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…