No revolution in octopus’s garden
St. Aloysius Sports Ground, Highgate
WEST X1 165 all out lost to Octopus CC 199-8 by 34 runs
West X1’s brief successful run came to an end in an enjoyable and competitive contest against Octopus at the well appointed St. Aloysius venue. With Tom Hurley, Chris Wright and Chris Boden all unavailable it was always going to be an uphill task, but the Beggars put up a decent show, falling short by 34 runs on a warm afternoon with a pitch that had dried up and deteriorated somewhat from the start of the game.
The captains agreed a 40 over 12-a-side match, and with limited bowling options the Westies did well to hold the talented Octopus batting roster to five an over. Chris Dane, who took his 200th West X1 wicket against St. Anne’s last week, had an early success and both he and Stewart Taylor (1-16 in his 8 overs) kept the batsmen in check early on. Lamplough (43) and Gopi (34) added 82 for the second wicket until Steve Bignell (2-39) and Phil Hill (2-36) fought back for the visitors. But it was lack of a fifth bowler that proved costly, Rowan Allerton and Dave Laing sharing eight overs for 78 runs and no wickets as Smith (47) and Reed (25) gave it the long handle in the last few overs.
West X1 made a positive start to their reply, Mike Delanian and Taylor putting up 34 in 7 overs, but although all the batsmen got in and made a few runs, nobody went on to make a significant impact. Stewart top-scored with an innings of 33, during the course of which he became only the fourth Beggar batsman to accumulate 3000 runs. Some erratic (and occasionally dangerous) bowling from Octopus ensured a big bag of extras (46 in all) and kept the score moving. Steve Rennie hit a rare six between nurdles but no batsman hung around long enough to suggest a victory was in the offing.
Despite being 5 wickets down West X1 were still up with the run rate at the half-way point of their innings. Rowan Allerton (24) played the shot of the season, hooking a Hodge bouncer to the boundary, but when he offered a return catch to Ingram at 116 the game looked up with just a long tail in reserve. Nevertheless, Westies kept fighting, with Kevin Allerton gritting it out for 13 in 12 overs, his best effort for many years, and a final total of 165 was a respectable effort in the circumstances.