Sunday September 3 2017 Paulin Ground, Winchmore Hill
Winchmore Hill – Year Zero. We have been here before. Nothing is quite what it seems.
Autumn is here, the nights are drawing in and the Jet Stream has drifted south once more. The Tigers’ brief winning run came to a sticky end in the cold and drizzle of a gloomy Winchmore Hill after another poor batting display. Last week it was dogs running free, this week ducks – of the golden variety.
Batting first against the S.L.O.B.S, in a contest reduced to 35 overs due to the dismal BBC weather prediction, the Tiger batsmen fought hard against some excellent bowling that showed little weakness, but could only muster 157, nine balls and about 20 runs short of a competitive total. Much of the credit for that must go to Stewart Taylor, who carried the innings for 28 overs, being eighth out for 46 with the score at 122. Several other batters got starts (Richard Burgess 11, Chris Wright 17, Steve Rennie 13) but failed to push on, all three needlessly throwing their wickets away. From a stable position of 113-3 in the 26th over, the team collapsed to 122-8, three wickets going down in 4 balls, firstly both Chris Dane and Matt Webster first ball, knocked over by the last two deliveries of Lyle’s final over, thus denying him a hat-trick opportunity, then two balls later Taylor holing out from his namesake to deep square leg.
Fortunately, there is a depth to the Tigers’ batting this year, if not steadfastness, and there followed a brisk partnership of 35 in five overs for the ninth wicket between Mitch Greenham (13) and Simon Warren (17), before the innings petered out again disappointingly. Were it not for an assortment of sloppy extras (32) the target would have been considerably lower.
As the rain set in (not sufficient for the players to evacuate the field, but just enough to be an irritant) the Tigers, hampered by the wet ball, achieved some early success, but Smith never looked in any trouble as he struck a match-winning 78 not out. Nevertheless, the bowlers chipped away, before Taylor came on fifth change to bag three wickets, but the visitors were always up with the run rate and got home with ten balls and three wickets to spare.
Stewart, having his best season for a long while, has laid down a big marker for Player of the Year award, with 301 runs at 31.00 and 20 wickets at 19.29, plus half a dozen catches, he being one of the few batsmen whose batting average is currently on an upward trajectory, the only others being the absent Garret O’Brien and Steve Rennie.
S.L.O.B.S. deserved their win, merely by their batsmen outscoring the Tigers by 158-125, there surprisingly being only 1 extra in the visitors’ innings, so some credit should go to the Tiger bowlers and stand-in ‘keeper Greenham.
Why does it always rain on me?