Sunday 4 June 2017 Winchmore Hill CC
The Tigers came up second best in the Paulin Ground derby to fellow lodgers Spartan, despite being on top in the early part of the match. The Spartans, nominally the away side on this occasion, were rewarded for their positive approach with a final total of 234,
despite being 129-7 at one point. Obversely, the Tigers’ batting lacked any real intensity, as it has for much of the season, falling too far behind after another poor start.
However, there were some positives, notably a welcome return to form and fitness for Chris Dane, plus the first outing of the season for the previously injured tyro Rowan Allerton, one of three fielders to hang on to stinging catches, Mitchell Greenham and Chris Boden being the other two as the Tigers dominated the opening session, whilst Chris Wright held on to another first ball after drinks to dismiss the dominant Ali Butt for 46. On the downside, catches started to go down in the second ten overs and the giant Bilal later struck six maximums, hitting 75 not out batting at number nine, despite Daney’s excellent 4-47.
What began as a pleasant sunny day, with the gay and innocent laughter of young boys playing on the next pitch, descended into Stygian gloom as the Winchmore Hill microclimate kicked in when the Tigers went out to bat, accompanied by a biting wind and irritating drizzle, the ground now a dystopian desert. The absence of the two Mikes has left a huge cavern in the batting order. They may never have had great partnerships, but either one or the other would have got the innings off to a brisk start and kept the scoreboard ticking over. In their absence six different opening combinations have been tried in seven innings, involving nine different players, the best partnership being Jim Shea and Ian Porton’s measured 58 in 21 overs, the others being 32, 6, 39, 13, 0 and 3.
The early batsmen could hardly lay bat on ball, the home side limping along at 4 for 2 by the fifth over. Chris Wright (46), Rowan Allerton (28) and Chris Dane (39*) did their best to keep the score moving, but runs were mostly coming in ones and twos rather than boundaries. When Wrighty was needlessly run out just getting into his giant stride (for once being on the wrong end of a Ruptura De Comunicaciones!) all hope was lost, with occasional bowler Waqas blowing away the last five batsman in just a few overs.
Watch out, Wrighty’s back on!
Statistical note: Whilst playing in the Sunday fixture in Porto, Matt Webster became the first Tiger bowler to reach 100 wickets. Bravo!