Winchmore Hill Sunday 30 April 2017
The Tigers got off the mark in 2017 with a convincing victory at a bleak Winchmore Hill, which looked extremely unlikely at one stage, the home side having struggled to 41-6 before Mitchell Greenham (75), Jimmy Carter and Matt Webster enabled a final total of 163 in 40 overs. The bowlers then took the visitors’ last 9 wickets for just 31 runs in a spectacular turnaround.
Richard Burgess rightly opted to bat first on a cool day with possible rain forecast in the early evening, but it proved painful viewing in the biting south-easterly. The absence of the two Mikes at the top of the order, with their usual brisk run accumulation in the first few overs, plus the absence of other key regulars, meant the batting line-up had no real substance. Chris Dane is not happy at No.2 and wicket-keeper Garret O’Brien is not a No.3. Burgess battled hard against some accurate opening bowling, making 16 out of 33 in 14 overs, but at one point visiting skipper Bhatt bowled 20 balls before conceding a run (and that a wide). Ali Sikandar struck a couple of good blows, but when Chris Boden was bowled off his toes and Steve Rennie walked in front of his wicket, the Tigers had limped to 47-6 by the 20-over break.
Some resistance was needed and this was provided by Greenham and Jimmy Carter, who slowly rebuilt the innings with a measured partnership of 64 in 16 overs. Jimmy’s renaissance from the wayward cricketer of the last couple of years has been remarkable, and here he batted sensibly for 14 and with some aplomb before unluckily given out caught behind. Matt Webster (20*) then gave Mitchell great support as a further 56 came up in the last 6 overs, the total being doubled in the last 10 overs, with Mitch hitting 10 fours and a six in his match-winning innings. Just two wickets had fallen in the last 20 overs, and those only to a controversial decision and a sacrificial run out from the penultimate ball of the innings.
The total looked well short of par as the Casuals got off to a slow but steady start. Webster got some reward for another excellent spell by trapping Parker leg before, but at 53-1 it seemed like the innings was just beginning to gain momentum, until a double bowling change after 13 overs changed the course of the match. Davids slapped Steve Bignell (4-26) straight to Dane at short cover, whilst at the other end Simon Warren bowled Dyer for 27 and then Khan, just 14 runs coming from his 8 overs. No other batsman then made double figures as the innings went into a tail spin, bemused by Bignell’s teasing lobs and Greenham, who polished off the tail in less than three overs with 3-2.
An excellent and much needed win in difficult circumstances.
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