(With apologies to Enid Blyton)
WINCHMORE HILL CC – Sunday 29 June 2014
What has happened to the Tigers? Their seeming invincibility appears to have evaporated into the gloom following a third defeat in as many weeks, despite posting reasonably imposing totals of 174, 216, and on this occasion – 181. The bowlers have performed well early in their opponents’ innings, only to lose control in the final 20 overs. Last Sunday it was too few bowling options that cost the Tigers; this time it was probably too many, added to the problem of having to field in the intermittent dribbly rain and bowl with a wet, soft ball on an increasingly dead pitch.
The day had begun well enough, despite losing a vital toss on a worn wicket, with openers Gisli Bergmann and Richard Burgess putting up 44 from the first ten overs. Gisli is an elegant batsman who has had little luck so far in his Tiger career, but he played superbly here for his 44. At the drinks break the homesters appeared well placed at 89-2 against some good Fives bowling. Sadly, the in-form Stewart Taylor ran himself out and Chris Dane lost patience when his natural flamboyance did not find its true expression.
Fortunately, Chris Wright was in belligerent mood, bludgeoning his first ball over the covers for four and continuing in similar fashion for a rapid 54. Wrighty’s positive partnership with Craig Murray (15) yielded 58 from 11 overs, but once they were out the innings subsided ignominiously in an embarrassing heap, the last five wickets going down in the last two overs for just 6 runs, three of the victims leg before, fingered by eagle-eyed umpire Phil Hill.
The second innings also began well for the Tigers, Wright and Matt Webster limiting the Fives’ openers to 28-1 from the opening 10 overs, Matt bowling Gary with a pearler. Dane trapped Nikul lbw, had Praf playing on, then Simon Warren took a blinding return catch to dismiss Krishna. At 40-3 Fives had looked in trouble, but Suri and Sujan upped the tempo until a great catch on the boundary edge by Daney outed the latter for 20. Suri then carried the rest of the innings for a match-winning 68, helped by Colin (24*). There were fewer leg-side full-bungers on this occasion, just excellent batting. Phil Hill bowled Suri with the scores level, but the visitors were home and hosed with nearly four overs to spare.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong, although the batters are not getting enough runs together and, due to lack of proper rotation, senior and injured players are having to turn out every week. Perhaps some new blood is required.