Played at Hilly Fields, Brockley
Report by Jack Turner
The truncated 2020 season continued on a grey and mild London
afternoon as Old Fallopians travelled south of the river to face
Hobgoblin Nomads. A crowd of three gathered on the banks of Hilly
Fields expecting another close-fought contest between the two evenly
matched sides, and they weren’t disappointed.
moustachioed Fallopians Skipper Jack Turner (who’s writing this
stuff? – Ed) – hungover and reluctant to lead the side
(that’s more like it! – Ed) – continued the long-standing
tradition of duly losing the toss and being asked to field with the
team two short of a full XI.
Armed with a criminally (??)
strong bowling attack of Syed Hussain, Asad Mushtaq, Azaz Kahlil,
Junaid Muhammed, Jakeria Ahmend and debutant Nikhil Kalyanpur, it
wasn’t long before the breakthrough came. Asad gamely tore in up the
slope and ripped through the defence of opener Hankinson, who
clearly had been shaken by the pace of the previous over from Syed.
The Fallopians weren’t made to wait long before a second
breakthrough came. Again it was Asad, dashing in from up the hill,
forcing Saxena to chip tamely to Jakeria at cover for just five.
Nomads were 14-2 from their opening seven overs – an incredible
opening strike partnership between Syed and Asad in which Sayed
bowled three maidens on the bounce with the majority of the
Hobgoblin runs coming from the sloppy glovework of a lethargic
Turner (must have been that hangover – Ed).
change bowler Azaz was next to strike with a wicket-maiden first
over, removing Bilal Ansar with a vicious in-dipper through the
gate, and took another scalp in his second over, repeating the trick
to Char, beating the batsman all ends up. Nomads were teetering at
38-4, and OFCC were looking dominant.
However, the expected
deluge of wickets was abated as a steady partnership in the middle
order halted the fat lady’s vocal exercises, and the Fallopians were
run ragged in the field as P.K and Niz shared a 90-run partnership
through the thick of the innings. Jakeria, Junaid and Nik toiled
gamely away, a few chances went begging, and an unfavourable
umpiring call on a smart stumping from Turner (it’s all going
wrong! – Ed) threatened to turn the atmosphere sour. Oh for
The Fallopians were made to wait until the 28th over
before another breakthrough, when a rare spell of spin from the
usually pacey Junaid led to him unpicking P.K’s defences and
disturbing his woodwork with a fine leg break.
Asad and Syed
returned for second spells, and a Herculean effort of eight overs
from Syed returned figures of 8-3-16-1 – rewarded with the scalp of
Erik at the end.
At the changeover, Hobgoblins had posted
200-8, requiring 201 for a famous victory in front of the baying,
though still sparse, crowd.
A steady start from openers
Jakeria and Asad saw Fallopians progress without peril to 18-0.
Asad’s glance to the scoreboard to see the rate ticking over at 2.4
an over may possibly explain his decision to lift his head above the
parapet and attempt to smite a good length ball halfway to
Hertfordshire, miss, get bowled, shrug, and stroll off. We may never
know, and may he never change.
The demise of Asad’s innings
brought your friendly neighbourhood bruiser Junaid to the crease,
and he was in no mood to nudge and nurdle his way towards the
target. Forming a lovey juxtaposing partnership with Jakeria, the
big man smoked 15 boundaries and one six into orbit as the pair
swashbuckled their way through 70-plus runs of the Hobgoblin total.
For all of Junaid’s power, there was the deft touch of Jakeria,
manipulating the field and running between the wickets sharply. When
Jakeria fell, caught off the bowling of Saxsena, Fallopians were
89-2 and still a long way from the promised land.
The fall of
the second wicket brought experienced all-rounder Azaz to join
Junaid at the crease, and the two most senior Fallopians set about
dispatching the Hobgoblin attack to all parts, a series of cuts and
pulls from Az, and a bevvy of straight hits and square drives from
Junaid on his way to a fine half century whittled away the total
required. By the time the 37th over came round, OFCC were 180-2 and
victory was within reach.
It wasn’t until wily spinner
Hankinson’s seventh over that game once again began to turn in the
Nomads’ favour. A slow non-spinning off-break pinned Junaid in front
of the timber, and umpire Turner (him again? – Ed), with
his heart sinking, had no choice but to lift the dreaded finger,
triggering his star batsman for a sublime and talismanic 98.
The final three overs saw Dhammika and Azaz push for quick ones and
twos, with Azaz eventually caught short coming back for a second and
being run out for a vital 36. Syed followed shortly afterwards,
another desperate run out in the 39th.
joined Dhammika in the final over, with the equation for victory
being six required from three balls. A dot ball followed. Six needed
from two. Nik connected with a long hop and the batsmen scrambled a
double from the penultimate ball. Four needed from the final ball,
three for a deserved tie.
Hankinson wheeled in again.
Hobgoblin fielders were mere specks through the gloom on the
horizon, posted far and wide, hanging on their heels to protect the
all-important boundary ropes. The delivery hung in the air, pitched,
and was met on the half volley, the thwack of willow meeting leather
made the dreaded clothed “this ain’t going to the rope” sound. The
ball skidded into the outfield, leaving no time to for batsmen to
get the three required for the tie. Hobgoblins had won. By the
barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.
commendable effort from all the bowlers, and a brave and daring show
of skill and strength from our batsmen on a very tough wicket. A
fantastic game to be a part of, and another thrilling chapter added
to the rivalry between these two sides.
Scroll down for more photos and the scorecards.