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!

Alexandra Park CC - 3rd XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 20th August 2016

Despite the fact that the captain (Matt O'Toole) had, during the week, put in the kind of military-level planning that would have been more suited to an MI6 Secret Service operation behind enemy lines in Eastern Donesk, the 4th XI's travel plans went straight out of the window Saturday morning as Taus decided to keep the captain (and Luke) waiting almost an hour beyond their agreed meeting time, with only the characteristic "Sorry, Boss" by way of apology. Sometimes you just want to slap that big, chain-smoking lump, but probably not a good idea. This meant that we were were going to arrive late, so Shakey (Neil D'Mello) was delegated to toss up and stuck us in, in what turned out to be horrendous blustery and wet conditions. Cagoules, anyone?

A long day ensued, not helped by the weather, which led to the odd delay. With a boundary that was spitting distance from the edge of their square (it was as short as Forest Gump's haircut) and bowling that was as generous as drunk in a gentlemen's club on payday, Alexandra Park's openers cashed in. Shaz Butt and Dilan Camball in particular received the kind of punishment most people would pay leather-clad inhabitants of dungeons for - orcs, I'm referring to orcs or dwarves, kids! - as they were consistently despatched for boundaries, Shaz going for four no ball sixes and ending up costing us 51 runs from just two overs. Suffice to say, this wasn't his best bowling spell and Matt made some quick bowling changes. After 20 overs they were on 168-0 (ouch! we hadn't even reached drinks!) and it took us another 29 runs before we finally saw one of them walking back to the pavilion (Shaz had thrown the ball over the stumps from the boundary to run him out!). Our bowling changes did have some effect in slowing the accumulation of runs, however; in particular, a change of ends appeared to suit young Luke Saunders who had an excellent second spell and picked up 3 wickets (10-0-58-3) and Patrick Elway again demonstrated that he could consistently put the ball in the right spot, as he returned the most economical figures of the day (6-0-21-2). Eventually, the opposition decided to take the Dignitas route and put us out of our misery, by declaring on 297-7 after just 42 overs. So, a big chase was on (with 50 overs to use up).

As this was almost certainly a dead rubber (prior to the game we did retain a mathematically slim chance of still getting promoted this year, but only if several other results went perfectly for us - quite honestly, we'd have had better chances with the Euro Millions), but it was worth going for it regardless (might as well!), so that's what Matt told his openers (Dilan and Shaz, the latter was opening for the first time for Teddington).

A steady pursuit ensued and, after Dilan (8) had skied one, Shaz and Patrick began to build an innings together, carefully selecting the right shots to hit towards a boundary that was shorted than Danny De Vito (or Snodders, if you don't know who Danny De Vito is - really?). Anyway, after 20, we were 100-3, after Patrick had been stumped and Matt (after a century in the previous game against these guys), decided to reduce his season's average by getting a second duck for the season to a ball that was going so slowly, it might as well have been going backwards. Neil came to the crease and mixed aggression with defence in good order, before he was cleaned up by one of their openers (who had been on their openers who had taken advantage of the Teddington bowling buffet we'd put on earlier to score a comfortable ton). This bowler was a chap called Zahid, who seemed to intent on winning the game single-handed, regardless of how much rain was coming down or how dark it was getting.

Garry was given out LBW by Matt and then Shaz's (surprisingly) excellent innings (118) was finally brought to a close. This had been his first ever ton, was the highest 4th XI score this season and had included 15 x 4s and 2 x 6s. He'd batted really maturely throughout the whole innings and unsurprisingly didn't want to leave the crease when he was finally given out caught and bowled. 

Taus and Hasan Mufti played a few shots to get us to 219 with 6 overs left and another 79 required. However, by this time, the rain was coming down in sheets and Matt had already had to insist that the fired-up Zahid had to bowl spin or not ball at all; however, one more over, it was clear to everyone when Taus fired a ball past one of their fielders on the boundary who stood there, shrugging his shoulders and indicated that he hadn't seen a thing, it became clear to everyone that play had become too dangerous for both the batsmen and fielders, so Matt and his opposite number (Ashish) decided to call it a day and settle for a draw, with us getting 1 point and them getting 4, meaning we would be both be level on 74 points after this, both teams guaranteed mid table medocrity this season.

It had been an eventful game for both the wrong and the right reasons. Anyway, onwards and upwards (or most likely sideways-ish - just moving up or down a couple of places before the season is over!)

View the scorecard here

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Richmond CC, Middx - 5th XI, Saturday 13th August 2016

This game should be remembered for the day in which some of Teddington's young colts proved what a collective bag of talent they are. 4s captain, Matt O'Toole had packed the team with young talent (7 in all), now that we had some of them finally available and we faced Richmond at home in a must win game (if we wanted to retain a slim chance of going up).

Toss won and on a warm, but overcast day, the opposition were stuck. Runs can be relatively easy to score on the second team's ground, if you get yourself in and this was proving to be the case, as Richmond managed to pile on 267-8, before declaring for the loss of 8 wickets from 46 overs. Elliot Harmer did well in returning 9-0-50-3 with his off spin, as did Adam Spencer (on debut), returning 4-0-24-2.

Matt decided to delegate the job of chasing this down to the colts and put all seven to the top of the order (it's not child labour, honest!), relegating himself to #11 for the first (and maybe not the last) time. Seeing as Tom and Patrick Elway probably hadn't had much chance to bat together, Matt decided to let them open the batting. Unfortunately, that didn't work out as they were both out cheaply and we were 22-2 and then 51-3 after Adam had followed for 10. However, Oli George was beginning to accumulate runs with ease (you've got to see his cover drives - they are Bell-esque!) and after he'd reached a very quick and classy 61 (12 x 4s), we were 98-4. Enter the stage, Elliot Harmer and Krishan Sachdeva. They smacked a few boundaries managed to accumulate 70 more runs for us, before Krish (35 - 5 x 4s, 1 x 6) departed, leaving the bulk of the rest of the work to an increasingly comfortable looking Elliot, who was on 40 by this point. He began to really lead the way then and after 36 overs, we were sitting on 200-7 with adult batsmen still left. Not all of these were needed, tho, as Shaz Butt joined him and saw off the remaining runs with 2 overs to spare! Elliot was left stranded on 94* (14 x 4s). It had been a class knock and takes his average for the 4s this year to a mere 182!! Incredible.

A great win and it had been nice that much of the 1st team and the chairman and a few others had been around to witness it at the end. Well done, lads!

View the scorecard

 

 

Hampstead CC - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 30th July 2016

A long trip up to Winchmore Hill's cricket ground saw Teddington 4s play top of the table Hampstead. At least we had 11 players this time!

Despite it being an overcast and warm day, Tooley decided for a change to field to see if we could chase down a total (Hampstead also had one of the best bowling attacks in Div 2). After about 35 overs, it didn't look like too bad a decision as they were hovering around 3.5 an over, but we hadn't taken any wickets and a few dropped catches hadn't helped matters. Then they took off like greyhounds chasing a rabbit and the scoreboard started really ticking over. After 42 overs, they had accumulated around 260 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. Their captain, however, decided to bat on to give their young #2 a chance to hit a ton, as he was in his 90s. However, his teammate then promptly ran him out and they ended up decking for 283-2 off 46 overs, thereby denying us the chance of a winning draw and 4 points, but also causing us to face the task of chasing a big total in a game which we didn't need to win.

4s captain, Matt O'Toole went back to his opening slot this week, along with Dilan 'Boycott' Camball. Lucas Birrell-Gray opened the bowling for them. He's probably one of the quickest in Div 2, if not the quickest and Matt was respectful of good balls and watchful for the first few overs, before he hit a half volley back over the bowler's head into the side of the tennis courts, prompting the slip fielders to describe it as a tennis shot. Bit harsh. Matt was out the next over to their wicket to wicket dull as dishwater #2 bowler to a very thin edge to their keeper.

Dilan, at the other end, was determined, it seems, to give their slip fielders some fielding practice, as he managed to score most of runs with the ball going backwards. During his innings of 46, he certainly scored at least 50% behind square and could have been out about 7 times. Still, you take your luck where you can find it. He had been joined by Rob Eveson and both of them together for a good period put on a 'Geoffrey Boycott' masterclass to grind the innings almost to a halt. At drinks, we needed about 10-12 an over and that quickly became around 15, after a flurry of wickets. For a period of around 14 overs, they had needed a wicket every 12 balls. Our batting certainly helped them towards this target, though and by the last over, we were 9 down and it was left to young Oliver Khan to block it out, as Luke Saunders lent on his bat at the non-striker's end, with the clear intention of going nowhere. He was facing Birrell-Grey who had already taken 5 and was still steaming in. Oliver stood firm, though, and patiently blocked everything, getting forward and demonstrating how to play 6 perfect forward defensives (he must have been watching Dilan and Rob earlier!) - and this was despite Tooley (who was umpiring) generously signalling a wide halfway through the over, so in the end, Oliver had had 7 balls to face.

So we scraped home for 1 point. The effect of this result was really to do Osterley a favour, as they had been 2nd in the table going into this game. For us, it was a long trip back to SW London, pride intact.

View the scorecard

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Indian Gymkhana CC - 4th XI, Saturday 23rd July 2016

Teddington unfortunately lost another close game this weekend against Indian Gymkhana.

4s captain, Matt O'Toole, had (somewhat controversially) packed the 4s with seven talented colts to give us some pace and agility in the field (something the 4s aren't generally renowned for), as well as plenty of bowling and batting options.

Having turned up a few minutes late, Tooley ignored the opposition captain's request to claim the toss and threw a coin in the air and actually won (for only the second time this season). It was probably one of the warmest days we've had this year and the deck looked flat and a good one for batting, so Tooley stuck us in.

Once he'd managed to remember to ask someone to fetch a match ball (doh!), Tooley opened the batting with Joe Woodcock, who had looked in good nick in recent weeks. Unfortunately, Joe got an underedge and departed for a duck and Tooley managed only 19 before stupidly falling into a rather obvious trap the opposition had set for just 17. However, Bobby Woodcock showed a maturity beyond his years to quietly pick the right shots, move the ball around and rotate the strike with Faz who was being his usual beligerent self. Bobby ended with a very credible 36. Our run-rate wasn't the greatest, though, as the oppo had a few slow bowlers bowling a really good line and their leg spinner was turning the ball both ways. When Tooley gave Faz out LBW for a ball that Faz reckoned hit him in the chest, it came down to some of the colts to pick up the run rate. The highlight of the whole innings was a superb partnership from Ed Lord and Elliot Harmer. Ed managed to quickly accumulate a classy confident 52 and Elliot added an unbeaten 36. Both managed to demonstrate what great cricketing talents they are, often charging down the wicket to loft the ball for 6 or 4 and scampering between the wickets like cats that had just spotted an open tin of tuna 22 yards away. A quick flurry from Taus and Elliot towards the end helped us to a very reasonable looking 235, as Tooley decked in a bid to force a result.

Indian Gym got off to a flyer, it has to be said and were racing along at the required run rate for the first half of their innings. It all came down to fielding or more specifically catching, though, as chances kept on bouncing out of hands. One particular player who shall remain nameless probably had one of his worst games as he managed to spill at least 4 and take one. "Catches win matches" is a cricketing trope, but it proved very apt for this game. Still, we managed to take enough wickets to make it another close game with them, as they only managed to reach the total with 8 balls left. Elliott returned figures of 8-0-46-2 for us, so he was the pick of our attack that weekend.

Crouch End Calthorpe CC - 3rd XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 16th July 2016

Teddington 4s travelled to Crouch End's pitch in North London. We ended up turning up a little late, mainly because Faz's sat nav decided to take us on a tour of Acton on the way. For, I think, the fourth game this season, we were again short of players and turned up with only 10.

We lost the toss and we stuck in. It was a warm day, but the sight screens consisted of large green hedges and the pitch was a tricky one, so it wasn't going to be easy. 4s captain, Matt O'Toole, partly because he wasn't feeling well himself, tinkered with the batting order and we opened with Dilan Camball and Hasan Mufti. Hasan clearly didn't fancy hanging around for long in the heat, as he was promptly pinned in front for a 5 ball duck. Joe Woodcock batted sensibly and accrued runs at a rate that wasn't matched by Dilan at the other end who took 20 or more balls to get off the mark. Both finished in their 20s (Joe - 28, Dilan - a 'Geoffrey Boycott' 23), Shaz hit 3 boundaries and after 'sickly' O'Toole came and went (to a good ball that was impossible to see), we were 89-5. Not good, as Donald Trump would say. Not good at all. We needed a score much more bigly than that to have a chance. Then it became the 'Faz and Taus show'. Our innings will probably be mostly remembered for the amount of lost balls it cost and the amount of time both sides spent in the adjoining allotments, looking for missing balls. It has to be said that the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of Tauseef Khan who seemed to be determined to have the abandoned by losing all the cricket balls in North London. Faz was also despatching the ball to the boundary and finished on a credible (if under par for him) 32. When Taus' rampage was finally over, the remaining wheels came off and we were all out for 168 off 42 overs, giving them 50 overs to chase them down at just over 3 an over. In all honestly, it looked a doddle.

In the end, they only needed just over 30 of them to reach the total, helped along by some inept fielding, it has to be said. We dropped a few catches, including one that was skied so high the fielder in question had so much time, he could have popped over to the scorer to give him his name before trotting back to take the catch; but he didn't move until it was too late and another chance was lost. Pick of our bowlers was young Bobby Woodcock, who returned very credible figures of 10-1-33-2.

After this defeat, it looks like we're looking at a mid table finish for this season. Still, better than going down, I guess. :)

View the full scorecard here

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Osterley CC - Osterley 4th XI

Saturday saw a top of the table clash with Osterley. At the start of the game, they were 2nd and we were 3rd, so this was effectively a 20 pointer!

This was unfortunately yet another week where player availability proved to be an issue. We must have made at least a dozen changes from the teamsheet that was originally sent out. In any case, by Friday night all 4 teams had 11 players, but this was quickly to change as one of the 1st team had to drop out which had a knock on effect on the teams below. Luckily for the 4s, Frank Davis dusted off his whites and cried on, so we started the game with 11.

The opposition arrived at moreorless the same time as the rain, so our start was delayed by 40 minutes. Matt O'Toole lost the toss yet again and we were understandably asked to bat. Matt again opened, this time with young Joe Woodcock. We got off to a fairly solid start, despite losing Joe early. When Matt was also out for 37, trying to pull one that kept a bit low, we were 69-3. Not ideal. If we were going to post a competitive total (200+), then someone else needed to contribute a decent double figure score. Unfortunately, Glenn Armstrong, Tim's father was the only one to do so, although Frank contributed a useful 16 late on. Glenn, managed to get his Australian brain around how to play on an English wicket and flicked and thumped the ball to the boundary. He ended up top scoring with 43 as we finished on 157ao.

Matt had been complaining to anyone who would listen how the game had already cost him £60 in new keeping gloves as he'd managed to drop one, getting on the bus on the way to the ground, so sporting a brand spanking new pair of white gloves, we started with Taus bowling his away swingers from the top end. Taus toiled away to his credit and ended up taking 4 wickets, but the opposition always looked quite comfortable in trying to chase 158 with 50 overs. One of their kids, batting at Number 4 with an undersize bat, managed to accrue 51 not out during an innings in which he only really gave us two difficult chances to get him out. Their opener put on 73 before he was brilliantly caught by Joe Woodcock with a superman-style one-handed mid-flight right handed take. If we thought at the time we wouldn't see a better catch, he only proceeded to repeat the trick later on. It was just a shame no-one managed to capture those two efforts on film as they were truly special moments. He also bowled a bit of off spin later on and managed to pick up a wicket, with Faz taking the catch right in front of his er, groinal area. Matt tried rotating the bowling options, but as I say, they always looked quite happy to tick along slowly towards their total. Matt took off his pads and had a quick bowl (still wearing a box, as their umpire refused to hold it for him) towards the end, but their young kid scrambled only a quick single off it to get to his 50 (the Osterley batsman at the other end had been selflessly blocking out over after over to give the kid a chance to get to his 50, before they won the game - their umpire was also steadfastly - and rather farcically - refusing to signal wides, despite the ball being bowled almost on the next strip.)

So we ended up losing by 5 wickets as they chased down the total in 40 overs. Ideally, we could have done with another 50 runs or so on the board.

So we're 1/2 way through the season and currently sit at 4th in the table. Hampstead and Osterley are both around 30 points ahead of us, so catching them is going to take some doing. We certainly need to win both return fixtures against those two, probably win most, if not all, the other remaining games and hope they both drop some points here and there to enable us to catch up and have a chance of getting promoted. Well, we'll see. Next week we're playing Finchley who are second bottom, so we should hopefully pick up 10 points there.

View the scorecard