14 July 2013 – Old Tenisonians CC, New Malden
JUDD STREET TIGERS 231-10 tied with THE GENTLEMEN OF WEST LONDON 231-9
On a day of unbearable tension, as England edged out Australia in the first Ashes Test in Nottingham, Dave Scally, Tigers’ twelfth batsman, needing two runs for his team to win, struck the last ball of the game into the covers and scampered a single which tied the match after the sides had shared 70 overs and 462 runs. With most of the Tigers’ big guns misfiring for once, they nevertheless found some less likely heroes in Ian Porton, Mike Herlihy, Mike Delanian and Richard Burgess.
Bearing in mind the excellent playing record of both teams this summer, it was always going to be a close match, and so it proved, with fortunes swaying to and fro all day in sweltering conditions that always favoured the batsmen. It was certainly not a day for bowling on an easy-paced wicket surrounded by a fast outfield. Of the twelve bowlers utilised by the two teams, only Chris Wright and Hemin Patel managed to concede less than five an over.
Winning the toss and batting, the Gents got off to a flyer in an agreed 12-a-side contest. The Tigers were missing the early control of Matt Webster and the Gent batters went for their shots from ball one against some fairly ordinary bowling. Chris Dane pulled it back somewhat with two wickets, but he was unusually expensive, and the home side were well into three figures by the half-way point in the innings for only two down, thanks to some excellent batting from Bocha (56), Lall (61) and Kumar (33). Stewart Taylor, on his comeback following a long injury, bowled slow left-arm and had Bocha well caught in the deep by Wright, then sent down two of only four maidens bowled all day.
However, from 167-3 the Gents subsided somewhat to 179-7 as Ian Porton pulled off a remarkable hat-trick of catches – one behind the wicket, then, after doffing the pads in favour of Le Marquis de Pinfield, taking a hard, low return catch to dismiss Jones, then catching Newcombe in the outfield. In addition to this he picked up three vital wickets with his occasional spinners. Some late fireworks from Hemin Patel (23*) lifted the Gents’ total to a formidable 231.
The second innings almost exactly mirrored the first, with the Tigers reaching 74-2 by the tenth over, despite rare relative failures from Pinfield and Dane. Mike Delanian has struggled to find his true form this season, but he repaid the captain’s faith in him as an opener with a superb innings of 55 which including ten fours and an array of powerful, authentic strokes all round the wicket. An inevitable mid-innings collapse ensued, not helped by the needless first-ball run out of Rowan Allerton, the latest in a long line of victims of Chris Wright’s kamikaze running. To his credit, Chris knuckled down to play a big innings and be there at the finish, but after never really getting into top gear, he was bowled by Lall for 32.
With 59 needed from 8 overs, and only three wickets left, the Tigers looked second favourites, but having loaded up the top order with hitters, it meant that the steadier batsmen remained. Mike Herlihy and Richard Burgess now showed all their experience, adding a vital 48 for the ninth wicket in 7 overs without resorting to slogging, thanks in part to some erratic bowling which piled up the extras column. Eleven were needed from the last over, which included a Rennie run out, two wides, a bye, three singles, but arguably the shot of the day from Herlihy (40*), a clip off his legs to the unguarded long leg boundary.
In the end a tie was the best result as neither side really deserved to lose such a fine match. No DRS, hotspots, Snicko, Duckworth Lewis, walking issues or controversy, just an excellent game of cricket played in the best spirit.
To avoid any contention, our statistics guru reminds me that a ‘tie’ in limited overs cricket is when both sides score an equal number of runs from an equal number of overs (unless Duckworth Lewis is employed). In a first class cricket match, a tie is when scores finish equal with all four innings completed (i.e. team batting last are all out). If the teams finish equal with an incomplete fourth innings, the result is deamed as ‘scores equal in a drawn match’. Is that clear? There will be a test in the morning.