A make shift 4th XI made the shortish trip to Perivale to open the league season in glorious sunshine.
Quite honestly, I'm glad we managed to get a side out, as by Wednesday evening, we only had 5 confirmed players, but thanks to a few late call ups, we managed to turn up with 10.
At the toss, I made the mistake of following "Dangerous" Dave Pearce's advice, called "Heads" and promptly lost. We were stuck in. Perivale's opening bowlers just decided a simple strategy would be a good one - bowl on or around the stumps and it paid off as the scoreboard soon read as follows:
Suffice to say, this wasn't the start we'd wanted. The pitch, it has to be said, wasn't making it easy as only a handful of balls all innings bounced more than 3 inches off the dry pitch. It was obviously a day where front foot play and patiently being able to solidly defend your stumps was the order of the day. Perhaps we should have a training session with the bowling machine just working on the forward defensive? After all, it is, according to Geoffrey Boycott at least, the most important shot in cricket.
I managed to almost carry my bat for a fairly patient 39 runs before I tiredly and tamely gifted their captain a catch off the toe end of my bat. Tariq Nazzeri also played well on debut, calmly smacking any ball that threatened his middle stump for 27 before he finally missed one. Our team finished on about 81 for 9 from around half of our allotted overs - it wasn't possible to be absolutely sure as when I was handed our scorebook at the innings break, I saw that it had only been half filled in, in a novel kind of way which made it next to impossible to know our exact score or the batting or bowling figures. So I therefore spent most of the tea break trying to work out how to complete the scorebook and going through the rather farcical process of negotiating bowling figures with the opposition! 😣
Anyway, that left Perivale 45 overs to chase down 82 runs. Not much of a challenge for most sides, even in this division. In response, Perivale never looked in trouble. Faisal (Mustaqeen Khan) bowled a decent line and length and was rewarded with a wicket on debut, with Hasan Mufti catching a high one at extra cover (characteristically in finger-breaking 🐊 style). Our other debutants, Tariq, Penchal Lakki and Emma Sloan also bowled well and even Jamie Khan turned his arm over for a couple of overs and cleaned up their captain. Pick of the wickets, though, was Pencal's wicket, as Dilan managed to take a good, one-handed diving catch at mid wicket that he appeared to leave so late, it almost made it look as if he was diving in slow-mo.
So, no points yet, but at least we didn't concede the fixture and managed to 'blood' a few new recruits. Hopefully, availability of players will pick up as the season progresses.Author: Matt O'Toole