Sunday 27 July 2014 – Winchmore Hill CC
At the present moment Blackpool FC look to have a better chance of getting a full side on the field than the Tigers! Yet again they were forced to take on one of the toughest fixtures of the season without a full allocation of members, with some players injured and one failing to appear on the day. Such are the travails of a Sunday cricket team. Fortunately, the opposition were over-subscribed and very kindly loaned out a highly efficient player – Vijay Basker – who top-scored in the Tigers’ innings in addition to fielding excellently and taking two catches.
A highly competitive and entertaining match thus proceded, with 480 runs scored in 80 overs, which, give or take a wide or two, works out to pretty much a run a ball. With the contest relegated to the Winchmore Hill junior pitch, remarkably recovered from Friday’s biblical floods, it was always going to be a high-scoring match with the toss crucial. The Gentlemen won it and therefore had the advantage of a harder ball (loaned by the home side), with the fielding team having to endure the hottest part of the day. The Gents’ innings was held together by a measured century from opener Small, who launched his account with two boundaries in the first over, rode his luck occasionally, but also played some excellent strokes, being dismissed only in the final over for 106.
Their innings was in the balance at 88-4, thanks to another trojan shift from Chris Dane (3-33), and again at 156-6, but Pentakata – coming in at number eight – struck a rapid 72, adding a vital 94 with Small for the seventh wicket in short order. With Stewart Taylor and Chris Boden both injured, then Matt Webster being crocked during the game, the Tigers’ bowling was always going to struggle, only Daney and Craig Murray (29 from 8 overs) being reasonably economical.
A total of 250 was about par for the ground, with its short boundaries and quick outfield (The Tigers had scored 240 in 40 overs batting first the week before) and openers Basker (66) and a back-to-form Mike Herlihy (44) seemed fairly untroubled as they put together a record century stand of 109 in 21 overs. But the Tigers were always slightly behind the run rate and the innings slowly began to run out of steam. The Gents bowled steadily and the fielders defended the shorter boundaries more productively. Small’s day got even better as he bagged 3-47, including the vital wicket of Chris Wright for 15 with a sharp return catch after Wrighty had commenced his knock with two huge sixes. Barnaby Pinfield made a mess of a Hibbert full toss, bowled for only 12, though Chris Dane (43) and Dave Rawlings (18) gave some brief hope with 34 in 5 overs, but when Daney was dismissed at 226 the match fizzled out disappointingly, with no repeat of the exciting tied game of 2013.