Match report by Phil Dorsett
The day started with 2 phone calls from a Caterham skipper seemingly fairly keen on having the match cancelled.
It ended with him very much wishing it had been.
On The Heath, normal home game preparations were resumed - half the team arriving up to an hour late to marvel at what the work fairies had done. On the more positive side of things, it was great to see the roller back AND someone in Purnell Snr. who was willing and able use it…
Curiously, on a day where the weather and the forecast was changing rapidly, and unsure we had anything like 11 players, it appeared to feel a natural choice to go and toss up over an hour before the start of play. Not sure if we won the toss or not – in fact I doubt it – but it left our openers watching some dark clouds swirl around over a dampish track while the rest of our team decided to rock up.
Meanwhile, Caterham were undertaking a fairly intense fielding practice; something that (with the exception of the odd blunder) would later prove a worthwhile exercise, as they bowled and fielded very well. We should take note and follow suit. Max, can you Google ‘fielding drills for half a cricket team’ please …
Eventually Phil and the in-form JP took to the field in a cyclone. It’s a good job there’s no trees at The Heath, or it would have been horrendous out there in the middle - with all those leaves - on a day like Saturday.
It’s also nothing short of a miracle that we’ve managed to not bludgeon the grooves in the stumps to something that would struggle to cup a knitting needle, or that really would have been a pain with the wind as it was…
Anyway, cricket-wise we had a steady start in some testing overs for JP to put on about 50 for the first wicket. Not chanceless, but very authoritative and set the tone nicely. After what actually was a very good ball to remove Phil (who then didn’t speak to anyone for 2 hours), Sticky joined JP to put on about another 50 for the second wicket, at which point the spreadbetters were buying 250+.
The experienced Roehampton followers were rightfully a little more cautious, as 95-2 became 130-7.
It took a great partnership from Max and Dharmesh to get us to somewhere more competitive, and at half time we were cautiously optimistic with the target of 190 we’d set them.
JP’s 66 and Max’s 44 easily the stand out contributions. Well batted both, and a particularly well selected fielder at cover when on 10, JP.
Umer and Mo have bowled pretty well with the new ball this year, and early wickets have been our friend. Saturday was no different as within about 8 overs we’d restricted Caterham for 30-3.
We were on top, and the batters were doing everything to make us think that we’d have them all out before long. Then something clicked with their number 3 – he struggled to start with, but ended up excruciatingly evading our fielders (mostly Sticky) with some nice hits on his way to 90, ably supported by one or two others along the way.
He’d also gone at a fair lick, so at 150-4, with many overs to go, 190 didn’t seem as many as it needed to be!
Max manoeuvred the bowlers well and with that we exposed a fairly insecure tail - the final wicket falling with Caterham 10 runs short.
Easy... Ish! And bad luck to Caterham, who on balance probably deserved the win for their energy throughout the day.
All bowlers bowled well and picked up wickets, but Mr Fuchs probably the stand out on the day with 3-31. The figures themselves not much better than others’, but the timing of the spell, with the batsmen in at the time, saw us to a winning position. Well bowled.
Surprising really, since he has to haul himself out of quicksand to start each over.
In the end, a tremendous win. Winning is indeed a habit, and last year we would have lost this game. With the same team.
What a great place it’s been this year – good guys, good vibe, good results.
Bring on the league.