Following on from the baking heat of the previous weekend (I refer you to the match report of the 2s vs Horley, apparently it was hot), was the slightly cooler yet equally important match up at home to a strong London Gymkhana side who are pushing hard for this years promotion places.
Having lost the toss and been inserted into bat, the 2s set about building a total on the best home deck we’ve played on so far this year against a decent opening pair who after a few early stray balls quickly settled into a good line and length. It didn’t take long for birthday boy Sacha Hatteea (OBE) to get into his stride, enjoying having a pitch that afforded him the option of being able to play his usual array of flourishing drives. After the loss of opening partner Josh fairly early, Sacha was joined by Dan Wrenn and with the opening bowlers beginning to tire and the change bowlers coming on, runs began to flow. Racing each other to the 50 mark, Sacha passed the milestone an over before Dan, before Dan, clearly keen to make sure he has an RCC average (having scored an unbeaten 100* on his previous outing) edged one to slip – awesome catch to be fair – and was soon followed by Sacha, meaning the 2s had dropped from 117-1 to 134-3 and with 2 new batsmen at the crease.
As is the way of the 2s, the early promise of a 200+ score, and whisper it quietly maybe even a declaration, was soon quelled. Junior debutant Will Barnett looked in good touch and every bit ready for his well earned step up to senior league cricket before being bowled by their captain/wicketkeeper/best bowler, and wickets continued to tumble after that. Only Stu Allen (15) and Shahid Mehmood (a hard hitting 17) passed double figures, meaning the 2s slumped to 176 all out, with over 7 overs still remaining.
As is often the way, the 2s decided to take the old ball to see if there was any misbehaving patches in the pitch – there wasn’t. The new ball was swiftly taken with Shahid and Dan settling into attack their opening bats. The opening partnership was broken fairly soon after, with both bowlers not giving much away. Fahad came into the attack for Shahid and kept things tight again with his variations. Dan was duly rewarded with the wicket of their dangerous looking opener (plum LBW, on which note, thanks to their umpire who did both ends and was a thoroughly nice bloke) to leave London Gymkhana 61-2 and with the game in the balance. More solid partnerships though continued to frustrate RCC, junior left arm spin prodigy Abiram Ramesh came into the attack and looked threatening from ball 1.
Two dropped catches off his bowling and countless other plays and misses and miscues into gaps meant he didn’t pick up the wickets he deserved and which could have turned the game for Roehampton. He did eventually pick up a well deserved wicket, and some decent overs from Tom Dillon (again on league debut having progressed up from the juniors) meant that all the way the 2s were never more than a couple of wickets away from being on top. Alas those wickets didn’t come, Babar picked up a deserved late wicket, but by that point London Gymkhana were nearly home and dry. They won with overs to spare, and in hindsight (and after some reflection and contrary to my post match thoughts) a slightly flattering 6 wicket win.
Some genuine positives to be taken from the match against a team who could in all likelihood go up this year, can’t remember many ground fielding mistakes in the field, good performances from all 3 of the juniors who played, and some solid runs at the top of the order. However to continue to compete the 2s will need to make sure we capitalise on good batting platforms such as these (being 134-2 we should be looking at 200+ every week) and as ever, take those catches when they come. Anyway, onwards and upwards and a much anticipated game against Shepperton to come this weekend.
MOTM – Sacha Hatteea (OBE). For his Birthday 50