hopelessly jog down to the bowler's end for an inevitable run out. Dave was then beaten for pace and we were 117-5. However, we bat deep in this team (all the way to 11) and had Jag Sanghera (30) at 6 and Tauseef Khan (60) at 7 and those two formed a useful partnership to shoot us back up to 202 before Jag was out. TK followed soon after and Shaz also quickly followed. By that time, we'd nearly used up our 50 overs and whilst Hamza Abbasi and I added what we could, setting the Tamils a target of 215 to win off 42 was going to be a modest total. I'd deliberately had us bat all 50 overs, simply because I knew the Tamils wouldn't risk not going for a win, considering their league position and we hadn't got enough after 46.

It was during our innings that we then had the '#ballgate' controversy. I'd umpired for around 35 overs at both ends and was off the pitch for a few minutes before I was called back on by their captain and one of their players. The drizzle had got the ball quite wet (they'd been complaining about it for much of our innings that it hadn't been 'doing anything' as a result) and the seam was raised, so it now resembled a small flying saucer. They wanted me to replace it. Er, ok. Not had this situation before, lads. You realise this isn't a 5 day Test match, right? The Tamils were rather bizarrely claiming that the raised seam made it dangerous to play with as it might cut their hands and one of their players provided evidence of this by showing me his completely unharmed hands! Er, yeah, ok. It's soft leather, lads. I'm sure you'll be fine. So I refused to change it, but said I'd check the league rules and asked for some second opinions. Second opinions were obtained from Reesy and Josh, both of whom thought I should tell them they were being ridiculous. Stan, however, said I should probably let them change it, it was out of shape. Well, yes, it did look like something you could use in a fake video of an alien landing in Bushy Park, so I relented and found them a ball which looked it had been knocked about for 35 overs. Then TK hit their effort with this new cherry back over the bowler's head and continued in this vein, so much so that some of their team started asking for the leather UFO back! Some people are never happy!

The other controversy was that their keeper appeared to be a little too excited whilst we were batting, so much so that he was prone to a verbal outburst if the ball appeared to be travelling towards the stumps. So I warned them (doing an umpire's course does come in handy sometimes) and told their captain that if he did it again, we'd get 5 penalty runs. 

Back to the cricket... Batting-wise, it looked like the Tamils only had a few players capable of scoring runs. The issue with sides like this, though, is you have to ensure you get those players out or keep them off the strike. Their top 4 all proved quite capable of punishing any bad balls and after about 15 overs, they were already at the halfway mark towards their target. It was not looking good for us, but I followed the Tamils' lead and introduced an all-spin attack in Jag and Bobby. We had to try something as their batsmen were looking quite comfortable against our pace attack of Khan x 2 + Saunders. 

This had some effect as we managed to finally get rid of a few of their decent batsmen. (Their number 3 made a very credible 85 and two others chipped in with 42 a piece). Jag produced a Shane-Warne-esque ball to get rid of the Tamils left hander (it turned a mile out of some rough!) Hasan Aziz bowled a tight spell and Bobby started picking up some wickets. We suddenly had them 7 down and then in came their excited little keeper from before, who proceeded to tell all our fielders to keep quiet and that it was our final warning! Funny guy. At the other end to his was the MTSCC batsman we just couldn't dislodge and they finally got to their total, 7 down, after using up 36.2 of their 42 overs. 

Pick of our bowlers was Bobby Woodcock who returned very respectable figures of 9.2-1-44-4. So we lost a tight, eventful and on the whole good-natured game, but I think if we'd managed to get another 20-30 runs out of that middle 7 over spell I mentioned earlier, it might have been a different outcome.

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Highgate CC, Middx - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday 8th July 2017

This Saturday saw a remarkable game played against (then top of the table) Highgate. Our home fixture against the same opposition had seen Highgate chase down a decent TCC total, so we knew we'd be up against it.

The game took place at Old Camdenians Sports and Social Club, a nice little venue, tucked away so much from the hustle and bustle of London that you might think you were playing cricket deep in the green belt. There are two cricket grounds at this venue and we were sent to the one farthest from the clubhouse where they'd managed to squeeze a ground in with tiny boundaries and what looked like a stone-baked square. I lost the toss and we were inserted. OK! We'll take that. I was quite happy with that as, by the looks of the pitch, coupled with the heat and the short boundaries, I fully expected us to be able put on a score of 200, it not, 250-300 on this postage stamp of a ground, provided batsmen could get themselves in for the best part of 50 overs. All the Highgate captain (Mike Clarke) said rather mysteriously when I told him he would've batted anyway, was "It's Ok, we like the heat!".

Despite still not being fully fit, I decided to open the batting with the young talented colt, Will Greenall. If we thought it was going to be easy, our minds were quickly changed by the sight of John Newton opening the bowling for Highgate. This chap has excellent career figures: he has taken over 530 wickets from almost 3000 overs bowled, including twenty-seven 5 wicket hauls. If there's anything I don't like facing, it's these kinds of bowlers - ones that just trundle up and bowl wicket to wicket with a little seam and swing movement and you're stuck in your crease, as the keeper has stood up to the wicket. Difficult. Awks, as the kids might say nowadays. He's the sort of bowler I'd imagine James Keightley will turn into when the rest of his hair turns grey and he drops down into the 4s in his 60s. Nevertheless, we both blocked and prodded and were fairly watchful until I played a half-baked shot outside off, after hitting John for two 4s and gave Highgate's first slip (a 1st teamer with a bad back) the first of his 5 slip catches. Dammit. Stupid. Will hang around for a bit, but he was soon following me back into the shade at the edge of the boundary. Then the wheels truly started to come off our innings. Camball, Mufti, Harmer, Sanghera, Butt were all out for either ducks or cheaply and we found ourselves 54-7. Tauseef Khan came in and bludgeoned his first few balls to the boundary, which prompted the Highgate captain to stick himself at Long On. Sure enough, TK hit the next ball straight down his throat. 68-8. Harry came and went and we were 76-9. Then a remarkable thing happened. Young Tom Elway (24) and Ned Langlands-Pearse (65*) managed to stick around and add another 80! in a brilliant last wicket stand, thus giving us something to defend (156ao).

Whilst I tried to make sense of the scorebook over tea, I then Ned asked to repeat his heroics, this time with a new cherry, with TK taking the second over. It didn't start well. Highgate were quickly over 30 without loss and not looking in trouble. It was looking like it might be over very, very shortly. However, after Taus moaned that he was having trouble bowling from his end and after watching Ned swing a few too many down leg, I thankfully decided to trust my instinct and got them to swap ends. Immediate dividends! Ned took 2, TK kept on beating the outside edge and things didn't look that bad. I then followed up with the second bit of my plan (yes, I had one!) to start using some of the very capable spinners we had in the side. First up, Elliot Harmer, came on and bowled very tight off-spin and quickly picked up a couple. OK, 92-4. We had a chance. Over to Jag at the other, bowling his loopy leggies. I'd watch him warming up before the Highgate innings and had noticed he was turning it a good foot, so was hopeful he could repeat this during the actual game. He didn't let us down. First up, he got rid of their stand in 1st teamer (96-5) and then their all rounded Rajib (who had almost single-handedly won the reverse fixture for them at our place). 104-6. Hmm. Game on. Pendulum swinging. Tom Elway thinks he's taken a good catch at slip, but the umpires won't give it out. They're not sure it was clean. Controversary, but I kept a lid on things and we carried on.

Drinks. Highgate had an older chap trying to anchor the innings and just get them to the target bit by bit, but a foolish decision to go for a quick second to keep their youngster off the strike saw him returning to the boundary rope after being run out by Jag (with me catching and demolishing the stumps). 116-7. Jag kept on taking turning the ball and varying his deliveries beautifully and now Highgate looked in real trouble. Their captain tried to rescue the innings but after putting one over Shaz's head, tried the same thing after I'd moved Shaz back a bit and he was gone too. 124-8. Getting there. Excitement was building amongst the TCC 4s. Then we really started to crowd them. A couple of lucky boundaires but another wicket - 134-9. One more. Just one. Highgate were left with Newton (their primary bowler and in his 50s or 60s, if he's a day) and their youngest player at the other end,  nervously blocking most balls. Jag bowls. An edge. Harry Polhill lets it slip through his hands. Damn. Oh well. Keep going. A few balls later. Same trick and this time, thankfully, Harry took an easy catch. Cue the celebrations!

A remarkable turnaround for Teddington and this was probably one of the most enjoyable games I've been involved in here. The spirit of the game was excellent throughout, especially when Tom and Ned started performing their heroics and Jag started turning the ball almost horizontally. Lovely weather too! :)

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Indian Gymkhana CC - 4th XI - Saturday 24th June 2017

After the disappointment of conceding last week’s match due to a lack of players, TCC's 4th XI returned to winning ways on the pitch and more importantly showed great sportsmanship summed up by Shazum retiring his innings to let our U13 debutant Dan Carter to come in and have a bat.

Matt won the toss and elected to field. We started with 11 men (well Tauseef was only 3 minutes late) and the banter started immediately. As Olly marked his runup Tauseef noticed we had a new keeper in Dan Carter and exclaimed: “we finally have a keeper!”

Indian Gym openers lead a bit of a charmed life and runs were gathered mainly through edges from Olly and Archie’s opening few overs. However both bowlers kept the pressure up and Olly finally got a breakthrough inducing an edge to give Dan Carter his first catch in senior cricket. This was quickly followed by another wicket clean bowled as the batsman was somewhat fooled by a slower ball as Olly’s energy ran out in his delivery stride! From there on in – we had the Tauseef show (14.1 overs, 5 for 37) - he kept a beautiful line and length and even had a runout to add to the mix. His first wicket was another catch by Dan Carter who kept beautifully and is now all the bowlers' best friend. Indian Gym did provide resistance and didn’t give their wickets easily with one of their batsmen top scoring with 55. The gentleman in question also seemed to have a sportsmanship and personality bypass more to the embarrassment of his team mates and had several conversations with Tauseef before falling victim to another catch behind this time from Matt who had taken over the gloves. The other bowlers struggled a bit for consistency from the other end before Harry came on to wrap up the innings for the opposition to finish 164 all out after 41 overs.

Chasing 165 doesn’t sound overly challenging; however, TCC’s batting hasn’t been a core strength and Indian Gym certainly weren’t going to go down quietly. The father/son Khan partnership were sent out and faced a left armer bowler with a worse temper than Olly and Mr Popular at the other end. Tea was taken after 3 overs in which Olly had edged behind from a no-ball and the elder Khan was still on zero. Upon resumption, both batsmen got their heads down to see off the opening bowlers who bowled good lines. However, after the eldest Khan hit a boundary to the far side which turned out not to be a boundary and was gleefully runout by Mr Popular whilst both batsmen were having a mid-wicket chat TCC lost another wicket with Faz being clean bowled. Olly, however, kept his head and Dilan really dug in to consolidate and then attack. Dilan hit a few mighty blows before getting out LBW for a really good 22 made in a tricky situation and Jag took over with positive intent. Olly reached another 50 with a highlight being 4 boundaries in one over all from classic cricket shots before playing on to be warmly applauded by both sides (bar one individual). Jag put on a quick 28 with some classic drives and Shazum hitting some big blows until Jag ignored the key instruction of “no singles” and was duly run out. Archie came in and with Indian Gym really keeping it tight, Shazam sportingly retired (28) to let Dan Carter enter the fray. Archie hit a lovely boundary off his legs and Dan then hit a wonder cover drive for 4 to give TCC the win.

Author: Jamie Khan

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs SKLP CC - 3rd XI - Saturday 10th June 2017

Another lovely day at Bushy Park saw TCC inserted to bat first and Matt decided last week’s centurion Olly “should probably continue opening” and the pair of them walked out together. Alas time spent together was short as SKLP’s tall opening left arm bowler clean bowled Matt early doors and Dilan for a duck to see TCC looking shaky. Faz and Olly batted sensible but never really got going against a disciplined attack. After a few nice shots Faz departed for 31 to be replaced by Nick who batted very sensibly. Olly also departed for 22, Nigel came and went and despite Tauseef hitting a couple of lusty blows, we rather tamely limped to 137 all out, with Nick McLellan topscoring with 32.

However, with Tauseef and Olly opening the bowling you never know. Well, SKLP’s opener had other ideas and went after the total somewhat rapidly with Taus taking a lot of stick as the bowl disappeared to all parts and Olly in tandem struggling from the far end on a very blustery day. The scoreboard reached 34 in very short time before Taus clean-bowled the main opener for some respite. SKLP’s number 3 batsmen was dreadfully unlucky, when he played a firm shot only to have the middle-aged Khan stop it and he was then runout by a fielder impersonating a beached whale with Matt catching the ball and whipping the bails off. It obviously wasn’t his day.

At this point we took tea and came back with Dilan getting a wicket straight away and despite the score being 68-3 we were giving it a good go. Alas we had a catch dropped behind straight away and had also dropped the other opener who played what would be described by Wisden as “dogged innings” and to fair to SKLP the two batsmen refused to take many chances and slowly made their way to the total. We finally got one of the wicket well held by Hamza from Nick’s bowling and despite a bit of banter at the end with the middle Khan having his first bowl in over 15 years the remaining batsmen was happy to get to the total in singles and he finished on 71 not out.

A good game all around, we needed more runs to put on a competitive total and despite this, if we had taken some of the chances, it would have been interesting.

Last point for historians – this was the official date that Tauseef and Matt declared “banter war”
between each other - the phoney war over previous seasons is now over.

Author: Jamie Khan

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Twickenham CC - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday 3rd June 2017

A short journey  to Broom Road to face Twickenham with memories of last year’s low scoring fixture mainly down to a slow, low wicket coupled with a large outfield with a generous layer of grass had expectations set for a low scoring affair.  Captain Dave, standing in for Matt, had done his homework and worked out based on previous results anything above 110 would be sufficient.  Several hours later and 412 runs accumulated by both sides saw a good victory to Teddington based on the foundation of Olly Khan’s maiden century and a real team effort in the field.

Dave won the toss and we opted to bat first (it was very very hot!) and both Khan’s walked out to the crease.  We got off to a fairly racy start as the wicket indeed kept low and scoring shots outside off weren’t easy to come by.  Twickenham’s opening bowler kept a very steady line and length and when their opening bowler was injured the first change bowled with decent pace and also a good line and length, with the elder Khan being adjudged LBW  Dilan came to the crease and Olly/Dilan ensured they saw off the bowlers till the drinks break.   Deciding it was time to press the accelerator Dilan after doing all the hard work nicked one to slip and Dave marched out with and immediately stared to hit out, getting the runrate up before being bowled for 31, Elliot took over in the same vein but fell to a good catch before Tauseef hit a massive 6 before also departing.  New batsmen found it difficult to get going on the wicket, Twickenham’s captain was “keen” at constantly adjusting the field and everything was slow going.  Bobby Woodcock entered at 9 and with Olly they ran singles very well whilst Olly started to hit out, alas we started with 11 people but were down to 10 so at the fall of Bobby’s wicket Jag entered the fray with a few overs left and Olly on mid-80’s.  Jag got his head down and ran hard between the wickets and in the last over Olly hit a boundary before forcing a mistake in the field to come back for 2 runs to reach his maiden century.  We finished on 238 off 45 overs and in good spirits confident of a victory knowing it was a good score on that wicket.

Twickenham had different ideas and were clearly not going to give up their wickets easily.  They had a good start, but like us, struggled to get runs away on the offside.  Dilan produced a beauty to entice an edge to get our first wicket and Taus bowled a number of absolute beauties alas for no reward.  Twickenham were unable to get the run rate required despite building a decent partnership and Hamza at first change broke the partnership and after Twickenham’s batsmen asked the Teddington keeper for batting advice was clean bowled by Hamza next ball our spirits were further lifted.  Fielding was very good and Elliot in particular throwing himself around in the field.  Dave ringed the changes and with several spinners in our side Bobby and Harry came on to bowl.  By this stage we had several very good shouts with LBW’s turned down and with Harry’s first ball resulting in the plumbest of LBW’s turned down it seemed hitting the stumps and taking catches as the way forward. We continued to take wickets at regular intervals until Twickenham’s first change bowler walked into bat and hit a great 61 not out.  We decided to attack the other batsmen with Bobby getting two wickets, Jag also got an early wicket in his spell however were held up by partnership which threatened to make life a bit tricky – not helped at this stage by the batsmen refusing to walk after a massive nick of Jag despite being reminded of the bowler’s age and the level of cricket we were playing.  Eventually Harry got Jag’s wicket and a runout ended Twickenham’s innings on 174 to give us a well deserved win and credit to Twickenham for their bowling/fielding and batting performance.  Olly’s innings made the difference for us and the spinners bowled well supported excellently in the field with only 10 fielders.

Author: Jamie Khan

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Alexandra Park CC - 3rd XI - Saturday 27th May 2017

Teddington hosted Alexandra Park and saw out an easy victory in a low-scoring game.

Team selection for Teddington 4s was thankfully helped by the surprise re-appearance of old Teddington regulars, Kahleem Ahmed and his muscle-bound son, Bahroz. 

Alexandra Park won the toss and surprisingly and much to Matt's relief, decided to put themselves in. The AP captain was late, so the stand-in captain decided to bat because only 5 players had turned up for their side and he hardly knew any of them! OK. We'll take that!

Our bowlers all performed admirably. Oli Khan and Archie Talman were stingy with runs and Bahroz bowled with some venom. Even Kahleem only allowed the opposition 18 runs off his 5 overs of loopy spin. Pick of our bowlers, though, was Jag Sanghera who returned excellent figures of 6-1-12-4! Well bowled, Jag! Alexandra Park only got to 103 before they were all gone, with three of their batsmen getting ducks. On the second ground at home, that's a pretty indefensible score.

Matt O'Toole decided to let father and son have a bat together and Jamie Khan (who used to play a very good standard of cricket and was apparently once approached by Lancashire!) and his young protege got TCC off to a good start before he flipped one to square leg. It was left mainly to young Oliver Khan to see us home, almost single-handed and picking up his first 50 of the season.

Another 10 points then! So P4 W2 L2. An OK start to the season.

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Richmond CC, Middx - 5th XI - Saturday 20th May 2017

Teddington picked up probably their easiest win of the season against bottom of the table Richmond.

Some games aren't that hard, especially when the opposition win the toss and rather bizarrely decide to bat on a cloudy and blustery day. The excuse given by the stand-in captain was that there were only a few of them at the ground when we were tossing up and he didn't know most of the team! OK!

Matt threw the ball to Ned Langlands-Pearse and Ned duly obliged by bowling a brilliant spell of medium-fast pace which had the Richmond batsmen in all sorts of trouble from the off, but to be fair to them, having a pace bowler who can get a length ball to bounce around head height is always difficult to deal with. Ned finished with excellent figures of 10-1-25-6 and even chipped in with a couple of catches. Man of the Match contender, clearly!

Ned was ably supported by "TK" (Tauseef Khan) who also returned enviable figures of 4.1-2-4-3 and as the opposition had only turned up with ten men, they'd only posted a modest total of 84 for us to chase down.

Matt, not feeling fully fit this season due to an ongoing medical condition, decided to hand the responsibility of chasing the runs down to Dilan Camball and Hasan Aziz. Because we'd bowled the opposition out so quickly (in only 28.1 overs), Danny Caitlin hadn't had time to get our tea ready, so Dilan and Hasan comfortably got us to 28 without loss, before most of us sat down for cakes and sarnies. Resuming in a comfortable position, there was no real drama as they saw us home for the loss of zero wickets. It's always nice to get a 10 wicket win, even if the opposition was, by their own admission, very weak.

Author: Matt O'Toole

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Middlesex Tamil Sports & Social Club - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday 13th May 2017

After a joyous journey to Sudbury the depleted troops of Teddington won the toss and Hasan, standing in for Matt, bravely made the call to bowl first as he felt the wicket offered assistance for the bowlers – this was definitely true.

Crouching down to keep wicket to the first bowl from Ned with a total of 7 fielders was the brave part of the decision. Luckily within an over or two we were back to 9 fielders. Ned bowled a few absolute beauties and an early edge to a sadly non-existent first slip gave indication of a helpful wicket. Olly at the other end found early swing and made an early breakthrough in which he described afterwards as a viciously lifting delivery from just short of a good length. Most other people thought it was a complete half-tracker at minimum pace which the batsmen somehow managed to glove through to the keeper – however, "caught Jamie Khan, bowled Oliver Khan" had a nice ring to it. Olly then bowled another half-tracker which failed to bounce and clean bowled the other opener to see, by now 10 men Teddington, in high spirits. After a few close shouts Olly gained an LBW to see the oppo 3 down and Ned desperately unluckily not to get a wicket at the other end.

On a hot day both opening bowlers took a well-deserved break and Dilan produced an absolute beauty which reared of a length and caught behind to see the next batsmen walk out with a brand new bat. With a few friendly remarks about ensuring his bat remained unused we then proceeded to watch him smash 101 and take us out of the game with his team mates literally surviving at the other end – only two others made double figures with a highest score of 18. The centurion had a robust but might effective technique, good balls received a straight bat and the killer was when we dropped short and despite rather boringly getting to the stage of having everyone on the boundary - he just hit it over them. We had one sniff of a chance; however, the instruction “stay on the boundary” wasn’t adhered to. When Taus made an appearance to boost our numbers to 11 he made an immediate difference to the run rate and we bought Olly back to get some pace into proceeding to further slow progress and eventually the centurion skied one in the air and was brilliantly taken by Hamza (I think!) – Jag then came onto bowl and mopped up the reminder of the batsmen to finish with 3 for 0 from 0.5 overs including the world’s worse LBW decision to leave TCC chasing 173.

At teatime a friend of mine who lived nearby wanted to come and watch me bat to laugh at me. I told him we were batting shortly and he texted back saying “don’t get all out for 15”. How I chuckled until we were 13 for 6! Luckily we had Jag opening and he calmly watched the carnage at the other end, left anything alone outside off, defended sensibly but also looked to latch onto anything is his areas. Ned appeared at 8 with 3 batsmen on ducks and the next highest score of 2 to settle in and get himself in. Both batsmen played really well and Ned’s 27 hit a number of classy boundaries until he was bowled, we then had another flurry of ducks before Olly calmed walked out and we watched as our two U15’s Olly and Jag put on 50 without looking remotely in trouble. Jag in particular played the shot of the day hitting their left arm spinner (6 for 10) over extra cover until he fell to leave Olly 21 not out.

The youngsters (and Ned!) showed the way for the rest of the batsmen with lessons to be learnt for next time around however we fought well in the field with Olly (3 for 24) giving us a good start. The difference was their centurion and we look forward to our rematch against a good competitive opposition who enjoyed a laugh on/off the pitch. It’s also handy starting a match with 11 players.

Author: Jamie Khan

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Highgate CC - 4th XI, Saturday, 6th May, 2017

Our opening fixture of the season against Highgate was one of both positives and negatives, the positives being that batting first on a green strip, we still managed to collectively put on a 200+ score, the negative ones being that we managed to let ourselves down with some poor fielding displays, which, in the end, allowed the opposition to chase their target quite comfortably.

Having turned up late, our captain (Matt O'Toole) won the toss at 12.25pm and having been told that we only had 5 other players at the ground, decided to put us in. Dilan Camball and young Will Greenall opened for us, Dilan eventually finding the middle of his bat and grinding his way to a useful 30, whilst Will put on 18 before he was cleaned up by a ducking yorker from one of their bowlers who was bowling a very tidy spell and only conceding 2.9 runs per over. The two Hasans added some useful double figure scores. During his innings, Hasan Mufti surprised everyone by slog sweeping one of their fast bowlers over the short legside boundary (twice!) on his way to a very credible 40. Matt came in at 5 and hoicked a lot during a useful 46 and then Tauseef Khan came in swinging and top scored for us with 55 off only 26 balls. We finished on 231 all out off 44.5 overs, which looked like a very defendable score.

Their reply was very steady and they were never really outside the required run rate throughout. Quite honestly, they look like quite a good side. Their No 1 batsman put on 74 and their No. 3 added 65 and with a few of their other players chipping in, they made their way to the target after only 41.3 overs having been bowled. I have to say that we didn't bowl badly at all. Joe Breakwell and Hamsa bowled good lines and swung the ball, despite both having not bowled for quite some time. Hasan Aziz also bowled a good spell, as did the two Khans. Where fielding was concerned, no real chances went down that I can remember, but our ground fielding left a lot to be desired. Some players really need to start realising they're allowed to stop the ball with their hands (or their body) and stop trying to field with their feet, as there were several specific incidents of this which allowed Highgate to pick up a boundary when they should have had a single, or turn a 1 into a 2. We also conceded too many extras (32), which compared to what they conceded (6), gives you another reason why they reached their target with relative ease. It was a shame, because our batting efforts on that pitch had really us in good stead. So, it's not just catches that win matches - other aspects of fielding are important too.

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Osterley CC - Osterley 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, 3rd September, 2016

The 4th XI's season finished with what turned out to be half a game at Osterley. Osterley were third in the league at the start of this game and with Hampstead already confirmed as Div 2 champions and Indian Gymkhana unable to get promoted alongside them (due to there being another Indian Gym team above them), second place was still to play for between Osterley and Crouch End. The maths was such that Osterley could win their game against us and absolutely guarantee promotion or draw and get more points than Crouch End or have the same result as Crouch End and still go up. For our part, we were going to finish 5th in the league regardless of the day's result, so we were just playing for pride and enjoyment.

The Osterley captain won the toss and decided to ask us to bat. The deck was nice and hard and they'd cut the grass, so 4s captain, Matt O'Toole wasn't complaining. He opened with Dilan Camball and after a cautious couple of overs, Matt decided to let fly. We were soon ticking along so quickly that Osterley decided to introduce spin after only about 8 overs, because, in their keeper's words, the tall guy (Matt) was "crazy". We were 52-1 when Dilan (7) departed to spin and Matt had hit 7 fours and 1 six out of a total of 40 before, in trying to keep up with Tim Armstrong and Ben Williams' tallies for hitting sixes this season, he picked out one of their kids on the deep mid wicket boundary. Luke Saunders was promoted to 3 for this game, partly because no-one else had turned up when we had to get our pads on, but he proved what a capable cricketer he is by hitting 25 (4 x 4s), before he was run out in a mix up with Elliot Harmer. Elliot then managed to run himself out for 18. By this time we had accrued 129 runs at a decent rate for the loss of 4 wickets, so it wasn't looking too bad. Shaz Butt (35), Tim Harmer (who played very well to top score with 44) and Hasan Mufti (30) helped us along nicely, with Oliver Khan (14), Taus (9*) and Bobby Woodcock (8*) also contributing before Matt decided to sportingly declare on 265-7 after 47 overs, in order to give them a chance to win the game ("Headless" had persuaded him).

Teddington's innings will probably be remembered for the fact that it's the only game I've been involved in when an ambulance had to be called. This had been due to the fact that the Osterley captain had managed to concuss himself, falling over trying to catch a skier. After the ambulance and several members of the NHS had turned up, he had to be taking to Ealing hospital to be fully checked out, whilst after a chaotic break in proceedings, we eventually got back to playing cricket.

Tea brought a forecasted shower and so we sat and waited. It was still raining when we went out to field, but Matt said he would have played in a blizzard and only one member of TCC's 4s was moaning (a little). Taus then added to the days's drama as he took a wicket with the very first ball of the innings. 0-1 from 0.1! Great start, but we only managed another 17 balls before we all agreed it was getting stupidly wet. OCC were 22-1 at this point.

After about half an hour of sitting around waiting, though, it seemed pretty clear that we were done for the day as the sky was as grey as Matt's hair. We were also losing overs and their task of winning the game was slipping away very quickly. However, their stand in captain refused to shake Matt's hand and insisted on waiting until 6pm to see if they could finish the game. This was ridiculous, considering how steady the downpour was and how grey the sky was, but he probably didn't want to have to tell his captain that he'd given up any chance of winning the game and thereby guaranteeing them promotion at only 5.30pm. Oh well. Phil Eastland, by this time, had already made up his mind and got showered and changed. So had Luke, and Tim Harmer was packing the car and going home, saying he'd come back, if there was a miraculous change in the weather. Mufti also left. So seven TCC players were left when the inevitable happened and it stopped raining! Their captain started taking the covers off and promised to mop up the few puddles that were on the square. Matt agreed. One of Osterley's called him "brave". So Matt then tried to round up his four missing players and also the match ball which had inadvertently made its way into one player's kit! Not mentioning any names, though, eh, BW! ;) Headless and Luke sportingly got changed again for the third time that day and we were getting the stumps back in the ground when an angry blue blur appeared through the drizzle.

This turned out to be their groundsman who greeted us with the words, "Oi! Whaddya think you're doing? You're not playing on that in this. You'll ruin it. Get off!! Get off!!! I've got games left this season to play on this!!!" He then had a heated discussion with their stand-in captain, whilst Phil and Matt looked on in amusement. Their captain downed tools, swore and stormed off, shaking Matt's hand on the way in order to officially agree to abandon the game after all. After the rest of the Osterley players had left, their groundsman then asked us what they needed and when Phil replied, "Oh... only about 250 more runs in 18 overs", he exclaimed "No chance! Bloody ridiculous!"

As it turned out, all this drama had been unnecessary as Crouch End ended up also abandoning their game, so Osterley got promoted anyway. We needn't have played at all, but I'm glad we did. It was a farcically funny way to end a decent season for the 4s.

SEASON SUMMARY:

We finished 5th out of 10 in Division 2 this season, with a total of 85 points from 5 wins, 5 losses, 3 winning draws, 2 losing draws, 1 abandoned and 2 wins from conceded fixtures. This is a slight improvement over 2015 as we got the same number of wins, but more draws and less losses. You can see the <a href="http://cricketleague.play-cricket.com/website/websites/view_division?id=65092" target="_blank">final league table here</a>. It looks like next season will involve fixtures against Middlesex Tamils, SKLP (who?) and Highgate who have all been promoted from Div 3; we'll also have fixtures against Perivale and Twickenham, both of whom come down from Div 1.

2016 4TH XI SEASON STATS:

Our individual stats for the season can be summarised as follows:
BATTING:
1. Faz Ahmed - 342 (High: 107*; Avg: 38.00)
2. Matt O'Toole - 334 (High: 102; Avg: 27.83)
3. Shazum Butt - 327 (High: 118; Avg: 27.25)
4. Tauseef Khan - 301 (High: 69; Avg: 25.08)
5. Elliot Harmer - 200 (High: 94*; Avg: 100.00!!!)

BOWLING:
1. Taus Khan - 25 wkts (SR: 42.84; Avg: 24.72; Best: 4/0)
2. Elliot Harmer - 10 wkts (SR: 18.40; Avg: 16.60; Best: 5/18)
3= Faz Ahmed - 7 wkts (SR: 24.86; Avg: 15.86; Best: 3/17)
3= Ned Langlands-Pearse - 7 wks (SR: 22.43; Avg: 10.86; Best: 5/12)
3= Harry Polhill - 7 wks (SR: 29.29; Avg: 19.43; Best: 3/19)
6. Sheaml Camball - 6 wkts (SR: 12.00; Avg: 11.50; Best: 5/28)

FIELDING:
1. Faz Ahmed - 5 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out
2. Neil D'Mello - 3 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out
3. Shazum Butt - 3 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out

KEEPING:
1. Matt O'Toole - 6 catches & 2 stumpings
2. Freddie Kottler (colt) - 5 catches & 1 stumping

You can dig into more details on the play cricket website.

It's been a good season for the 4s and for the club overall. There were some personal bests (Matt and Shaz hitting their first tons and Elliot, Oli and Krish winning a game almost on their own, not to mention good bowling from some of the colts too (Sheaml, Oli, Adam, Elliot, Krish, Bobby, Oliver, Archie, Patrick and Luke, to name a few). The prospect for the 4s looks good. I'm already looking forward to next season!