Sunday 18 September 2016 North Middlesex CC
The Tigers’ mini-revival came to a sudden halt at the well appointed North Middlesex ground in Shepherds Cot, their thirteenth reverse in a disappointing season, well beaten by a revitalized Railway Taverners, who put in a much improved performance from their defeat at Winchmore Hill two weeks ago.
The visitors opted for first dig on a green pitch offering spin and seam movement for the bowlers, but never got up anywhere near full speed. Whether some of the players had not recovered from party night at Winchmore Hill two days earlier, (see below) or an air of complacency remained following their recent emphatic victory over the same opposition, their innings was somewhat laboured, most of the batsmen getting in but giving their wickets away cheaply, and no one going on to a big score against steady bowling and much improved fielding.
Mike Delanian put together an uncharacteristically patient 31 in 22 overs, a score matched by Chris Dane at No.7, but some end of season tinkering with the batting order meant the innings had little structure. Chris Wright hit 23, including a massive straight six, Ian Porton 18 and Chris Boden 16 at seventh wicket down, but the Taverners’ bowling had improved considerably from the first fixture, Greg frequently beating the outside edge and Steve Bignell, tarting for the oppo again, dismissing Boden, Porton, Dane and Ian Daffern and would have bagged a rare Michelle if two catches had not been spilled in the final over, with speculation that he has been offered a contract by the Taverners for 2017 refusing to go away. In the end 183 was a decent score after recovering from 88-5 and 126-7 but looked well short of par.
Although the game had been designated time plus 20 overs, it effectively became another 40 over contest, the Taverners pacing their reply perfectly against Taylor’s trundlers, the lack of variety in the Tigers’ attack again being highlighted. Clarke (25) and Pacey (26) were relatively untroubled putting up 55 for the first wicket, with only Chris Wright showing any real penetration (3-44 in his 11-over stint, putting him level with Chris Dane on 26 wickets for the season). He had the prolific Terry caught behind cheaply, but this only brought in Reilly, who pummeled the visitors’ attack for 83 not out, inflicting a good deal of damage on the sightscreen en route as the Taverners won comfortably with overs to spare.