With us sitting top of the league we now had an away game against Croydon of India, one of the only 2 teams to have beaten us this season.
With some suspect weather forecast, my usual thinking of bat first was challenged. With a couple of players running a bit late and our strength this season has been defending totals I decided to once again bat first. Not an entirely easy decision so was just hoping it worked out.
With Bhups wandering around the Tolworth area somewhere, Adam and Alwyn opened up and got us off to a steady start until Adam fell caught at mid-wicket. Bhups finally decided to show up, rushed his pads on, and was sent out at number 3. Alwyn and Bhups both batted superbly and ticked the score a long at a good 4-5 runs and over and looked increasingly comfortable. At drinks we found ourselves 101 – 1 with both Alwyn and Bhups reaching 50. At this point we fancied at least a solid 220. Alwyn fell shortly after drinks (triggered by our specialist umpire, D Symons Jnr – silver lining is at least Adam wasn’t triggered for once!!) for a well-made 57. This brought me to the crease and after Bhups and I sort of broke our batting curse the week before at Spencer we felt confident in progressing the innings. With some horribly dark clouds approaching and my ‘trusty radar’ confirming bad weather was almost inevitable, Bhups and I decided I would try and up the tempo as if we went off it would be likely we would not bat again and would give Croydon a reduced score to chase. Luckily I got a few out the middle and both Bhups and I ran very well and the score rapidly increased. When Bhups fell for a superb 62 with the score on 189, we were well placed to crack on to a big score. Elliot joined me at the crease and we both continued to smash 4s and 6s and run well and when I was bowled for 78 the score had raced to 248. Charlie came and went, but both Lush and Symo played supporting roles whilst Elliot continued to smash it around. By the end of the innings Croydon looked pretty broken as we had reached a monster 281-6. A great time to record our highest score of the season and to have three 50s (would have been 4 if Els had not run out of overs – Els ended on 38 not out) in one innings was really pleasing. At tea we were confident we could go out and defend.
Bhups and Charlie opened up the bowling and bowled solid spells without much luck. Their openers looking solid enough but some suspect running kept us interested. One ball after I shouted ‘run out coming, boys’, their batsman hit it to Els at wide mid-off, one ran the other didn’t and Els flung it to the keepers end where Alwyn made no mistake and we had our first wicket.
Just a quick mention to Daf for a superb dropped catch. I had just moved him from mid-on to cover when the next ball floated directly to him, really loopy and slow for him to somehow manage to drop it. Sorry Daf – couldn’t leave it out J.
Ian and Daf replaced the openers and both picked up early wickets. Daf cleaned bowled their opener and Ian bowled a ‘worldy’ of a ball that swung in and nipped away off the pitch to smash into the top of off stump. The batsman stood there almost in disbelief. I am sure Ian will happily elaborate more for anyone interested. This brought their number 4 to the crease who was clearly a ringer. Daf being the unfortunate one as their guy decided to tee off. He did play well but we maintained our composure and bowled tight lines. A particular mention to Ian who bowled a great spell against a decent player. With their guy starting to really accelerate we decided to change it up and brought Elliot onto bowl. After hitting Els for a 4 and 6 off his first 2 balls Elliot then bowled a great ball that cleaned him up which at the time was a crucial wicket which we felt would be the beginning of the end. Just before drinks Adam decided to join the ‘simple drop catch brigade’. Arguably slightly harder than Daf’s (not much though), it was put down at point (again, sorry but has to be mentioned J). At drinks they were 101-4. Still needing a lot of runs, we were confident on securing victory.
After drinks Ian continued where he left off and bowled a great spell with little luck (fairly amusing to the rest of us, but not to Ian). By this time Els had really found a great rhythm and found himself on a hat-trick after clean bowling two guys in a row. With Ian still being unlucky, Els picked up 3 more wickets, two great catches from both Bhups and Charlie and I clung onto one at cow corner. With Ian being a team man he was more than happy to be the unlucky one whilst Els picked up all the wickets (I will let you make up your own mind if this is true or not). Ian did manage to pick up the last wicket, caught at slip by Bhups after deflecting off Alwyn.
As per most teams, chasing a big score was far too much for them and our strong bowling line up proved to strong and they were bowled out for 123. Els finishing with 6 wickets and a run out.
With pressure on to win it was a great effort to record our highest score of the season and them roll them out in 27 overs.
MOM – could have been a number of people but with 38 not out, a run out and 6 wickets it has to go to Elliot – well played sir.
FOD: Alwyn for some superb keeping – we take this for granted but well done mate, always saves runs!!
The winning bus rolls on to next week – home to Ploughmans.
Here is the link to the online scorecard for all the facts and figures – http://tscl.play-cricket.com/website/results/3025975
Here is the current league table – http://www.surreycricketleague.co.uk/index.php/season/tables/division-2