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.