Winchmore Hill CC Sunday 20 July 2014
Six-wicket hauls in 35/40-over cricket are as rare as rocking-horse poo or a goal from Ricky van Wolfswinkel. That it should be achieved by someone who, even by his own admission, would only regard himself as a part-time bowler, is even more remarkable. Perhaps not so now, as Mike Delanian’s bag of 6-31 propelled him to the top of the Tigers’ bowling averages (9 wickets at 9.11 each). This, following Ian Porton’s excellent 81 and a rapid 47 not out from Chris Wright, set up a comprehensive victory over one of only two sides to defeat the Tigers in 2013.
The omens were not good when skipper Richard Burgess lost the toss and was asked to bat on a stifling afternoon. However, two pieces of intuitive left-field captaincy paid huge dividends, with Wrighty being dropped down the order to inject some much lacking stimulus to the last quarter of the innings, and, with limited bowling options, bringing Mike on first change with the batsmen well set. The insertion appeared a good decision as the Tigers stumbled to 69-4 on a green seaming wicket, but a well measured knock of 81 in 31 overs from Porton proved the glue to the innings, assisted in a fifth-wicket partnership of 48 with Stewart Taylor (17), with Wrighty’s late burst, coming in at number eight, instrumental in doubling the score for the last five wickets, 86 runs coming in the last 10 overs as the visitors visibly wilted in the heat, conceding 40 extras.
The temperature had dropped considerably by the time Cincinnati came to bat, getting of to a steady start. Chris Dane (Lord’s junket) and Matt Webster (playing in an under-10’s tournament) would have doubtless prospered in the conditions, but they were present in spirit only until Matt popped up late in the day. After Mike’s first interminable first over, which included a battery of leg-side wides (bowlers on both sides had problems locating the pitch all day), the batsmen may have been lured into a false sense of well-being, but once he found his line and length Mike was almost unplayable as the black clouds circled the ground and thunder and lightning crashed in the distance. Barnaby Pinfield had a curate’s egg kind of a day – he had earlier looked in prime form again until miscuing to deep point for 16, an excellent catch by Jespol – and dropping a routine caught behind off the luckless Wright, but then pulling off a highly professional piece of glovework, catching and stumping the dangerous Ross (30) in the same instant before adding another smart stumping to out Lewis.
Winchmore Hill’s micro-climate ensued just a few drops of rain fell during the game, which was polished off by Taylor in two balls, cementing his position as the club’s leading wicket-taker this season. The Cincinnati innings tumbled in just 22 overs, with only four bowlers utilised, a worthy success over tough opponents. Mike’s haul was a career best, and the finest bowling figures in the Tigers’ short history