League round-up for Week 14 (Saturday 10 August)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (175 a/o in 47.5 overs) lost by 4 wickets against Tower Hamlets 1s (178-6 a/o in 44.1 overs)

The old enemy Tower Hamlets arrived at the Marshes last Saturday in typical style. Skipper Scott Doody won the toss and for once elected to bat much to everyone's surprise.

Stokey's top order again succumbed, as Doody and Rob Chadwick were outdone by straight balls (the former from the first ball of the match). Josh Harrison got just enough splice on a medium-pace long hop to send it to midwicket, and the 1s were suddenly reeling at 15-3... or 95-13 if you add in the previous week’s performance.

That brought the Hackney Boss Hodayne Bryce and Joel Bayley to the crease, both with different but very real motivating factors. Hoady had taken his mascot down with him to take photos for the gram, and Joel was still riding the wave of euphoria from a night of passion and whispered sweet nothings that almost guarantees runs were to follow.

Neither disappointed as they steadily rebuilt the innings with patience and the odd classy stroke (much like he had done the previous night Joel would later retell). Joel accidentally pushed a check drive six, and shortly after both men were bringing up their 50s. Shortly after that they were both out again, Joel using the back of the bat to send a drag-down from Tower Hamlets’ leg-spinner to slip, and Hoady using the middle to hit a knee-high pie to the fielder at deep square leg. The predictable collapse followed as Stokey's tail again refused to wag, and 175 was the final score. Honourable mention to Zabe Mohammad who did produce the shot of the season so far in dancing down the pitch to smoke TH’s medium-pacer for six over straight-ish extra cover. Worth 10, but still only got 6 though. 

The 1s set off like a train in the field with Zabe producing his customary first over middle stump inswinger to Tower Hamlets’ opener. A collector's item followed - a Josh Harrison run out from cover. When TH lost their third wicket, again to Zabe, they were looking in trouble at three down for not many. But Stokey were soon to reprive their early-season catching form with three or four drops going down in a crucial period.

The key moment of the chase came when Doody, Hussain and Abul all tried to rugby tackle each other going for a catch off TH's in-form batter. Nobody emerged with the ball, but the batter did emerge unscathed and went on to make a crucial 70-odd.

The TH skipper and gun bat had hidden himself down at six as he clearly didn't fancy facing the new ball - something for which he got plenty of chat when he arrived at the crease with the game still in the balance. Ultimately, it proved to be a smart move as he shepherded the innings along and finished not out on 60-ish at the end.  All the Stokey bowlers toiled hard, with Zabe excellent again, Abul spinning it big, James Davies looking threatening but with no reward for once and Zazai throwing up his usual blend of cheap and spenny overs.

But ultimately the Bears managed to take only six wickets between them including two run outs.  Crucially, It was TH's middle order who gave ours a lesson in converting starts to match-winning ones as they walked off victors. No matter, Hoady got the bat raise captured for the gram, gaining at least 20 likes minimum, so it's clear who the real winners were.

WARM-UP RATING: 6.5 

The Bears were broadly dived into two packs:  those who lacked enthusiasm and those with enthusiasm who were unable to catch anything.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (131-9 in 45 overs) secured a losing draw against Chiswick 2s (232-9 declared in 54.1 overs)

The 2s came back to earth from the previous week’s table-topping victory over South Hampstead, but clung on for a losing draw and a vital point that may be crucial in the promotion run-in.

Chiswick racked up an imposing 232-9 declared as Stokey’s bowlers (with the exception of outstanding leg-spinner Kartik Khatri) unsurprisingly struggled in the high winds.  However, by batting on until the 55th over, had Chiswick left themselves enough time to bowl Stokey out?

In response, the 2s’ top-order cracked under the pressure and a desperate rear-guard action ensued.  Fortunately, middle-order batters Imran Ali and Uzair Muhammad managed to stabilise the innings, but still tail-enders Ramiz Khan and veteran Sardar Rashid were faced with having to survive the final nine overs for the draw.  And despite the suffocating attentions of the Chiswick close-fielders (pictured surrounding the unperturbable Sardar), survive they did!  Just one point for the resilient Stokey boys, but it could make all the difference at the end of the season…

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (210-9 declared in 48 overs) won by 71 runs against North London 5s (139 a/o in 39 overs)

The match began with SNCC winning the toss and deciding to bat first, with the pitch looking dry and true despite all the rain the previous day. The skies were overcast and the wind howling as the 3s’ openers marched out to the crease, not that conditions fazed opener Stuart Caughlin, who composed an untroubled 28, which included serene shots through third-man evoking the great Kane Williamson himself. Despite the early loss of his opening partner Jonas, Stuart was calm and collected, and his wicket, caught behind off the pick of the North London attack, was certainly against the run of play. It was then up to the young guns of the 3s to turn a strong start of 69-2 into a formidable total.

U15 Max Trowler scored 22 in an entertaining knock, one that was recorded for posterity so it could be used for the youngster’s PE GCSE. His innings was studded with a few majestic shots worthy of that highly coveted 9/A* (delete according to age), including one particularly brutal six into the gale which Max has likely re-watched countless times by now. However, his final shot, a disappointingly agricultural hoik across the line resulted in the rearrangement of his stumps; a shot to forget (or edit out of the final video). With the dismissal of Max, Stokey suffered another setback, with U13 Harley Gordon yorked by the same bowler. With the team under serious pressure for the first time in the match, U15s Remy Mitchell and William Holden knuckled down to rebuild.

Initially watchful, both batsmen then looked to punish the weaker change bowlers of North London. William was particularly unforgiving, playing with what impressed onlookers described as Caribbean flair and what his father erroneously described as reckless abandon. Highlights of his innings include an elegant, riskless lofted drive, which Duncan likely watched, needlessly anxious, through his fingers. Though he lost two batting partners, and was interrupted by a short rain delay, William top scored with 44, before being stumped when his foot dragged out of the crease. A mistake, but one he is unlikely to repeat anytime soon.

At 168-8 Stokey’s innings seemed to be petering out, much like the rain,  following a few tame dismissals, before U50 Duncan Holden strode to the crease. Duncan took the flagging North London attack to task, showing off his famed brawn in smashing 19 off 11, a strike-rate only bested by Richard Gordon’s outlandish 300% (scoring six off the two balls he faced). These two exemplars of experience (cheered to the rafters by Stokey’s Barmy Army) combined to push the total from around par to a highly competitive score as SNCC declared at 210-9 off 48 overs.  It was now over to the bowlers to finish the job.

Following a typically excellent Marshes tea, Stokey headed out to bowl. The innings began perfectly, with U15 Archie Parnum bowling NL’s opener with the final ball of the first over. Having scored six off the first five balls, the opener clearly fancied today was his day, but was undone by Archie’s pace. North London’s start then went from bad to worse, with Archie taking a wicket in each of his next two overs, one courtesy of an outrageous catch from keeper Remy Mitchell, standing up behind the stumps, the other thanks to the batsman missing a straight ball.

With North London 9-3 after six overs, Stokey smelled blood. A 45-run partnership between batsmen 3 and 5 delayed the procession, before William removed the number 3, and deadeye Archie ran out number 5 following pressure built up by spinner Harley. North London didn’t test Archie’s arm again.

Following drinks, wickets 6 and 7 were taken by Hollie Summerfield. The first was something of a burgle, with the ball staying low and sneaking through the batsman’s uncertain defence to clatter into the stumps. The second was tossed up and the batsmen could only sky  it back to Hollie, who took a fine return catch running around the stumps. The result: a double-wicket maiden and the end in sight.

The end was delayed by North London’s eighth-wicket pair, who put up stiff resistance, with balls flying inches hands of close catchers including Duncan, who has made short extra-cover his own this season, and stand-in skipper Ben Willis at short-leg. Despite this resistance, Stokey knew the pair were only delaying the inevitable, which came in fine fashion when spin-king Stuart ran through the final three batsmen in the space of one over. One batsman was excellently caught behind by Remy and the other two bowled, Stuart taking a well-earned victory lap after each dismissal.

When the dust left in Stuart’s wake had settled, Stokey had bowled North London out for 139, 71 runs adrift, with five overs to spare, and the team could travel home one step closer to promotion. 

Junior highlights

  • U15s fight hard but miss out to a very strong Harrow side in the County quarter-finals.

  • U17s beat North London in their Middlesex Youth Cup quarter-final and face North Enfield in the semi-final next Friday.

  • U21s play Hampton Hill in the Middlesex Development League semi-final this Sunday at the Marshes.

Veteran Sardar Rashid defies the attentions of Chiswick’s close fielders to survive the final nine overs of the match and secure a vital point for the 2s.

Veteran Sardar Rashid defies the attentions of Chiswick’s close fielders to survive the final nine overs of the match and secure a vital point for the 2s.

League round-up for Week 13 (Saturday 3 August)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (83 a/o in 26.1 overs) lost by 120 runs against South Hampstead 1s (203 a/o in 43.2 overs)

Last Saturday saw the 1s take on South Hampstead in a top of the table “six-pointer” that was to either see Stoke Newington close the gap to just three points, or see South Hampstead open up a potentially unassailable lead at the top of the table. With this in mind the boys all got extremely early nights, with absolutely none of them falling asleep on the night tube and waking up in Walthamstow.

The nature of the fixture meant that Stokey had to travel to Hampstead in order to play, slightly worse than travelling to the Marshes, but a hell of a lot better than travelling to somewhere like Kenton which I’m not sure is actually in London. Regardless it was a jovial bunch that arrived at the ground and set up shop in the bar in the gleeful expectation of watching England extend their imperious first innings lead (sad reacts only). With the pitch being an absolute road and the sun poking furtively through the clouds the skipper, in a move reminiscent of Nasser at Brisbane, elected to have a bowl.

This meant that Big Cuddly Leroy was to have the first dig on a pitch that looked suspiciously like an actual cricket wicket. And so, despite the valiant efforts of the two best bowlers in the league, Big Cuddly Leroy was able to plunder runs at an alarming rate. For a man of such intimidating stature, he was surprisingly quick on anything full and unsurprisingly brutal when he decided a ball was going for six.  South Hampstead raced along to a score of 60 off eight overs.

Then, mercifully, Big Cuddly Leroy decided to get his best friend Hodayne Bryce into the game by smashing a ball to him at long off. Hodie dutifully got the buckets out and snaffled a difficult chance with admirable ease. With BCL out the South Hampstead score slowed somewhat but wickets were proving elusive. New recruit Jackson Hamilton was diving about the backward point region like a young Jamie Dalrymple, whilst Zazai was bowling with the subtlety and intelligence of an old Jeremy Snape…Still Stokey couldn’t find the breakthrough. Finally, in a rogue act of quiet desperation, Skipper Scott Doody turned to the remarkably handsome R Chadwick to help stop the rot. Filled to the brim with potentially toxic levels of cough medicine, young Coughwick bounded in with very little fuel left in the tank.  24 half-volleys later and a red-faced Coughwick was leading the team off the pitch, having burgled seven wickets for 15 runs.  He even managed to take a hat-trick without realising, each ball being smashed straight to Hodayne at long off, an act of self-sabotage from South Hampstead that could only be topped by a diminishing economy with extremely limited export potential voting to leave the world’s largest trading block…It was that silly!

The 1s tucked into an excellent lunch safe in the knowledge that momentum was well and truly in their favour, and confident that they had the firepower to chase down the 205 required.  This is where my notes turn to tragic. Hubris and despair are perfectly captured by the score – 18 for six.  I have not the heart nor the words to write about what happened in detail…  If it wasn’t for Zazai playing an extremely composed and determined innings (34) then it could have been a lot worse.

And there we have it. A terrible weekend for cricket in which the wrong team won twice (unless Kenton won as well), the sort of weekend that makes you question why you bother, and whether more people should get juiced up on cough medicine before big games.

Next week the Bears are back snuffling out honey at Hackney Marshes. 

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (253-7 in 50 overs) won by 42 runs against South Hampstead 2s (211 a/o in 48.5 overs)

Saturday saw the two big dogs at the top of the table go head-to-head, in what the pundits believed would go a long way in determining who was going to get promotion. 

It was South Hampstead’s turn to visit The Marshes fortress and despite manager Richard Greenleaf’s valiant, and might we say cunning, attempt to make out to the opposition that the pitch was a road, alas the South Hampstead captain called correctly and asked with a wink whether they could bowl.  Sarafat Ali and U16 Jameel Mulla went out to bat in overcast conditions and it was clear there was some spice in the wicket, South Hampstead’s opening bowling settling into their work straight away with some lovely swing bowling, which had both batsmen playing and missing. 

Sarafat, having smashed a few lusty blows to the boundary, got one that was probably too close to cut and so Kartik Khatricame in with Stokey only just into double figures.  With plenty of movement on offer the 2s had to build slowly - Kartik in particular watching everything like particularly watchful owl.  Jameel, having started to the look comfy, just like his favourite set of Spider-Man pyjamas - tried to be a bit too expansive and South Hampstead were buzzing.  In came U16 Stan Greenleaf who immediately settled into a nice rhythm - good defence and some classy pulls and flicks. 

Kartik was finding his fluency now too, and South Hampstead’s early dominance was starting to be eroded.  Just as Stan was looking odds-on for a fifty, he got one that stopped in the pitch and could only lob it up to a short extra cover.  With the run rate only around four,  it was clear the 2s needed to get a groove on and Dil Ali was up to the task.  Kartik had got the message too and the laughs that had been coming from the opposition were now turning to grimaces. Between them they plundered the South Hampstead attack at will, bringing up the 100-run partnership, and soon Khartik was celebrating a well-earned century. A flurry of late blows and Stokey had set a decent total of 253-5 from 50 overs.  Kartik finished with an outstanding unbeaten 134!

U16s Joe Kingsley-Smith and Jameel opened for Stokey, with Skipper Sarafat opting for a mixture of pace, spin and you. Don’t let those smooth chins fool you though, Joe in particular keeping things super-tight with two opening maidens. The pressure eventually got to one of South Hampstead’s openers who tried once too often to launch spinner Jameel and only managed to lob it to second slip.  After that early setback South Hampstead settled into the task and were making good progress, having passed 50 without any further losses although their No.3 was using some of that famed Irish luck - one ball stopping dead on the stumps without knocking off the bails! 

When you need a wicket who you gonna call? Not the Ghostbusters, but Zain of course! Bowling his typical stump to stump line, he got the big prize of the other opener LBW.  You couldn’t keep Kartik out of the game - the luck of the Irish finally ran dry, when the number 3 was bowled, not picking the leg-spinner’s wrong-un. 120-3.  Although still up with the run-rate the 2s could sense the pressure was starting to build. Who better than leggie Sardar Rashid to exploit that nerviness? Bowling at a pace which seemed to fit the conditions like a Saville Row suit, he got the batsmen to start playing and missing regularly and one of these, to the dismay of their big fish No.4, found the edge to the keeper - 135-4. Sardar got another wicket and, even though the run rate was similar, the wickets column for South Hampstead was starting to be a concern at 150-5 

The runs were starting to dry up and Kartik was giving nothing away at the other end too. After a superb spell of 2-15 from five overs, Dil Ali replaced Sardar and was just as miserly. Run-rate pressure told eventually and a double-wicket over from Dil really knocked the wind out of South Hampstead’s chase. 177-7 meant that the chase had become survival - could South Hampstead eek out a losing draw? It looked that way until a slower, slow ball from Dil had the batter scrambling in vain to reverse his dance down the wicket. Could Stokey take the last two wickets? Kartik seemed to think so and demanded the ball as Joe was being blocked out. 

A big front pad offering no shot to another unpicked googly got the ninth wicket and with six men around the bat it was going to be tough to hold out.   So it proved - with one ball left in the 49th over, Kartik’s quicker ball smashed into off-stump and the 2s were back at the top of the league! 

3rd XI

Friendly: SNCC 3s (206-9 in 40 overs) lost by 23 runs to Millwall Stars (229-9 in 40 overs)

With their league opponents having forfeited, the 3s hastily arranged a friendly against strong opposition from the Essex League, Millwall Stars.  Having lost the toss, the 3s were asked to bowl and stuck to their task well against a formidable top-order batting line-up.  Tight bowling from spin-twins U13 Harley Gordon (two wickets) and skipper Sudheep Karumarathodi (three wickets) kept the run-rate in check and only a late flurry of runs at the death took the Stars to 229-9 off their allotted 40 overs. 

After an excellent Marshes tea, Millwall’s opening bowlers immediately put the brakes on the 3s’ response.  Despite determined batting from the top-order, Stokey were always behind the run-rate and struggled to accelerate as the innings progressed.  Despite a flourish of shots from U17 Michael Tucker and keeper Badar Khan, the 3s’ middle-order needed to score at ten an over off the last ten overs and this proved too much to ask and it was left to some dynamic pinch-hitting at the death by debutant Richard Gordon to move the score to a very respectable 206 for 9 and a loss by 23 runs.  An excellent match played in a very good spirit and ideal preparation for the 3s’ league run-in. 

Junior highlights

  • At County Semi-Finals Day, the U10As win two matches out of four and finish second in their qualifying group.

  • U12As make the long away trip to Teddington and go down fighting in the County quarter-finals.

  • U13As tie with Totteridge at the Marshes but qualify for County Finals Day on a count-back!

  • U15s beat Crouch End (Will Holden 71*) and London Tigers to reach the County quarter-finals.

  • U17s qualify for the Middlesex Youth Cup quarter-finals – to be played next Monday away at North London.

  • U21s beat Highgate to top their qualifying group before defeating Wycombe House in the quarter-final (with an unbeaten fifty for Muhammad Uzair).

League round-up for Week 11 (Saturday 20 July)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (198-9 in 50 overs) won by 57 runs against Kenton 1s (141 a/o in 38.1 overs)

Last Saturday saw league leaders Kenton visit the Marshes for a  top of the table clash. Stokey were riding high having beaten all that the league could throw at them in recent weeks. Someone not riding high was Joel Bayley, who, given the enormity of the game, had decided to go to bed early-ish and without a bugle in sight. That tells you all you need to know about the significance of the match and what it meant to the players. 

The game started in the worst possible way as Skipper Scott Doody lost the toss on a wet wicket and the Bears inevitably got stuck in, having not batted first since Alex Hales was in England's plans. With the Bears’ "win the toss, roll’em for 100 and knock them off 2-ish down" approach having worked so well over the last month or so, Stokey found themselves with a middle order of “Thanks for Comings” who could barely remember how to hold the bat.  Suddenly, for the biggest game of the season, that team of TFCs would have to produce the goods batting first. 

If ever there was a time for a rousing pregame speech from the skipper it was now - and he duly obliged. Fortune had it that Vicky was away drinking strawberry daiquiris in gay bars all weekend, which enabled Doody the morning hours to scrape the barrel of play-cricket and dig up the most meaningful statistics he could find on his boys. He duly rattled through them in a stirring and heartfelt speech of cricketing nostalgia that left everyone feeling both warm and fuzzy and pumped to go and smash the ball to all parts. Not to be outdone, Gordon chipped in with “play straight and hit the bad balls” or words to that effect. Stokey were ready. 

The innings got off to a great start as it was apparent that the decent Kenton bowler who seamed it around at good pace at their place was missing and had been replaced by two generic second-teamers.  Doody looked keen to make the most of this as he tucked into some leg stump mediocrity early on. The fun was not to last though as Sneaky Pete Stone decided to leave an off stump half volley onto his big toe. It was the fourth time this season a top order batsman had been out leaving, a remarkably high ratio given there have only been 10 Stokey leaves played all season. 

That bought number three Rob Chadwick who started his innings with his trademarked quiet accumulation. However, he too was gone shortly after arriving at the crease courtesy of the kind of triggering that goes down in cricketing folk law - an 'I was there moment' up there with Beckham on Simeone and Stokes’ back of the bat six in the World Cup Final, as he missed the ball by enough for the oppo to audibly laugh as the umpire raising his finger on appeal, shrugging his shoulders as he did so.  As Chadders strolled off with the same quiet indifference with which he'd arrived at the crease (and indeed seemingly accompanies him in every situation in life), Doody approached rage blackout. He must have barely noticed Joel arrive at the other end, or indeed the scoreboard, as he decided that every ball had to go the distance. Having slapped a couple off Kenton’s third change bowler, he tried the same against one of their left-arm spinners and only succeeding in chipping a long hop straight to point. If Chadder's exit from the pitch had been prosaic, Doody's was ignominious as chuntered about the disgraceful umpiring all the way to the changing room and how he was giving him a 1 in the post-match report. 

Suddenly Stokey were 31-3 after 8 overs and in real trouble; with the pregame speak a distant and cruel memory with only the TFCs, the Afghans and Big Handsome Jim (Davies) to come. If anyone was feeling warm and fuzzy inside now it was Kenton.  But Joel and the Hackney Boss (Hodayne Bryce) weren't going to give up easily, and for all their recent lack of opportunity in the league, both had been in the habit of smashing round Sunday change bowlers this year, so must have been feeling good going into it. When the chips were down they came to the party and constructed a counter-attacking partnership punctuated with glorious stroke play and the odd chip up which fell in the gap.  

Joel got one on off stump which he carted magnificently into the pavilion off one knee, and Hodayne repeated the trick himself, sending the same bowler into the car park. With the sun out and runs flowing at the Marshes again it felt like the natural order had been restored. Just as the partnership neared 100, Joel went for the inside-out over extra cover and had to depart for an alleged 38, following a screamer from the man in deep.  

A couple of overs later the Hackney Boss was raising his bat to the fans on reaching his second league 50 of the year.  “Settle in, go on and make it a big one” new man Josh Harrison had no doubt told Hoddy as he congratulated him on reaching the milestone - however, the Boss had other ideas and soon he too was gone hitting a long hop straight to the man at cow corner in a classic overseas’ dismissal. 

That bought in a purposeful looking Ishaq Raheel fresh from a stint at St. Trinian's. He played a glorious lofted straight drive and a couple of other less glorious hacks before he too was on his way. At the other end, Josh had been mixing some dot ball and vintage poor running with classy stroke play, peppering the cover, square leg and straight boundary in a Bell-esque number 6 display. He departed run out for 27 in the 49th over but by this time Stokey were almost up to 200 and ready to declare. All that was left was for Zazai to come and go slogging and Big Handsome Jim to twice get the full-length dive out attempting to avoid the being run out, in front of his adoring and captivated Margo. The declaration did indeed come with the Bear's having reached 198 from 50 overs in relative comfort after the jittery start. 

Tea bought a seldom seen anticipation around the table to the players and officials, as cold pizza was replaced with a DIY scone assembly station. The Stokey boys knew they still had a job to do though, and again in a demonstrable act of dedication to the cause, most filled their plates modestly; leaving some room for greatness.  

The innings was started by the perpetually in-form Zabe Mohammad and the at present very inform BHJ. Jim was coming off the back of a previous week 6-fer full of pace, movement and control – a bagful of genuine dismissals which wouldn't have looked out of place in proper cricket. Having lamented his misfortune at Chadder's apathy towards writing the match report following a World Cup hangover,  he knew he had another chance to get some nice words written about him if he could continue his form. And continue the form he did, with three early wickets in a crucial early spell. 

Kenton had sent their opening bowler out to also open the batting, but Jacques Kallis he was not. He did wake the chihuahua on a few occasions with plinked slogs for 2s, which spoke of the excitable nature of Kenton's skipper at any kind of cricket shot - graceful or ugly, effective or not so. Gladly BHJ sent his off bail flying before he could stick around too long. 

Kenton’s number 3 actually looked decent but received the second triggered of the day as Zabe picked him up ellbeedubelew to a ball which ironically would have missed the stumps by the same margin that Chadders had earlier missed his by.  On the day and in the context of the game, everyone agreed it was a fair trade. 

At the other end their opener who had been so destructive against us last time was looking dangerous again, as anything in his half was getting crunched through or over cover. Anything not in his half was a different matter though as demonstrated when BHJ managed to grill him with a 65 mph snorter. 

The moment of the game came as Hodayne tried to move himself from point to cover, only to be instructed to stay put by the Doody - 'Stay put, this he's about to slice one straight to you and I want you there to catch it'. The very next ball the opener obliged and slapped a wide half volley straight to the Hackney Boss and wild scenes ensued, evocative of Sneaky's keg ball call from the previous week. 

By this point Stokey were feeling pretty good about themselves again as the chihuahua arrived at the crease looking like he'd fallen out of a Louis Vuitton and could find his way to Beverly Hills. However as BHJ started to stray onto his pads the little man's confidence grew and he began finding the boundary with some regularity. 

Another wicket fell to Zabe to the first of Chadder's pair of almost comically easy catches in the gully. That bought the worst number 6 anyone had ever seen who had somehow managed to Ashley Giles his way into a potentially league winning team. For a tortuous period, he made up his technique as he went, like a low-quality Steve Smith. It was a far cry from the purist pleasing majesty of Stokey's own number 6 before tea. Eventually, Zabe got him to chip a dolly up to Zazai who took the catch and went on a lap of honour. 

By his time Kenton were looking beaten, and when the chihuahua got bounced out to Zabe and the reliable Hussain started with an early wicket, it looked like the game could be over demoralisingly soon for the visitors. There was even talk of rolling them for under 100. However cricket is rarely straightforward and slowly Kenton built partnerships, with their numbers 7 and 8 looking far better equipped than some of their predecessors.  Slowly at first, they blocked and then gradually began to put away a boundary an over to take the score past three figures and give the Kenton boys some hope. 

As the final hour ticked over and with Kenton having built momentum to reach 120-ish, Doody decided to rotate his bowlers from the top end. It was a decision that worked brilliantly as Hussain picked up his second wicket, Zabe claimed four, and a fired-up Ishaq claimed the final scalp with an absolute snorter to clip the off bail and spark rapturous scenes at the Marshes. Kenton limped off knowing they'd been well beaten by the better team on the day. The Bears danced all the way back to the dressing room with such vigour that Big Handsome Jim crushed the flip-flopped Simon's toe in the man hug aftermath. The limping and bloodied Simon a poignant remembrance of the commitment shown by all that day. 

Warmup Rating: 9 

No one, including Gordon, could really be bothered with a warm-up and so the big man lethargically fired off some medium trajectory skiers in random directions for whoever wanted to catch them. No running involved, and everyone either caught, dropped or stood stationary with no confusion over the nature of the game. Top form. 

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (174 a/o in 43.2 overs) won by 39 runs against Wycombe House 2s (135 a/o in 34.3 overs)

After two solid victories on home soil, the 2s packed their nap-sacks and arrived at Wycombe House with just a little bit of revenge on their minds, having narrowly been defeated by one wicket earlier in the season.   Heavy overnight rain and damp conditions presumably made it a good toss to win and Stokey, having been put in to bat, had to negotiate a slightly spicy pitch having sweated under the covers.

A cautious start with no real alarm was interrupted by Rob Low nicking one that was there to hit (“That’s the last time I lend my pads to the oppo keeper!”) but after that Sarafat Ali and Kartik Khatri settled down to a nice little partnership at almost a run a ball. As so often happens the drinks break proved to be the clever change of bowler - Kartik that very same over holing out to mid-on.  Ali proved once again that lack of pace is not his friend and suddenly we had two new batsmen at the crease.  The wickets kept on tumbling, Zain Haidery and then Stan Greenleaf going quickly, the latter caught between a cut and defence and caught at point. 

From a promising position at drinks, the 2s were in danger of committing the cardinal sin of being bowled out with plenty of overs left and things didn’t get any better with some terrible running between the wickets leaving Joe Kingsley-Smith well short (even though he’s tall).  The advice from the spectators though was to get 140/150 on the board and just when we needed a partnership in strolled Sal Whitehead to join Imran Ali. Clearly the extra protein working in a fried chicken shop had done wonders for his power game because suddenly the boundaries were flowing, from both ends - Imran gaining confidence from his big-hitting partner. Just when Sal really fancied a big score he was out caught carving one to cover but the damage was done and even another dreadful run out to finish the innings couldn’t damper the fact that from a perilous position the 2s had got 174 precious runs on the board. Was it enough though???

The openers for Wycombe didn’t think so and punished Stokey’s opening bowlers for not pitching it up and threatening the stumps and reached the 50-run partnership with few concerns. Even Kartik got the treatment in his opening over and the 2s were searching for solutions at this point. 

It came in the form of spin. Michael Tucker, having been brought on for Asad-Nabi Momand, got the opener to slog one to mid-on! That’s all we needed! With Skipper Sarafat demanding that the fielding improved - Joe listened and, with Wycombe’s other opener treading water, hurled the ball to the keeper’s end who still had a bit to do to bring the ball to the stumps - think Jos Buttler and that run out which won the World Cup!

The 2s were now buzzing around the field - the chat was up, the pep was in the step. What Wycombe didn’t need was another run-out but up stepped Zain Haidery, clearly trying to make up for his batting woes, who danced around from cover point and aimed dead eye dick at middle stump.  From a position of strength Wycombe had got themselves in a bit of a jam, raspberry if you were wondering.  Kartik was brought back to weave his sticky web and Monty Rahman at the other end was asked to pitch it up and bowl at the stumps - something which Stokey had not been able to do so far in the match. Monty duly delivered, a real peach - pitching on middle and smashing orrrrffff. Kartik was now back in his rhythm too going through his variations. 

It was thirsty work out there, so much so that Wycombe House’s key batter asked for a drink - and when told he had to wait a few overs by keeper Rob Low, he didn’t like that news and smashed one to Imran at cover.  By now Stokey could sense victory, having been slightly down in the dumps a few overs before, and with Kartik getting another it was down to the last recognised batsmen to see if Wycombe could get to the total. He was proving difficult to remove and the eight-wicket partnership took them below 50 to win…

In came Sal for his first bowl of the season, but his good ideas of pitching it up were just slightly too (chicken) leg-Side.  It needed a less subtle way of removing the key batter - Sal let go of an accidental full toss which came up off the glove and into his chin. Again no helmet so no sympathy.  Clearly still groggy, Kartik sent down a beauty to him, a carbon copy of Warne’s “Ball of the Century” which dipped, pitched on leg and knocked back the top of off stump. 

That was pretty much that - all that was left to do was for Zain to do what he’s paid to do and he duly obliged with a toe-breaker knocking back the stumps.

Warmup rating - 9/10 lots of slip catches and decent use of the Katchet ramp

Even the oppo captain give us a slip catching drill?!

Tea - 6/10 a bit one-dimensional, but saved by excellent roly-poly cake  

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (212-9 in 50 overs) beat Winchmore Hill 4s (194 a/o in 40 overs) by 18 runs

Saturday’s rematch with WHCC was, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, “the worst of times, the best of times, the worst of times, the best of times”.  

The match began with SNCC losing the toss and being put into bat under mottled skies on a pitch still soft and sticky after a night of rain. Stokey’s top order struggled to time the ball as it alternately stuck in the pitch and then popped up seemingly at random.  The 3s quickly found themselves down 22 for 5 and then 37 for six - the game nearly over before it had started. But liberal doses of grit, application and patience over the remaining innings pulled SNCC out of the depths of despair.  It began with a painstakingly excellent partnership between Badar Khan (36, despite a nasty back injury which reduced him to a statesmanlike stroll between the wickets) and Timon Blakemore (27).  The innings then closed with a flourish from Muhammad Uzair (31) and U15 Will Holden (27).  Having somehow survived for the full 50 overs, the 3s finished with the previously unthinkable total of 212-9. 

SNCC’s opening attack started well, with young seamers Will (loping in like a young gazelle) and U16 George Neyhus (a hint of Bob Willis with a wild mop of hair flying in all directions) building up pressure and racking up the dot balls (19 for George, 20 for Will in four overs each). However, dropped and missed catches released that pressure and Winchmore Hill started to accelerate and looked to be taking charge. Despite the dropped catches, intensity in the field didn’t slacken and a run out and brilliant catch at slip by Will and a catch by Rayyan Patel provided support to the spinners Uzair (3-52), Timon and Sudeep Karumarathodi, and the situation stabilised. 

The game started turning Stokey’s way with the reintroduction of Will and George (two wickets – one a very fine caught behind by keeper Tom Davies - and a maiden for George and a maiden for Will) and the introduction of SNCC’s iconic and talismanic substitute fielder Duncan Holden (for the injured Badar). Captain Sudeep’s decision to introduce the enigmatic pace bowling of Jamie Cox proved both inspired and decisive, as, having fought their way through the spinners, and two blasts from Stokey’s young pacemen, WHCC were suddenly faced by a bowling style that could be best described as a combination of an English bulldog and Winston Churchill. When George caught Winchmore Hill’s last recognised batter at long on for the eighth wicket, the game had definitively swung back to SNCC, and the WHCC tail had no answer to Jamie (who finished with a match-clinching 4-13). 

When the fur and dust settled, WHCC had been bowled out for 194 in 40 overs, and SNCC had won by 18 runs.  Another great match between two evenly-matched teams following on from their two nail-biting contests last summer.

SNCC - SNCC logo at Marshes.jpg

League round-up for Week 9 (Saturday 6 July)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (120-2 in 20.5 overs) won by 8 wickets against Ealing Hanwellians 1s (115 a/o in 38.2 overs)

This weekend was the Pride Weekend in the capital, and what better way to start the party than with a 10 pointer against rivals Ealing Hanwellians, who sat 10 points above the Bears in third place at the start of the day. The weather was set fair at 23 degrees; perfect for both cricket and wearing hot pants; Sneaky Pete Stone exploited this to sexy effect as he rocked up in his classic George Michael grey denim.

Team manager, Simon Hore, was clearly also hyped up about Pride Weekend, as he opted to take the scenic route to the ground; traversing a van full of testosterone-fueled athletic Adonises through central London so that they could get a taste of the party atmosphere that would hit London that afternoon. Sadly Zazai was in the midst of a lover's tiff with Zabe Mohammad, as Zabe had jilted him at their arranged meeting point. Perhaps with that scorn still fresh in his mind, Zazai befriended the passing rainbow-clad revelers, as he coquettishly smoked his cigarette from the van window. Despite Zabe missing his pick up, he was somehow the first man to the ground in a sporting miracle up there with Leicester winning the Premier League.

When the bus finally arrived, the full team was reunited in harmony at a ground which could almost be described as picturesque; certainly for the Middlesex Championship. A large and secluded playing area with quaint shed-style pavilion overshadowed by a proud chapel spire in the distance, which stood as a symbol of masculinity; reminding all players and officials of the joy and power of the male form.

When the game got underway, Captain Scott Doody apparently lost the toss and the Bears were asked to field first. Any confidence that Ealing Hanwellians were feeling after a good batting performance against leaders Kenton the previous week was quickly dented as Zabe swung one back into the opener's pads to knock out his middle stump first ball of the game. The opener walked off in sheer amazement as if he'd never seen a swinging ball before.

The young number three looked quite organised, but one couldn't help be reminded of the first acts of a coming of age movie, he hadn't quite had his breakthrough moment yet, and it never felt like he would go on to make a big contribution. The other opener embodied the worst of this level of cricket - no technique, very little ability and a complete reluctance to attempt to hit the ball to the posh side. He swished furiously like a sexually frustrated matador for about 15 overs before he finally got cleaned up by Zabe.

In the field Stokey were tight, only shelling one chance as Hodayne Bryce, the Hackney Boss, made ground from point to short third man but couldn't cling onto the ball. Zabe bowled with sustained threat for his 15 overs, Zazai was 80% excellent with just the occasional attempted leg spinner turning into a buffet long hop. Joe Kingsley-Smith bowled with the vigour of a man who'd finished all his exams and was keen to celebrate the Pride Weekend in style; most notably when his attempted bouncer turned out to be a short of a length nip-backer that did of one the batsman. The standout performance was first team debutant Hussain Shah, who picked up where he left off for the 2's, dismantling Ealing Hanwellian’s middle and lower order to finish with the superb and well-deserved figures of 4-13. Josh Harrison made an easy catch look tricky and then a medium catch look medium. Definitely the Bears’ best fielding performance of the season to date, as they polished off the innings for a meagre 116.

After a tea to please the purists complete with brie and grape sandwiches, Pete and Scott set about the business of knocking off the runs. The innings started with ten dot balls, but after Sneaky clipped one off his pads in the third over the Bears never looked back. The bowling was accurate, and there seemed to be some swing on offer, but the pitch was looking good by this stage and Pete and Scott both knocked the ball round with playful ease. With the brie and cranberry sandwich still in his mind's eye, Scott unfurled an extra-cover drive for the ages and it somehow perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the day, transcending gender, race and sexual preference to unite all in adoration of its grace, elegance and power.

Simon was still flush with pride excitement, and he kept the score with gay abandon, marking 4s and 6s as he pleased, in a plethora of rainbow colours. At some points it didn't even bother with the marking the batmen's runs - even when Scott deposited the opening bowler for a consecutive on-driven 4 and hooked 6. Why bother marking something so trivial as who scored what, when we're all equal under the rainbow flag?

Somewhere along the line Pete was triggered LBW to a ball that was clearly missing the next set/cannoning into middle stump depending on who you asked. This bought Rob Chadwick to the crease, and he looked determined to continue the cultural approach to innings construction, in turn patting half-volleys to the fielders, and finding the gaps for leisurely 2s, as if to send a message to Ealing Hanwellians 's frustrated opener.

Speaking of Ealing Hanwellians 's frustrated opener, as the second wicket partnership grew so too did a building subplot of sexual tension between said opener and Zazai. Both men had been casting waves and smouldering glances towards one another throughout the innings, and as sweet nothings turned into empassioned visceral cries, it was clear that this level of tension couldn't be sustained until the end of the game. Players from both sides told Zazai to retire to the changing room and cool off there for a bit. Zazi reluctantly complied, but the heat got the better of him and he slammed Director of Cricket, Gordan Summerfield's bat into the pavilion door, causing the Director to lament “oh no, he's ruined my favourite paddle”.

Once everyone had settled down again after drinks, Scott and Rob agreed to win in style and end on a six. Scott tried and failed, picking out the man on the longest boundary and predictably sending in Joel Bayley with two runs needed. The opposition skipper 'Don't Worry B. Ali' was also in on the plan, and he obligingly served Chadders up a juicy belly-high full toss which the Chadders was grateful to deposit over the ropes to keep his end of the bargain. Gentlemanly conduct all round.

WARMUP RATING: 9/10 (season high!)

No fielding warmup due to the impromptu trip through Soho, however.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (61-1 in 10.4 overs) won by 9 wickets against Ealing Hanwellians 2s (60 a/o in 20.1 overs)

The day started early for some of Stoke Newington 2s - Monty Rahman and Rob Low arrived at the nets at 11am for some net practice, with Sardar Rashid joining in. The rest of Stokey 2s joined eventually and by about 4 minutes to first ball we were just about all in attendance and changed.

Skipper Sarafat Ali called correctly and fancied a bowl, which turned out to be the correct decision. We started with pace, U17 Asad-Nabi Momand and Irfan Zakhel opening the attack, with the former starting with an extremely hostile spell, which resulted in a wicket in the first over and then both batsmen remarkably having to call for helmets having both not bothered with one and having subsequently worn a few.

After seemingly having survived testing first spells for only one down, Ealing thought they’d take liberties with Monty on first change and a clever change up got the second wicket and started a remarkable sequence of events. Next ball was straight but the batsman was only ever interested in playing down the wrong line and so we had Monty on a hatrick! This time he bowled full and straight and the batsmen had gone so far across he could never get to it and the umpire had no choice but to raise the finger LBW and give Monty his Hat Trick!

It was time for spinner Kartik Khatri to enter the arena and it didnʼt take him long to bamboozle the batsmen. One beautiful wrong-un cleaning up the sixthh batsman and another lobbing to Zain. Monty picked up another beauty, nicking to keeper Rob. He was on his way only to try and hoodwink everyone when the umpire didnʼt give him out straightaway. The question remained could Monty pick up his 5-for or would Kartik clean up the tail?

Well Khartik duly delivered another wicket, lobbing nicely to Sarafat at wide slip and so it was left to Monty to see if he could get on the digital honours board. Monty again used his brain and, having seen the batsmen with a low crouch stance, bowled a bouncer which surprised him and the nick was gratefully taken at the third attempt by Rob behind the stumps, and so Monty had a well-deserved 5-for and Stoke Newington had only to chase 61 to win.

The only real points of note in the run chase was Sarafat trying to hit every ball for six - which he did a few times and so 61 was knocked up in only 10 overs with the only casualty, Zain, caught behind somewhat suspiciously without troubling Monty who was scoring. The 2s needed a performance to banish memories of last week’s defeat and they duly delivered and the ten points that went with it.

Man of the Match – Monty for his 5 wickets and Hat-Trick.

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (41 a/o in 17.4 overs) lost by ten wickets to Brondesbury 4s (42-1 in 9.5 overs)

It was just one of those days as the 3s’ five-match winning streak came to a sudden end away at Brondesbury 4s. A fragile (and sometimes ill-disciplined) batting performance against a very strong opening attack saw the 3s bowled out for just 41. The malaise continued in the field with missed chances in the slips as Brondesbury raced to their target for a ten-wicket win.

The 3s were in good company last Saturday - Week 8 in Division 6A saw three of the teams batting first dismissed for less than 80! Let’s put this behind us and bounce back this Saturday against North Middlesex.

SNCC 4s

SNCC 4s (135 a/o) tied with Northampton Exiles 4s (135 a/o)

The 4s headed up to Winchmore Hill to play Northampton Exiles 4s. Captain Jamie Endean won the toss and elected to field first and was rewarded with an excellent bowling and fielding performance. The Exiles were bowled out for 135 in the final over of the 40. Amongst the highlights were a miserly spell of 3 for 10 off 5 overs from Dez Gray, wickets from Ted Mason’s first two deliveries in senior cricket, and two excellent catches for stand-in keeper Charlie Harmer.

The reply started well with Stokey seemingly in control at 95-2 with opener Shashank Mishra (42) forming the backbone f the chase. However, the opposition bowlers stuck to their task on a tricky pitch and managed to chip away until they eventually dismissed our last man at 135, ensuring a thrilling tie.

An excellent day’s cricket between two evenly-matched teams played in a great spirit.

Junior highlights

  • A 100% record for the U10Bs, while the U10As secure the Division 2 title.

  • U15s sneak into second place in Div 1 (by one point) and qualify for the County League play-offs.

  • U21s stay unbeaten with an eight-wicket win over Southgate.

  • SNCC’s junior awards presentation takes place at the Marshes this Saturday, 13 July!

Stokey 2s after their nine-wicket win over Ealing Hanwellians last Saturday.

Stokey 2s after their nine-wicket win over Ealing Hanwellians last Saturday.

League round-up for Week 8 (Saturday 29 June)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (155-1 in 26.2 overs) won by 9 wickets against Perivale Phoenicians 1s (153 a/o in 37.2 overs)

This week the 1s played Perivale 1s at Hackney Marshes.  Having romped to a six- wicket victory the week before, it felt as though Stokey had regained their mojo.  Their mojo, which had temporarily gone missing, is perhaps their most prized asset other than their excellent collection of boundary flags.  Their boundary flags, provided by world cricket’s second favourite car brand, denote where Hackney Marshes ends and cricket begins.  They are a symbol of a common purpose and a shared passion.  They are representative of the unifying force of cricket in an increasingly disparate world.  With both really short and really tall people sharing the pitch together in happy unison, it is possible to catch a glimpse of a world free from the divisive rhetoric of those that seek to unsettle us.  Untouched by the political faultlines of modern Britain, the flags are a silent reminder of what is possible when people play cricket instead of talk about politics. In a more tangible sense, they also mark the boundary extremely effectively.

Anyway- less bojo, let’s get back to the mojo.

Stand-in skipper Joel won the toss and elected to bowl.  He then came back to the changing room and lied about winning the toss so as not to encounter the wrath of his teammates when they found out he had opted to field on the hottest day of the year.  The sun was indeed in rampant form, spraying rays of light around the Marshes with gay abandon, seemingly unaware of the effect they were having on the pallid complexions of half the Stokey team.  Under the increased scrutiny of the sun, the clouds went on strike, leaving a very blue sky in their wake.  This compounded the problem.

For once Zabe Mohammad didn’t take the first wicket.  Instead it was the work of Big Handsome James (Davies) who bowled the best ball of his life in order to remove one of the worst batsman in the league. His football friend had come to watch him bowl and so James was extra-chuffed as he bounded back to fine leg at the end of his over, eager to tell his friend just how much the ball had swung.  Wickets fell regularly as Zabe bowled his quickest spell of the season.  He was aided by some smart catching from stand-in keeper, Hodayne, who even decided to run the length of the ground in pads to stop a ball going for four.  He saved an entire run which later proved to be absolutely decisive in the wider context of the match.  It is difficult to predict the ramifications this saved run could have on the season, but some people are already saying that it has the potential to be important.

At this point it looked like Stokey might bowl the opposition out for under  50, but then they remembered that they loved dropping catches and so decided to do a bit of that instead.  The drops, combined with Perivale’s answer to Shahid Afridi coming to the crease and banjoing  50 off 20 balls, meant that after Zabe had claimed his 5th wicket of the day, Perivale had scored 153 all out.

BHJ finished with four  wickets and Irfan Momand continued to be the most unlucky bowler in the history of cricket.  “Cash in the Atiq” also claimed his first Stoke Newington wicket by going upstairs with a short ball, the batsman only succeeding in lofting its straight into the Atiq (‘s hands).  Mojo restored.

Jovial banter dominated tea as members of both teams watched the Afghanistan vs Pakistan game together, Zazai in particular was vocal in his support for his countrymen in blue and red.

Confronted with a 153-run chase, Stokey started slowly but steadily.  But then all of a sudden Sneaky Pete realised that the opposition bowlers were in fact the worst in the league.  He quickly deposited a couple of balls into the bushes.  The score ticked over with R Chadwick blocking full tosses to fielders in the ring and running.  Mercifully he was soon out, a victim to the much underrated ‘straight ball’.  This brought Ishaq Raheel to the crease.  He promptly made a mockery of just about every other batsman that day by hitting 52 off 18 balls including 28 off one over.  He then mojoed his way off the pitch to be greeted by his delighted team mates.

A nine-wicket win and the mojo fully restored.  Bring on the rest of the season.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (53 a/o in 25.3 overs) lost by 85 runs against Perivale Phoenicians 2s (138 a/o in 32 overs)

It was a tough day for the 2s who made the long away trip out to Perivale.  Despite having to bowl first on a baking hot day, Stokey did well to bowl out their hosts for 138 with leggie Kartik Khatri taking 4-33.  Unfortunately, the 2s top-order offered no resistance to Perivale’s opening attack and subsided to 29 for eight.   Despite a fighting rearguard action from veteran Sardar Rashid (16), there was no way back from such a poor start and the 2s ended up well-beaten by 85 runs. 

Old-school team manager, Richard Greenleaf, is certainly looking for a reaction from his troops this Saturday back at Fortress Marshes against in-form Ealing Hanwellians… 

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (301-6 declared in 42 overs) won by 152 runs against Alexandra Park 4s (149 a/o in 40 overs)

An assured performance from a Stokey side which included eight juniors saw the 3s wear down and eventually defeat a much more experienced Alexandra Park 4s with a very mature performance at Hackney Marshes. 

Having won the toss and unsurprisingly decided to bat in the positively Saharan Marshes sunshine, openers U15 Max Trowler and U16 Rayyan Patel got the 3s off to a free-wheeling start at seven runs per over with Max (67) racing to his maiden senior fifty.  From 123 for 2 off 18, U15s Mueez Taj (57 – another maiden senior fifty) and Archie Parnum (48) accelerated the scoring rate still further in their contrasting styles as Alexandra Park stuck gamely to their task.  But the stage was left for a blistering last-over assault by U17 Jisan Farhan - 18* from five balls! – as the 3s declared on 301-6 leaving themselves 50 overs to bowl out the opposition and seize the 12 points. 

A ferocious double-wicket opening burst from U15 quickie Max Trowler (who finished with 3-46) rocked Alexandra Park, who nevertheless continued to fight hard for a draw.  U16 leg-spinner Rayyan Patel was unlucky not to pick up more than a single wicket from an excellent nine-over spell, while the other seamers - U16 George Neyhus and U15 Archie Parnum – bowled accurately on another excellent batting pitch at the Marshes.  Despite stubborn resistance from AP’s middle-order, the youthful 3s sustained the pressure in the still-sweltering heat and steadily worked their way to victory with ten overs to spare. 

Junior highlights

  • Nine wins from nine for the U10Bs who secure the Division 2 title!

  • U11As win their final league match of the season by beating Area Cup winners Brondesbury by 26 runs in a thriller at Regents Park.

  • U11Bs form the Guard of Honour for Australia v New Zealand at Lord’s – and play kwik cricket on the outfield during the interval.

  • U12As are crowned Division 1 champions!

  • U12Bs finish their league campaign with a win over North London – their fourth in four games!

  • U15s win away at Finchley (with 50* for Will Holden) to stay in the hunt for a place in the County play-offs

  • U17s snatch a 5-run victory from the jaws of defeat against Tower Hamlets in the Middlesex Youth Cup.

Stokey U11Bs at Lord’s with the World Cup!

Stokey U11Bs at Lord’s with the World Cup!

Hitting litter for six!

Last weekend SNCC hosted an Under 9s and 10s festival as well a number of other junior and senior matches. I left Hackney Marshes a proud man, seeing dozens and dozens of young boys and girls enjoying cricket on this fabulous green space. That sense of pride was further heightened by the stream of parents from other clubs commenting on the club’s fabulous facilities.

For those new to the club, it’s probably impossible to imagine that when we moved to the Marshes less than ten years ago bringing cricket back to the Hackney Marshes, you had to risk life and limb in an WWII era East German-style building passing itself off as changing rooms, a ramshackle car park, no nets and very dicey pitches.

At the risk of getting all Monty Python, you’re lucky!

Gentle intro over…

We need your help to ensure that the Marshes lives up to its new-found billing as the home of East London cricket. That means leaving it as you find it. In recent weeks vigilant parents have been collecting bags and bags of rubbish from on and around the cricket pitches. SNCC players and parents are not responsible for all of it. Let’s not kid ourselves that we’re not responsible for some of it and let’s set an example.

Here are some tips:

  • If possible, provide your child with a reusable water bottle – and remind them to take it home.

  • Anyone buying drinks and food from the café – dispose of all cups, bottles and wrappers in the bin provided.

  • It is windy at the Marshes so keep hold of our cups etc.

  • At the end of your child’s match/training session please pick up all litter. All rubbish bags can be left in the Pavilion foyer for the Council to take away.

  • Rubbish bags will be available at the Pavilion reception – please take one with you to the match/training pitch and perhaps tie it to the red wheelie bin?

  • Don’t put your rubbish (especially food waste!) in the red wheelie bins – it’s absolutely horrible to have to remove this later on…

  • Please pass the message on to visiting teams!

Together we can hit rubbish for six!

SNCC - SNCC logo at Marshes.jpg

League round-up for Week 7 (Saturday 22 June)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (169-4 in 36.5 overs) won by 6 wickets against Actonians 1s (168 a/o in 54.5 overs)

Another Saturday, another game of cricket.  Another occasion to gather with friends and watch the Afghan contingent of Stoke Newington CC create wicket-taking chances whilst everyone else in the team dropped them.

Part of cricket’s indefinable charm is its ability to reflect the trials and tribulations that life throws at you.  For the Old Actonians’ opener who spent half the afternoon being outscored by the over count, this was surely true.  It was an innings of stoic self-control which was seasoned with the occasional attempted run out of his teammates.  A highlights package was dominated by a series of increasingly easy dropped catches and a perplexingly straightforward six that raised more questions than it answered.  It was tortured, drawn out and ultimately pointless.  Cricket eh?

The sun made its debut performance of the year and seemed intent on making up for lost time.  Luckily Joe Kingsley-Smith, the Hackney Downs Boss, had brought his industrial-strength suncream.  Originally concocted for the Scottish cavalry guard on their deployments in sub-Saharan Africa, it was a viscous and oily substance that did a real job on the complexions of the fair-faced fellows in the team. Unfortunately the oily aspect, originally intended to have the positively-regarded side effect of making officers quick on the draw, had an arguably even more insidious impact on the Stokey boys.  Sun, sweat and army-grade suncream combined to make the cricket ball as slippery as a fisherman’s dinner.  13 catches went down.

169 was posted by the old Actonians.  Zabe Mohammad took five wickets, bowling with real pace and a real broken nose.  Irfan Momand had eight catches dropped off his bowling.  Zazai, Ishaq Raheel and the Hackney Downs Boss all bowled extremely tidily without the luck they deserved.

Match teas were served and enjoyed.  R Chadwick’s aged grandmother who had come to watch her excellently-talented grandson drop some catches commented favourably on the state of the sandwiches.  Having gained the seal of approval from an OAP with nearly 90 years of sandwich-making experience under her belt, Old Actonians took to the field, eager to snuffle out the early wickets that would put Stokey Bears under pressure.

Unfortunately, their opening bowlers had to contend with Sneaky Pete at his duplicitous best and a notably sober skipper Scott.  The Stoke Newington Bears/Dragons/People cruised to 50 in no time at all, causing granny Chadwick to lament the fact that no wickets had fallen and that her dashing grandson wasn’t at the crease.  Eventually wickets started to fall.  Joel Bayley came in and stroked the ball around the ground like a man who had nearly scored a hundred against a load of 50 year-old champagne socialists the week before.   After lofting a genuinely beautiful extra cover drive for four, he remembered that the only reason he had actually bothered turning up was to watch Sarafat Ali bat.  He got out and scurried back to the vantage point of the pavilion to watch his main man swing the blade. Not wanting to disappoint his burgeoning fan club, Ali went about knocking off the remaining runs.  He formed a delightful double act with Jamaican Hodayne Bryce, who seemed intent on winning the game in quick singles.

Very soon the game was over and Stokey Bears celebrated with a drink in the Old Actonians’ clubhouse. It was a round enjoyed by all and accidentally paid for by the usually parsimonious R Chadwick; I think he felt like he had to contribute to the day somehow…

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (112-4 in 35 overs) won by 6 wickets against Actonians 2s (111 a/o in 33 overs)

On a sunny but windswept day at Hackney Marshes, table-toppers Stokey 2s won the toss and put Old Actonians into bat first.  A wicket in the first over set the tone and Stokey bowled Old Actonians out for 111.  Hussain Shah contributed four wickets, with two each from Montasir Rahman and Irfan Zakhel. 

Chasing 112 to win the 2s decided to uncharacteristically and sensibly apply themselves and won the game in 35 overs and with plenty of wickets to spare.  This chase was masterminded by stand-in skipper Kartik Khatri who scored 62 not out. 

Still top but a long way to go... 

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (43 a/o in 16.2 overs) lost by 65 runs to Edmonton 3s (108 a/o in 27 overs)

Taking a break from the league with a challenging friendly away at Edmonton, the 3s acquitted themselves well in the field, dismissing their hosts for just 108.  Rahem Khan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.  However, a young batting line-up struggled against a top-quality attack as they fell well short on 43 all out.  This was a tough test against strong opposition and will hopefully be good preparation for when the league campaign resumes against Alexandra Park this Saturday. 

Junior highlights

  • More than 100 juniors attend SNCC’s annual U8s/U9s festival at Hackney Marshes!

  • U10As beat Primrose Hill in a tense finish at the Marshes to go top of Division 1, while the U10Bs make it eight wins from eight in Division 2.

  • U12As win their final league match of the season against Brondesbury (with 50* for skipper Sid Conyers and 45 for Alfie Matthews) to take the lead in Division 1. 

  • U21s secure a winning draw in their opening match in the Middlesex Development League – 76 for U17 Stan Greenleaf and five wickets for U17 Jameel Mulla.

League round-up for Week 6 (Saturday 15 June)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (137-7 in 50 overs) get a losing draw against SKLPC 1s (208-9 in 50 overs)

Last Saturday saw the end of overs and the beginning of the timed format, aka adding an extra ten overs to the match and allowing the team batting second to block out for a draw to avoid giving the oppo any points. As it turned out, this was a rule Stokey would be grateful for at around about pm.


After getting put in on a sticky wicket SKLPC were able to negotiate a good start by the Bears by staging a middle-order recovery.  For once the Stokey boys fielded well (only putting down one chance and actually taking a run out, but in truth the wicket was quite dead and it proved hard to get the batsmen out once set and SKLPC’s number five shepperded them to a decent total.  The niche sledge of the season (which will be hard to beat) came from Joel Bayley, and was the accusation that the opposition’s batting line up resembled a leptokurtic kurtosis distribution, however this turned out to be demonstrably false when number 9 struck a six clean over two sets of trees as SKLPC declared on 208-9 off 50 overs.

Stokey started their chase feeling confident after the previous week's successful effort.  However they again got off to a terrible start as Josh Harrison inexplicably left a middle stump half volley to depart for a well-made quacker.  The Hodayne Bryce (the Hackney Boss) was promoted back to number 3 after his 50 in the previous game, and again he decided to curb his usual aggressive instincts - chipping the ball back to the bowler rather than mid-off on this occasion.  Skipper Scott fancied a bit of it on his birthday weekend and had promoted himself to open.  After getting off to a bit of a flyer to reach 19 he decided the fourth over was time to swish wildly at one and get cleaned up, which he duly did.  That bought Ishaq Raheel and Joel together and Ishaq knew that no collapse would be complete without a run out.  He obliged by running out Joel by two furlongs.  Next man Abul sadly continued his bad run of form - we love you Abdul, and the runs are round the corner.  We fear for the opposition who are inevitably about to suffer once you get in.

At this point the 1s were truly reeling with the score on 21-5.  However, Ishaq and new batter, Rob Chadwick dug in for a draw.  The scoring rate slowed to a crawl, but no one cared as Stokey played to the rules and blocked everything that came their way.  Great cricket boys! 

Rob Chadwick departed for a “gentlemen's 33” allowing a pumped-up Zazai with a deluded vision of victory to hammer/mishit a few to the boundary and then get out again.  The excitement was brief as the 1s finished their allotted 50 overs nowhere near their target on 137-7.  An honourable mention to Joe Kingsley-Smith who played a classy little knock late on to be there at the end.


WARMUP RATING - 7.5 (our Personal Best)
Messy at the start, hence not a higher rating, but by the end we actually looked like we could play cricket for once.  Encouraging…

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (101 a/o in 30.4 overs) won by 9 runs against Brentham 2s (92 a/o in 29.2 overs)

The 2s moved to the top of Division 2 after an astonishing comeback saw them beat league leaders Brentham by nine runs.  Having been put into bat on a difficult pitch, the 2s limped to 101 all out with only Skipper Sarafat Ali (33) making any real contribution.  At 87-4 Brentham were poised to romp home, needing only 15 runs for victory with six wickets in hand.

However, the match was turned on its head with the introduction to the attack of undergraduate spinner, Kartik Khatri.  His mesmerising leggies (combined with some injudicious slogging by the Brentham batters) brought him five wickets for four runs in five overs (including four maidens!).  At 92-9 the game had swung in Stokey’s favour before seamer Hussain Shah bowled out Brentham’s last man to send the travelling support wild! 

What a win! 

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (188-9 in 38.4 overs) won by 1 wicket against Finchley 4s (187 a/o in 39.2 overs)

At the Marshes Captain Sudeep Karumarathodi lost the toss for once and the 3s found themselves fielding against Finchley 4s.  An excellent bowling performance meant that Finchley were bowled out for 187 in the 40th over.  U15 left-arm seamer Archie Parnum produced excellent figures of 4-30, while U15 leggie Rayyan Patel was responsible for a huge momentum shift when he ripped one past Finchley’s star batter to have him stumped when ominously placed at 48. 

In reply Uzair Mohammed top scored with 27 as a series of contributions throughout the order (as well as a generous contribution of extras) meant that Stokey reached their target with one wicket to spare in a thrilling finish.  U13 Harley Gordon (on league debut) kept his cool to hit the winning run and finish on 16 not out. 

So another hard fought victory makes it four wins in a row and up to second in the Division 6A table.  The 3s have a break from league action this Saturday, but a busy weekend of friendlies means that there will be no rustiness when we welcome Alexandra Palace to the Marshes on 29 June. 

Junior highlights

  • U8s have a brilliant game away at Crouch End (and sneak their first win of the season!)

  • U10As go five wins from five with a hard-fought victory in the rain away at Primrose Hill, while the U10Bs make it seven wins from seven.

  • U11As and U11Bs do the double over Primrose Hill in two very tight matches.

  • A maiden fifty for Zain Gajia as the U15s prevail in their local derby with our friends and Marshes co-habitees, North London Muslims.

SNCC U8s at Crouch End last Sunday

SNCC U8s at Crouch End last Sunday

U13Bs win at the Marshes!

There was a comprehensive victory for the Stoke Newington U13Bs against North  Middlesex U13Cs last Saturday morning with great contributions from everyone.

Alfie won the toss and chose to bat, which ended up being the right decision despite the significant early swing achieved by the rapid North Midd opening bowlers getting him out cheaply. Archie, Sam and Jonah all contributed runs early with the team scoring at six an over from the outset. As wickets fell, Ted came in and steadied the ship with Rupert and then Henry came in and top scored with 27, bringing the total to 126 off 20 overs.

Jonah and Sam bowled excellent opening three-over spells, each taking  a wicket. They were supported by high-energy and excellent tight fielding by the whole team keeping North Midd to three an over. Henry kept very well in the first half of the innings, stopping some very pacey bowling and not conceding the byes that are so often a feature at this age group.


Even when North Midd did manage to play some shots, excellent boundary fielding from Jonty, Freddie and Archie kept their total down. No catches were dropped - with a good couple taken by Sam and an excellent one by Archie.

The restriction of the scoring continued with the slower bowlers - Freddy, Miles and Ted. Ted managed to get their best batsman out, stumped by Sid who had taken the gloves for the second half of the innings.  Miles took two wickets in his two-over spell, to go with the two wickets which Rupert had got with his pace bowling.

Stokey kept up the pace and energy in the field right to the end, with Alfie’s encouragement, responding well to the time pressure from seeing the senior teams turning up for the next match! North Middlesex ended on 77 for 7 - a win for Stokey by 49 runs.

SNCC - SNCC logo at Marshes.jpg

League round-up for Week 5 (Saturday 8 June)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (199-7 in 41.2 overs) won by three wickets against Tower Hamlets (197-9 in 45 overs)

Stokey 1s headed to Enfield to meet local rivals, Tower Hamlets.  Captain Doody called correctly and asked TH to bat.  This looked to be a good call as their opening bat ran past a half volley from Zabe in the opening over to lose his middle stump.  Amazingly, this wouldn’t turn out to be the most egregious first over of the innings dismissal of the match...

A good toss to win could have been a great toss to win if it wasn't for the 1s’ woeful fielding.  Eight dropped catches and two missed run outs, plus the usual smattering of singles in the ring when the ball was middled straight to our fielder, ensured that Tower Hamlets were able to post a very competitive-looking 197. 

Irfan Momand bowled with his usual accuracy and deception to pick up four wickets, denied a first five-for of the season only by Joel Bayley's unorthodox decision to play volley ball rather than go for the straightforward catch at point.  It was the second drop of the innings for the bleary-eyed, cold-sweating financier, giving him the dubious achievement of more dropped catches than hours sleep…  In other news, U17 Asad-Nabi Momand bowled a great opening spell and Ishaq Raheel's first ball somehow went for 9 (!?). 

After the best tea of the season so far, the Bears set about their innings knowing they'd also need to achieve their best run chase of the season to date.  However, the 1s made an awful start as Abul Nalla tried to slog sweep a ball from TH’s away-swinging seamer into next week, and only succeeded in getting triggered back to the dressing room. 

Josh Harrison and the promoted Ishaq Raheel set out rebuilding, and mixed all permutations of good and bad technique and running to establish a recovery partnership of 60-odd, before Ishaq chipped one up to mid-off.  That saw Joel stride to the crease, looking keen to demolish some average change bowling and gloriously lead the side to victory.  Sadly his ambitions were curtailed when he contrived to leave the second ball he faced only for it to hit his middle stump... 

Hodayne Bryce and Josh then steadily accumulated runs until drinks, knocking ones and twos around and picking up the odd boundary.  Shortly after drinks Josh brought up his maiden first team 50, to the rapturous applause of the travelling Stokey fans.  On a day where the Bears really needed Hodayne not to hit one straight to cover/mid on for 15-ish, the big man obliged, looking more fluent as his innings progressed with well-placed pulls and glides off the spinners.   Alas Josh had injured his knee and was truly immobile, so decided the best thing to do was hit a few boundaries.  After getting a couple away, and hospitalising a TH fielder with a cover drive, he finally hit one straight to extra-cover to depart for 66. 

Skipper Scott then played an entertaining cameo, full of inventive scoops and flicks.  As the “Hackney Boss” bought up his 50 at the other end with a massive six over square leg, it looked like the game was over.  However, it wouldn't have been Stokey without throwing a few needless wickets away.  Scott was controversially given out lbw, before Hodayne obligingly chipped one up to cover.  Luckily by the time the collapse came we needed single figures to win at about one run per over. Even we couldn't mess that up and Zazai was the man to hit the winning runs with a text book edge /glide for four.  C’MON THE BEARS!!!!

WARMUP RATING - 6: Caught ok but some tragic throws.  Makes one question its usefulness given our terrible fielding in the match… 

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (226 a/o in 45 overs) won by 63 runs against Chiswick 2s (168 a/o in 39.3 overs)

The 2s’ first game at the Marshes this season saw them take on Chiswick with a force 9 gale blowing across the greenest wicket on the planet…  

Skipper Sarafat Ali Lost the toss and and the 2s were asked to bat.  We thought we had witnessed the slowest over rate ever the previous week until Chiswick piped up with nine (?!) overs an hour.   226 runs later (with fifties for Sarafat and U17 Stan Greenleaf), tea was taken with a Caribbean influence courtesy of the Windrush Cricket Day which was taking place in and around the Marshes pavilion. 

When play resumed, the Stokey attack coped better with the blustery conditions and Chiswick were bowled out for 168 with Monty Rahman taking 4-30.  Stokey move to second in the table with four wins from five and face leaders Brentham this Saturday. 

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (192-8 in 42.3overs) won by 2 wickets against North London 5s (191 a/o in 43.4 overs)

The occasionally quirky geography of the lower echelons of the Middlesex County Cricket League meant that the 3s had to travel to East London (E17 to be precise) to find their opponents, North London 5s. 

Captain Sudeep won the toss (as he spookily always does) and given the damp weather of the morning and the forecast of improvement throughout the day was happy to insert his opponents who proceeded to score 191 all out, not quite finishing their allotted overs.  Uzair was the pick of the bowlers with 3-33, but Joe, Sudeep and Archie all chipped in with two wickets apiece. 

At the half-way mark Stokey knew that the target was achievable but would need at least one significant partnership.  Luckily for the nerves of Stokey, that partnership was the first of the innings with openers Vivek Sarohia (on debut) and U17 Michael Tucker putting on 89 together until Michael was out on 34. Vivek went on to score 73, and with useful contributions throughout the order (including U15 Mueez Taj with 21) the 3s made it home with two wickets and 15 balls to spare. 

A hard-fought victory that in many ways is even more encouraging than the 155-run margins of the previous two league matches.  The timed games begin next week - who fancies 50 overs in the field? Nobody of course, not even Duncan - so bowl them out! 

Junior highlights

·         U12As beat Primrose Hill to move top of the league with three matches to play

·         U12Bs win away at Primrose Hill for their first victory of the season

·         U10 Girls finally get to play and win two matches in a weekend!

·         Brilliant turn-out at our introductory coaching session for U13/U15 girls (Saturdays from 10.30am to 12 noon)

SNCC - SNCC logo at Marshes.jpg

League round-up for Week 4 (Saturday 1 June)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (133 a/o in 39 overs) lost by 58 runs to South Hampstead 1s (191 a/o in 44.3 overs)

For the second time this season Stokey faced another title contender. Sadly, for the second time they fell short.

In baking heat and on a wicket not offering much for the new ball, the 1s decided the best way was to talk the oppo out. It worked briefly as, fresh from smiting a couple of ugly hacks, big Leroy snicked off against U17 fast bowler Joe Kingsley-Smith, giving the red-headed tyro a well-deserved maiden first team wicket.

As the afternoon wore on Stokey's fielding (which had been right on the money at the outset) became more ragged with four chances being dropped. South Hampstead didn’t fair much better in the heat - mercifully limping to 191 as one after another they never really got going. The only real highlight of the innings was the oppo's skipper calling his opposite number a porcupine whilst umpiring from square leg, in one of the stranger sledging incidents seen in Hackney.

The total may have seemed under-par, but the 1's collective ability to chip the ball to fielders in the ring ensured that it was about 50 too many. The lower order put in some resistance, and for a while, with Zabe Mohammed at the crease, a trace of belief was starting to return. But cricket is a cruel game and that belief soon turned to heartbreak. A bit shout-out to Leroy who huffed off after an appeal went against him, leaving a South Hampstead veteran to finish off the wicketkeeping duties.

WARM-UP RATING: 7/10

Big improvement from the previous week. Fewer instructions seemed play to the Bears’ strength.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (160-4 in 34 overs) won by six wickets against South Hampstead 2s (158 a/o in 32 overs)

South Hampstead in the sun - a lovely place to watch an over rate of ten overs per hour from Stokey’s bowlers… who redeemed themselves by bowling out South Hampstead for a below-par 158 with Monty Rahman the pick of the attack. After an excellent matchday tea of jerk chicken, the 2s knocked off the runs in quick time with a second successive fifty for Kartik Khatri and 45* for skipper Sarafat Ali. And everyone got home in time to watch the footie!

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (270-9 in 45 overs) won by 155 runs against Highgate 5s (115 a/o in 39.3 overs)

After the previous week’s victory over Crouch End, the 3s arrived at the Marshes in confident mood and stand-in skipper, U17 Jonas Nisse, proceeded to win the toss and bat on a scorching hot day. Alas, ill-disciplined batting from the top-order in the face of a determined effort from the Highgate attack left the 3s tottering at 122 for seven, despite a breezy 33 from Rahem Khan. Fortunately skipper Jonas (61*) dug in and played a real captain’s knock with counter-attacking support from wily veteran Sardar Rashid (35) and a mature innings from U14 James Grinham. The stage was then set for a pinch-hitting cameo at the death from Hackney legend, Simon Hore (20*), which took the 3s to an imposing 270-9.

Highgate battled hard but never looked like reaching their target, particularly after a stifling opening burst from Simon Hore who rolled back the years with figures of one for seven in eight overs. With wickets shared around the Stokey attack, Highgate were eventually bowled out for 115, leaving the hosts picking up their second successive league win.

Junior highlights

  • 83* for Atticus Endean as U12As continue their title push with victory over Hornsey

  • U15s pick up their first win of the season with a seven-wicket win away at Hampstead (and 75* for Remy Mitchell)

  • Our Cricket World Cup Event is this Saturday (8 June) at the Marshes from 12.30pm to 5pm – all welcome!

The 3s’ high-intensity pre-match warm-up…

The 3s’ high-intensity pre-match warm-up…

Mid-season junior newsletter!

As spring quickly turns to summer the SNCC cricket season rattles along and there’s masses to tell you about…

SNCC at the heart of The Hundred

So you’re the England and Wales Cricket Board and you want to launch the logo of your much-maligned new flagship tournament – who you going to call? Stoke Newington of course. Yep, for those who didn’t catch this social media moment, SNCC was chosen to make the announcement via its social media channels. Twitter and Instagram, newspapers and news websites around the world, lit up on 15th May with the photo which included four of Stokey’s finest: Oscar Parnum (9), Archie Parnum (14), Kiran Parmar (11) and Stan Greenleaf (16).

While the general public reception for the logo was consistent with the negative response to the planned tournament as whole, it certainly lifted the profile of the club and gained us some new friends in high places on Twitter, including former England captains, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the club’s new website do now. You’ll notice the news section is much more active with regular match reports.

Social media

Thanks to Mark Smout (Ellis and Dulcie’s dad) we now have an active Instagram account @stokeycricket and use the same handle to get regular updates on Twitter. If you have photos you’d like to share on social media please do send them to Duncan.

On the field…

With 19 teams taking to the field every week, the club has never been busier. The 1st and 2nd XIs have had a strong start to the season in Division 1 of the Middlesex Championship, while the 3rds are on a two-match winning streak and our 4th XI have taken the field for friendlies the last two Saturdays and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

For the juniors, the U10s are setting the standard so far with the As in second place in their league and the Bs unbeaten after five games. The U17s and U11s have reached the final and semi-final of their respective Area Cups.

For full details check out the news page of the club website.

Off the field…

Please join us in raising a glass to our new sponsors: Highbury Vintners and Canary Wharf Contractors Fund. While the club continues to grow and prosper we remain reliant on the generosity and support of local businesses for big ticket items and the academy programme to ensure the club’s best players have the best opportunity to reach their potential. You’ll be receiving an introductory letter from Highbury Vintners shortly – look out for the special SNCC-only offer. Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters – including long-term headline sponsor Asset Fruit. If you know of a business or organisation that would like to support the club please contact Tom Tanner (07976 288 636 & tomsgtanner@gmail.com).

Cricket World Cup Day/Windrush Cricket Day at the Marshes – this Saturday (8 June)

Please join us at The Marshes for this double celebration of cricket as we remember the halcyon days of West Indian cricket, look to reignite interest in cricket in that community and use the world’s biggest festival of cricket to reach out to all youngsters. There will be kwik cricket, a Dads vs Lads match, as well as masterclasses in the nets, a cake sale and free Caribbean cuisine on offer (courtesy of Hackney Council).

If you would like to lend a hand, bake a cake or play in the dads v lads match, please contact Duncan. Or just come along and have fun! It all starts around 12.30pm.

End of Season Awards Presentation – Saturday 13 July

Save the date for this annual event, where every player receives a medal and we recognise the club’s outstanding performers – the one day in the year for the whole club to come together and celebrate. Food, drink and cricket - Saturday 13 July. Full details to follow.

Round-up for League Week 3 (Saturday 25 May)

League round-up for Week 3 (Saturday 25 May)

1st XI

SNCC 1s (285-8 in 45 overs) won by 218 runs against Headstone Manor 1s (67 a/o in 23.4 overs)

The Bank Holiday weekend saw Headstone Manor come to the famed Marshes looking to inflict a second straight defeat on the mighty Stokey. But just like with tigers, beware the wounded bear…

After winning the toss and inviting Stokey to bat on a perfect batting day, Headstone Manor must have fancied their chances after opener Abul Nalla kicked his first ball off middle stump in the second over and fell LBW. That bought Hodayne Bryce to the crease and for ten glorious balls he batted like god. Runs reigned from the other end too as sneaky Pete peppered the cover boundary with pomp and regularity. Unfortunately their patnership was to be curtailed on 41 as Hodyane chipped a simple catch to mid on who took an absolute speccy one-handed.

Captain Scott came to the crease and he filled his boots with Hody's missed runs - creaming 42 round the park in quick time to catch up with Sneaky Pete. However, just as he started to have vision of something big, he sliced one straight to point. Next man in Joel had decided to take the Afghan match preperation method of staying out till 4am - it served him well! After playing and missing his first two balls, he smashed his third delivery like a KP cover drive on the up, but straight into the keeper's hands. Everyone in Hackney heard the snick except the one man that mattered whoes finger remained down. If you have ever wondered whether Joel was a “walker”, the answer is emphatically no.

That moment curtailed any hopes Headstone Manor had of coming back into the contest as Joel and Pete continued where the previous partnership had left off. They played a selection of sumptuous late cuts and glides to the third-man boundary, and it seemed that the opposition skipper was unaware he was allowed to put a fielder down there. Both men reach well-deserved fifties at close to a run a ball.

Joel finally departed shortly after reaching his 50, but Pete continued to march on, looking well set for a first ton in Stokey colours, until he sneaked off for 84 when he holed out to deep mid-wicket. A series of useful cameos followed, with Josh Harrison and Ishaq Raheel each chipping with 20-odds in the last ten overs, before Khpalwak Zazai added some final spice to the innings hitting 19 off the last over and lifting stokey to a daunting 285-8 from their 45 overs.


After a glorious Marshes tea, Zabe Mohammad started bang on the money, hooping in the first ball of the innings in to knock back the opener’s off stump on route to taking 3 for 17. From the other end U17 Asad-Nabi Momand bowled with real pace heat but couldn't quite find the winning length to take the wickets he probably deserved. First-change seamer Irfan Momand settled into his own spell - bowling dot after dot, nibbling it this way and that and picking up a couple of wickets, as Hodyane and Ishaq made difficult catches look straightforward. Hodayne in particular swooped like a hungry seagull to pouch his chance.

Not to be kept out of the game Zazai continued his fine form with the ball as he picked up the ridiculous figures of 4 for 4 in seven overs! Seamer Ishaq was introduced and picked up a wicket first ball as Joel stuck his hand out in hope and found the ball had stuck in. By his point Headstone Manor were about 63-9 and seemed content in trying the impossible - holding out for a draw in an overs game! However the resilient dead-batting from their number 11 didn't last long, as he too fell to Zazai giving the Stokey Bears a massive victory by over 218 runs and sending a clear message to the rest of the league.


WARMUP RATING
5/10 - maybe ok for talented under 15s, but it proved too complicated for the 1s who never really got to grips with who was meant to be running where…

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (157 a/o in 42.2 overs) won by 76 runs against Bessborough Kay Plus 2s (81 a/o in 28 overs)

After another long journey out west to Harrow (an hour and 20 minutes!), the 2s batted first and fought hard to reach 156. Number 3 Kartik Khatri anchored the innings with his maiden Stokey league fifty (61), supported by a quickfire 24 from opener Soyfur Rahman.

After a quick turn-around, the 2s skittled Bessborough Kay Plus for 81 to seal victory by 76 runs. Seamer Hussain Shah was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets (including a hat-trick!).

All the 2s are looking forward to yet another away trip next week....

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (332-5 in 45 overs) won by 155 runs against Crouch End 4s (176 a/o in 39.2 overs)

The 3s secured their first league win of the season with a pyrotechnic batting display against Crouch End 4s. On a glorious day, Skipper Sudeep Karamurathodi won the toss and elected to bat, whereupon openers Jamie Cox (85) and Angus Muir (55) blasted a 143-run opening stand from just 19 overs. The middle-order maintained the scoring rate with contributions from U15 Remy Mitchell (70), Imran Ali (41) and U17 Michael Tucker (32) as the 3s raced to a huge 332 for 5 from their 45 overs.

In response, Crouch End were always behind the run-rate and their innings was prolonged only by a high-quality 91 from their number 3, Jay, and some quite appalling fielding – seven catches dropped in the first 20 overs! There were three wickets for medium-pacer Rahem Ali Khan, but excellent bowling too from George Neyhus and Rayyan Patel, both of whom suffered badly from the many lapses in the field.

A comprehensive win for the 3s and a fine batting performance, but there’ll be lots of fielding drills at practice this week…

Junior highlights

  • U10As move up to second place in the table with a win away at Brondesbury

  • U10Bs make it five wins out of five

  • Great away win for the U11As at Hornsey

  • U15s lose out away at Hornsey in a knife-edge thriller, but six-hitting Mueez Taj bombs a maximum from the middle of the square into the tennis courts at midwicket!

3s score a mammoth 331!

3s score a mammoth 331!

Round-up for League Week 2 (Saturday 18 May)

1st XI

Kenton (186 a/o in 39.4 overs) beat SNCC 1s (145 a/o in 38.1 overs) by 41 runs

Kenton away was always going to be a difficult fixture. Firstly, where is Kenton? Secondly, why would anyone go to Kenton? And thirdly, and most pressingly, how do you play against a team who change the rules of the game midway through a match? Fourthly and completely irrelevantly, Kenton are alright at cricket.

And so Stokey’s plucky young bucks travelled into the north-west London abyss, hoping to find an appropriate green space and agreeable opposition that would enable them to play their second game of the season. They almost found both and in doing so found neither. Upon arrival the smallest ground in the world confronted them, with confusing and suspiciously-nuanced additional rules added to a sport that is infamous for its confusing and suspiciously-nuanced rules.

Scott won the toss and elected to bowl. A decision in keeping with the values and philosophy of the club. Zabe, as is traditional, hurled down some vicious deliveries that tied the opposition batsman in knots. Despite the tiny outfield and flat pitch it looked like Stokey would be able to gain the upper hand. However, at this point double-agent Chadwick took up the ball from the other end, and sent down four overs of tepid medium pace. Over the course of the spell two balls got lost in people’s back gardens, and the exuberance of the Stokey fielders had diminished slighty. Fortunately, our Afghan contingent were bowling like a dream, with both Zabe Mohammad (2 for 24) and Khapalwak Zazai (4 for 25) restricting and taking wickets. The game ebbed and flowed majestically, with both sides providing some textbook examples of cricket. Zazai, fresh from his excellent bowling performance the week prior, span a web of treachery and deceit that was so sneaky that even the great Sneaky Pete himself would be proud. It enabled the 1s to bowl out Kenton for an under-par 186 and leave the field feeling pretty good about themselves **.

**except for double-agent Rob who also dropped a sitter and watched a ball roll for four in front of him.

After a tea that overpromised and underdelivered, it was time for the 1s to bat. Josh and Abul opened the batting, in doing so overtaking Kevin Pietersen and James Taylor for the world record for “the biggest height difference in batting partners”… It was the only record they were to set that day. After a mix-up Josh departed, run out. Soon after Hodayne followed him. In fact, the Stokey batsmen seemed intent on getting out as quickly as possible. Luckily Abul was playing one of the most beautiful innings in the history of cricket, depositing the Kenton bowlers into random gardens with sickening ease. He cruised to 50 in no time at all and looked to be winning the game single-handedly. However, cricket is a cruel and uncompromising mistress, and soon Abul got out for a well-made and tragically-curtailed 60.

Fortunately Stokey rallied through the guiding hand of Joel, who hit a few fours. He also played loads of balls without scoring, instead “occupying the crease”. It was these actions that brought the game into its final and most heart-wrenching twist. With Stokey needing 70 runs to win with a mere four wickets in hand, enter double-agent Chadwick. Having stuck around with no real intent, Chadwick found himself confronted with a lukewarm half-volley on middle stump. He dully manoeuvred himself into position to unfurl his trademark forward defence, only to find (horror of horrors) that he hit it a bit too hard… The ball rolled onto the stumps at the other end, with Joel short of his crease. The umpire’s finger forced Joel to depart.

Now I know what you are thinking... the ball has to touch a member of the opposition before it hits the stumps in order for it to be given run out. However, Kenton’s loose interpretation of the rules of cricket seemed to have been adopted by the umpire, and he flung his finger in the air without a care in the world. Double Agent Chadwick then surrendered his wicket without adding any runs to the total. Despite Zabe and Asad-Nabi’s best efforts, SNCC fell short by 41 runs.

And so it was a chastening loss for the Stokey boys - a loss that put previous wins into perspective, and made them think deeply about their own performances. It was a loss that forced them to re-evaluate the rules, laws and “spirit of cricket” and, most importantly of all, a loss that forced them to consider why anyone would willingly travel to Kenton.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (210-9 in 45 overs) lost by one wicket to Wycombe House 2s (211-9 in 42 overs)

At a cloudy, but beautiful, London Fields and with a bohemian ambience enveloping proceedings, the 2s managed to bat for 45 overs for first time in living memory. Dilnawaz Ali (43) and Kartik Khatri (29) top-scored for the hosts. Alas this wasn’t enough to stop a well-drilled Wycombe House picking the gaps (and certain fielders!) to cross the winning line with just one wicket in hand. Returning Stokey die-hard, Irfan Momand, was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (128 a/o in 45 overs) lost by seven wickets to Winchmore Hill 4s (129-3 in 25.3 overs)

Having won one and lost one (each by one wicket) against Winchmore Hill 4s last season, the 3s travelled north expecting a close contest, but confident that they could bring ten points home. However, having won the toss and elected to bat the Stokey innings never really got going on a turning pitch with a slow-ish outfield. Wickets fell at regular intervals as the 3s fought hard to recover from 61 for 5 to bat out the full 45 overs and post 128 all out. Michael Tucker's composed 26 and a belligerent 20 with the tail from returning captain Sudeep Karumathodi were the top scores.

An opening partnership of 79 soon put the target into perspective and Winchmore eased to a seven- wicket victory inside 26 overs.

Junior highlights

· U8s enjoy a great away trip to play Primrose Hill in Regents Park

· U10As beat league-leaders Hampstead by 16 runs in a high-quality contest

· U10Bs make it four wins out of four in a roller-coaster match away at North London

· U13s Josh Clarke (37) and Harley Gordon (44) star for East London Borough U14s in the Middlesex Borough Championships.

· U15s lose out to top-of-the table North Middlesex, but Mueez Taj straight-drives a mighty six uphill over the sightscreen!

· All Stars Cricket Stokey-style kicks off in Millfields Park (Sundays, 10am to 11am).

2’s temporary sightscreens looking great at SNCC’s “out-ground” at the beautiful London Fields. Luckily the wind stayed away…

2’s temporary sightscreens looking great at SNCC’s “out-ground” at the beautiful London Fields. Luckily the wind stayed away…

Why we can't wait for The Hundred!

Just over ten years ago when it was announced that London would be the venue for the 2012 Olympics, after the initial hooping and hollering, you could sense the audible sigh go around the country. The feeling of dread. That we’d be found out – again. That London would deliver an embarrassing mess of a Games, the transport system would crumble, the weather would be rubbish and no one would bother to go and watch much either.

Look me in the metaphorical eye and tell me that London 2012 wasn’t the last time that it felt really good to be a Londoner, a Brit and a lover of all sports. From Danny Boyle’s breath-taking, awe-inspiring, funny and uniquely British opening ceremony, through three weeks of almost non-stop sunshine, precious few tube and traffic meltdowns, the spine-tingling Super Saturday and a once in a lifetime feeling of bonhomie, London rocked.

Stand on what we lovingly and grandly call the show pitch at Stoke Newington Cricket Club’s Hackney Marshes home and you can see the stadium (even hear the West Ham fans cheer on the odd occasion their team scores), the swimming pool and the velodrome. It’s an incredible reminder of the power of sport.

With tremendous support from both the ECB and Football Foundation, we are the fastest-growing, and one of the most successful cricket clubs in London, if not the UK. These two sports organisations helped fund a brand-new pavilion, new pitches and outdoor nets (the first-ever in Hackney). Since we launched the club just 20 years ago, thousands of young people have been introduced to cricket. Starting out with plastic bats and balls, many of those nippers are now turning out for our adult sides. With the support of the ECB, plus of course an incredible band of volunteers and ace professional coaches, we’re incredibly proud not only to be growing a game they call a basket-case, but also providing a sporting chance to more than 200 kids every single week of the year.

While the Hundred may not feel like everyone’s cup of tea (judging by some of the replies to our launch tweet!) – particularly those already enamoured of the greatest game on earth, let’s reserve judgment on its success or failure at least until the end of its first season. If we’d asked the great British public to vote on whether we should have hosted the Olympics and whether it would have succeeded, it’s more than likely that Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jess Ennis would never have had their day in the sun. This club for one, like a good opening batsman, will wait, watch and then attack or defend - but we can't wait for it to start!

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Round-up for League Week 1 (Saturday 11 May)

1st XI

Alexandra Park 1s (118 a/o in 37.3 overs) lost by seven wickets to SNCC 1s (119-3 in 16.5 overs)

A festival of cricket greeted both home and visiting players on their arrival at Hackney Marshes. The new pavilion, resplendent in its early season glory, was a hubbub of chatter and excitement as the juniors finished their training sessions.  Eventually the final stragglers made their way to the café and the 1s ambled out of the changing room, ready for the first league game of 2019. 

After the obligatory early-season thunderstorm had been negotiated (aided by the excellent new mobile covers), Skipper Scott won the toss and decided to bowl first.  Whereupon opening bowler, Zabe, carried on from where he left off last season and went about dismantling AP’s top order.  20 overs later and AP’s top-order were reeling, with Zabe returning figures of 5 for 14 off nine overs.  Some slightly more attritional overs followed, with AP limping along at two an over.  Wickets fell to the wily spin of Zazai and the unerring accuracy of Rob, with Ishaq swooping in to clean up the tail.  AP finished on 118, a potential banana skin of a score on a green, seaming May pitch.  

Perhaps they don’t sell bananas where opening bat Pete is from, for he certainly refused to register the potential dangers of scoring runs on a sticky wicket.  Both him and Abul got the innings off to a flier, racing along at six an over.  Hubris is the downfall of many and even Sneaky Pete could not allude its grasp forever.  Having plinked a six over the ropes he fell to the very next ball attempting another glorious maximum.  His failure to do so brought momentary joy to the opposition, but also meant that Hodayne found himself at the crease... 

They say that one wickets brings two, and they were right!  Not long after Sneakers got out, Abul followed suit having compiled a typically classy 28. Seemingly unbothered by this Hodayne started to score freely, culminating with a glorious six into the car park.  With Stokey on 114, he decided he would let someone else have a turn, and chipped up a catch.  This brought Joel out to the middle. Wanting to share in the glory he charged down the pitch and had a massive yahoo at a wide ball. The ball was so wide in fact that the keeper was unable to stump him and he returned sheepishly to his crease, victory achieved…dignity damaged. 

2nd XI

Alexandra Park 2s (102 a/o in 36.3 overs) lost by one wicket to SNCC 2s (103-9 in 40.1 overs)

Early-season rustiness and May showers dogged both teams’ efforts.  And things weren’t helped by a slightly-under prepared wicket (and we’ve seen a few of these at the Marshes in its early days) and a “luxuriant” outfield which might not have encountered a mower since the end of last season.  Unfortunately, all this produced a standard of cricket which apparently should never be discussed or mentioned to anyone who didn't witness the atrocity - where Extras top scored for both teams! 

Less said the better, but the 2s sneaked across the line by one wicket in a nerve-shredding finish and ten points is ten points… 

3rd XI

North Middlesex 5s (191-9 in 45 overs) win by 77 runs against SNCC 3s (114 a/o in 32 overs)

An experienced North Middlesex proved a bit too strong for the 3s.  Consistent bowling kept the visitors in check on a pitch that played much better than expected on a showery afternoon.  U15s paceman, Archie Parnum, was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 44 off nine overs, while there was also a wicket on debut for spinner Hamza.

In reply, top-order batters Soyfur, Michael and George all got starts, but without pushing on to the kind of substantial innings that might have seen the 3s chase down their target.  In the end debutant Joe Ling top scored with an unbeaten 21 as Stokey fell 77 runs short.

Junior highlights

·         22 of our U8s & U9s played their first games of the season last weekend at the Marshes

·         U10Bs make it three wins out of three

·         Archie Mullen takes five wickets for one run (including a hat-trick!) as U13As win by  two wickets away at Primrose Hill

·         U13Bs edge a thiller against North London U13B by six runs

·         Our U13/U15 girls have a great first training session of the season last Saturday – all welcome!

·         U10 Girls play their first match next Saturday!

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U13Bs hold nerve to win a nail-biter at North London!

Well done to the U13Bs who held on to win a tight, entertaining game away at North London by six runs (in front of visiting Spanish photographer, Raul Ruz).

SNCC: 125 for 4

NLCC: 119 for 6

Winning the toss, SNCC opted to bat first. After losing an early wicket, Jonah and Ted established a partnership. Jonah was driving well and reached 32 before being run out. Good knocks too for Ted (14) Elijah (12no) and Archie (19no) pushed up the total to 125.

Our opening bowlers Sam and Gabriel restricted NL with some unplayably fast deliveries early on. Fielding and communication was good and the team was working well together under Ted’s captaincy. Some sharp keeping too by Sid and later Henry. Sid made a great stumping from Michael’s tricky spin.

Wickets for Sam and Gabriel were followed by Jonah - who set up a hat-tick chance with two quick wickets. Unfortunately, this only brought NLCC’s impressive Fernando to the crease, who started hitting plenty of boundaries in an unbeaten 50+ innings. This left NLCC needing 12 from the last two overs. Sam and Archie bowled these really tightly, backed up by some great team fielding to keep the aforementioned Fernando off strike. Archie took a wicket with the final ball, leaving NLCC just six runs short.

Well done. Great effort. Those boys who didn’t get to bat today will be moved up the order in the next game.

Raul takes a quick snap of our victorious U13Bs (who showed Barcelona how to do it…).

Raul takes a quick snap of our victorious U13Bs (who showed Barcelona how to do it…).

U13As clinch last-over win in the Marshes tundra...

North Middlesex U13A: 112-8 off 20 overs v SNCC U13A: 113-1 off 19 overs, Saturday 27 April at the Marshes

An early start and Storm Hannah couldn’t quell the enthusiasm from both sets of players yesterday. A tense and cagey affair with the batsmen finding it hard to score freely. A tight opening spell from Atticus and Sam kept the North Middlesex batters pinned down. Ellis, Harley and Felix then shared 7 wickets before North Midd threw caution to the wind and pushed on to a total of 112.

In reply, the Stokey openers cautiously nudged along, just about keeping up with the required run rate. Archie, seemingly impatient with the short stuff being thrown down at him by North Midd’s excellent opening attack, swatted away a couple of boundaries out of long legs reach. This set the tone for some more expansive batting and when Atticus came to the crease the ball started to find the gaps with more frequency. The Stokey boys made it home in the 19th over.

Congratulations to Archie for an unyielding performance in tough conditions - 43 n.o - with Atticus unbeaten on 27 and Josh opening up with 18. Well done to both teams for making this a thoroughly enjoyable game to watch.

A new pavilion, new nets, new website – a new era?

It’s just about 20 years now since a group of keen cricketing dads, unable to find a club to teach their young sons this great game, got together and formed Stoke Newington Club.  You’ll spot one of those founding fathers, Simon Hore, still playing an active part in the adult teams.  It’s easy to forget that even as recently as ten years ago SNCC had no outdoor pitches of its own, making do with training on an uncut strip of grass at Clissold Park.

Now, at the very end of 2018, we can look ahead to our first summer with our own pitches, pavilion and practice nets – the envy of our North London rivals who for years have bemoaned the shoddy facilities of their poor East London cousins.

The new facilities are fabulous, and we are hoping to make even better use of the pavilion over the coming summers.  But bricks and mortar aren’t what make a great cricket club.  We’ve been lucky over the last 20 years to find a steady stream of willing and dedicated volunteers to step forward and coach or manage teams and drive young players to matches all over the capital. Others have helped oversee the welfare of our juniors, or have umpired, scored, baked cakes, distributed club kit, organised annual awards ceremonies,  designed and built our bespoke storage room (?!) in the pavilion - or created this terrific new website.

The club cannot function without the contribution of all of these volunteers.  We are in the process of bolstering our club committee and roster of people prepared to do their bit for the club, however small.  Everyone who is a member of the club or a parent of a member will know Duncan and the monumental part he plays in ensuring SNCC functions and functions well.

In case you didn’t know, we’re lucky enough to boast 275 juniors.  In the winter of 2018 our teams won a national indoor title and three County indoor titles.  And last summer, our U15s and U17s were County runners-up and our U10s were County semi-finalists.  SNCC also has eight boys and two girls training this winter with Middlesex County Age Group Squads, including a trialist for the England Lions Disability Squad.  We need help to continue this growth in numbers and success on the pitch.

Ask not what your cricket club can do for you - ask what you can do for your cricket club!  If you have something to offer this fantastic club, please do get in touch, either with Duncan (at duncanandliz@btinternet.com) or me, the club secretary (at tomsgtanner@gmail.com).

We hope you can join us in building a partnership for the next 20 years of SNCC.

Tom Tanner

Club Secretary

Cricketers wanted for SNCC’s Senior teams – all welcome!

London’s fastest growing cricket club is looking for new recruits to its Senior squad. Stoke Newington Cricket Club, formed in 1999, now fields four adult teams (as well as U21 & U19 sides and 14 junior teams!) so there’ll be plenty of cricket for everyone next summer, whether you’re looking to play high-level league cricket or recreational friendlies. 

We play at the legendary Hackney Marshes which, as well as being the centre of Sunday League football, is the hub for cricket in East London. We have a fantastic new pavilion, some of the best wickets in the city and the only outdoor nets in Hackney (with four net lanes!). 

Our 1st and 2nd XIs play in Division 1 of the Middlesex Championship. Our 3rds are in the Middlesex 1987 League and we’ll also have a Sunday team playing friendlies. With our 1sts being promoted three times in the last four seasons years and our 2nds having been promoted two years running, we are East London’s most dynamic cricket club and we are aiming for promotion to the Middlesex County Leagues within the next three years.

Indoor training for our Senior squad takes place on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9pm at Bridge Academy (Laburnum St, E2 8BA), starting on Monday 7 January. The sessions will be led by SNCC's Director of Cricket, Gordon Summerfield - a professional level 3 coach who also coaches County Junior Squads at the Middlesex Academy. 

If you’re interested in joining London’s fastest-growing cricket club, please get in touch via the club website or by email (at sncc@btinternet.com) or contact 1st XI captain, Scott Doody (07739 393 462).