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)

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