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.