London Marathon Playing Fields, Greenford
Sunday 24 August 2014
The Tigers completed a season’s double over the Graces, replicating their seven wicket victory earlier in the year at Winchmore Hill. On that occasion Graces totalled 109 batting first; this time they could only manage 101, thanks to a much improved performance in the Tigers’ bowling and fielding, finishing the afternoon with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 66 between acting captain Matt Webster (41*) and Chris Wright (20*).
August Bank Holiday Sunday is a notoriously difficult time to get a side together, the Tigers being short of full muster yet again. Thankfully, Andy Burman from The Gents (without a fixture) very kindly recruited three young players to bolster the team and all performed well contributing to the victory.
Bowling first, the visitors put the buffet trolley and leg-side full toss theory back in the cupboard, concentrating instead on bowling a full length and aiming at the stumps on a competitive wicket. After a steady start of 22 Graces’ day fell apart in the course of a few balls, Webster first trapping Mendis lbw before first change Ian Daffern pinned Skyner with his first delivery, then bowled Anthony with his second. It was a shock from which the innings never really recovered, guest Pawan mesmerising the later batters with his leg spin (3-14) and the home team not helping their cause with two needless run outs. The bowling line faltered latterly with 17 wides (which proved to be Graces top scorer in the two games between the teams in 2014) but a total of 101 looked well short.
Tigers got off to a poor start with Dave Rawlings holing out to mid-on in the second over, but Ian Porton blasted 26 of the first 29 runs in typical fashion before being caught behind, and when Ganesh was leg before at 36 the match was in the balance. But Matt Webster, using the captain’s prerogative to promote himself up the order, then took control of the game, his partner Wrighty content to play a supporting role in his spectacles. Matt’s unorthodox batting is hard to set a field to (the glance between his legs down to an unprotected fine leg being particularly productive) and he dominated the 14-over partnership of 66.
So, a good result in a fixture that did not look likely to be played a week earlier. Hopefully the team can settle down to better end to the summer as more players become available for the remaining matches.