Sunday 22 June 2014 St.Aloysius Sports Ground, Highgate
The Tigers fell to their second successive defeat against a determined Octopus on a fine summer’s day for cricket. The teams were evenly matched, but the visitors could only muster ten bodies, eight full members being unavailable on the day. The captain did his best to round up some strays, even inviting Sachin Tendulkar – visiting nearby Hampstead CC – but to no avail, the lack of a recognised fifth bowler and an extra fielder proving decisive to the outcome.
Winning the toss and batting first on a good pitch, the Tigers’ innings was something of a curate’s egg, not helped by some erratic Octopus bowling which saw 26 wides listed in the book. Consequently, the batsmen could never obtain any real rhythm. The Mikes Delanian and Herlihy have had little luck opening the innings this season, and both were dismissed early in slightly controversial fashion, but Stewart Taylor (50) and Chris Dane (41) laid the foundation for what should have been a big total, adding 91 for the third wicket in 14 overs.
Barnaby Pinfield looked in great form until getting a brute of a ball that lobbed up to point, and the rest of the batters went gung-ho when some consolidation was required. From 150-4 in the 23rd over the innings imploded somewhat, and once again the last-wicket pair of Matt Webster and Steve Bignell had to dig the side out of trouble, adding a vital 31.
A total of 216 nevertheless looked imposing, helped by a bag of 43 extras, but against a strong batting side on a small ground with a bone-hard outfield it was going to take a big effort by the ten men. Chris Dane dismissed both openers in his first two overs, each well caught low down behind the wicket by ‘keeper Pinfield and Richard Burgess at slip, but Locock and the prolific Selvaraj then took control, putting together a rapid 84 for the 3rd wicket. Spin twins Bignell and Taylor (23 wickets between them already in 2014) bowled their overs straight through, which produced 101 runs for the cost of three wickets, Stewart bowling Locock for 47 and Steve dismissing a pair of double-barrelled batsmen in Pandya-Smith and Aarons-Richardson with the help of ‘keeper Barnaby.
But the fifth bowler was always going to be a problem. Selvaraj played magnificently for his 93, until lbw to the returning Webster, who then castled Russell next ball. At 181-7 the Tigers looked favourites, but with the bowling options running out, Gott (a dead ringer for Ragnar Ludbrok in the excellent series ‘Vikings’) struck a bold 37 not out, the part-time bowlers being plundered for 53 in a little over 4 overs, to see the home side to triumph with more than three overs in hand.
A disappointing result, but hopefully the refusniks will be able to rouse themselves for the important fixtures coming up in the next few weeks.