Paulin Ground, Winchmore Hill, Sunday 9 July 2017
Despite his obvious cricketing pedigree, The Tigers’ captain Stewart Taylor had never scored a hundred in his 23 years of social cricket with The Blue Heaven XI (later The Lager Louts – the Chelsea fans’ team), West Eleven CC and latterly the Judd Street Tigers, but the drought finally ended at Winchmore Hill last Sunday, though was sadly overshadowed by yet another defeat for his team.
Haringey Libraries are one of the few teams to have been defeated by the Tigers in 2017 – a 25-run reverse back in early May – and claimed to have won only a single game all season. However, on a flat, dead-looking, though green pitch that saw only seven wickets fall all afternoon for a total of 482 runs, it was the visitors who came out triumphant with overs to spare, perhaps a Premier League 2016-17 equivalent of Crystal Palace v Swansea.
Stewart had pushed himself up the order to open with Garret O’Brien – believed to be the first all left-handed opening partnership for the Tigers – and the twelfth different initial combination this season. It was another poor start, Garret going for one with the score at 11, but Taylor added 60 with Richard Burgess (16) for the second wicket, his signal off-drive well to the fore, going on to hit 101 (12 fours, 2 sixes), finding a worthy partner in Chris Dane (72*), looking back to his best form, in a stand of 97 in 17 overs. Rowan Allerton then smashed 25 in 8 balls (3 sixes) at the death to post what looked a good total of 240.
Spurning the offer of a new ball, the Tiger bowlers never got on top of the Haringey batting, opener Garnsworthy making a polished 69, Anish 76 and Angus 52 not out on a pitch that gave no assistance, with a short boundary on one side. Steve Rennie’s big boot did some some sterling work in the field, together with some tough scrambling in the outfield from the likes of Rowan, Jimmy Carter and Ian Daffern, but there was always a four ball in every over and too many full tosses. Taylor, in combination with ‘keeper O’Brien, bagged a couple of wickets to open up the game briefly, but the batsmen were never really under too much pressure, picking the open spaces at will to win the match with more than three overs to spare.
‘We can’t put our finger on what’s going wrong’, lamented beleaguered Director of Cricket Steve Bignell. ‘It’s very disappointing not to defend a total of 240. Everyone is trying hard and putting in a good shift, but it’s just not happening at the moment, and we have some tough away fixtures coming up, though we are all working together to turn things around. It was a great day for Stewart, who really showed his true class, but ultimately disappointing for the team.’