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.
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:
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!!!)
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)
1. Faz Ahmed - 5 Catches & 1 Run Out
2. Neil D'Mello - 3 Catches & 1 Run Out
3. Shazum Butt - 3 Catches & 1 Run Out
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!