We started the day in the unusual position of having 12 players at the ground on time but after a quick reshuffle with the 2s we finalised our 11 fifteen minutes after being put into bat by the oppo.
Our two openers (new Alex Smith and Richard Bennett) got us off to a flyer and we were cruising at 60ish for 0 off the first 10. Both departed in quick succession with R.Bennett (14) getting a good ball and Smithy ambitiously taking on short extra cover (with disastrous consequences) to run himself out for a well made quick fire 41.
Bruce Gilbert was probably the pick of the batsman on the day, and alongside Stefan Bullon settled the ship after a couple of quick wickets had threatened to ruin our good start. After Bruce departed for a classy 33, Mike King (37) joined the reassuring presence of Bullon (30) to put on a crucial 70 run partnership to take us up to a very competitive 204-6 off our 45 overs.
Our fearsome opening pair of Robin Willis (9-2-21-3 and a very good audition to keep bowling up the hill for the rest of the season) and Mike King (7-0-29-2) then proceeded to produce one of the great spells of fast bowling to be seen on the bottom square at TCC in recent years to completely rip through the Hampstead top order and effectively end the contest, with Hampstead being left 40ish for 5. Ciaran Dooley (4-0-32-2) backed them up well and took the crucial wicket of the opposition skipper to end any glimmer of hope Hampstead may have had. Nick McLellan (3-2-5-3) wrapped up the tail as Hampstead were all out for 87.
Amongst all of this we had unfortunately lost our keeper to a calf injury chasing a skyer for the 7th wicket and finished the game with 10 players. Credit to Lockers for successfully taking the catch amongst all the commotion but get well soon Snodders. Hopefully see you fit and ready to go next week for the crunch game against Richmond.
A very enjoyable team win which keeps us in touch with top of the table.
(Author: Nick McLellan)