Played at Highgate Woods
Report by Steve Hamilton
This fixture was played at the picturesque surroundings of
Highgate Woods on a gloomy drizzly day.
We had 10 players and
they had eight. We lost the toss and were sent into Hell on probably
the worst wicket we have ever encountered! It was a pudding! A slow
stodgy pitch, the ball barely bounced above the knees at times. This
substandard track offered nothing for the batsman, with massive
boundaries and large amounts of uncut grass. But, despite this
unpromising scenario, it proved to be a mini classic!
batsman struggled to score runs. Umair Shahzad was the top scorer
with 16 followed by young debutant Rithvik Gunnam who scored 15,
including a perfectly-timed lofted drive for six. Black Rose captain
Andre removed four of our batsmen with slow left-arm off-spinners
delivered with pinpoint accuracy.
The rest of us could not
even get into double figures and we finished on a miserable total of
After a sumptuous tea, we were in need of some magic
to win this game.
We got off to perfect start with a
dismissal secured by Asad, our most gifted fielder. His precision
bullet-arm throw from deep point flew straight to our keeper Mo
Junaid just above the stumps, running out Uday for just 1 run.
This dramatic moment was followed by some confusion and drama
over whether the umpire had put his finger up or not. The batsman
was already walking off, then returned back. I was square leg and
could clearly see he was definitely short! After a good ten minutes
of debate and high emotion, we eventually got underway again, with
Black Rose 1 for 1 off three overs
Then Umair, our most
economical bowler, clean bowled and took out the off stump of Ben
for a duck. He finished with incredible figures of 7-5-6-1 and we
had Black Rose lumbering at 12 for 2 off nine overs.
biggest partnership of the day took place, putting on 24 for the
third wicket from Sam and Joe, who plays in the Essex league and was
clearly their best batsman. Jakeria provided us with the vital
breakthrough with yet another yorker to remove Sam for 16. Jakeria
has now taken all his 12 wickets clean bowled so far this season. He
finished with superb bowling figures of 7-1-20-1. Black Rose were
now 36 for 3 off 18 overs.
We paused for drinks. Some deep
strategic planning was needed. As a chess player and known for my
intellectual intelligence (Yes! I am being serious!) I knew we
needed to mastermind a counterattack. We only needed four wickets
for victory but Black Rose only needed 43 off 17 overs to win.
Rithvik step up and showed his mettle by bowling an outstanding
spell at the critical stage of the game with figures of 5-2-9-0.
Now it was time for pinnacle moment of the match! Black Rose at
59 needed only 20 runs and still had four wickets left.
not even sure where to begin? What took place now was a series of
unforeseeable events and exceptional cricket skills that showed our
willingness to win at all costs!
The "BRAVEHEART" aka Mo
Junaid came on to bowl and turned the game on its head! First off he
trapped Lloyds lbw for 5. Lloyds was not too pleased with the
decision and initially refused to leave the crease before finally
Then there was another masterpiece in the field
at mid-off. Mo dived low to the ground to stop the ball and, despite
being on his backside, managed to balance himself and throw the ball
back to our replacement keeper Jakeria at lighting speed. Jakeria
whipped off the bails and captain Andre was run out for 1.
Black Rose now required 12 runs from eight overs and we needed 2
wickets for victory.
Asad came back to finish off his spell
and almost took the big wicket of Joe with what would have been an
extremely difficult catch, hit straight back to him like rocket off
his bowling. He finished with immaculate figures of 7-1-16-0.
One more run was added and then Mo delivered the final
deathblows. He clean bowled both Rajender and Patel for ducks.
Victory was sealed as Mo let out a passionate roar. He finished off
with match winning figures of 2.5-1-4-3.
A special mention to
debutants Joseph Clarke and Spencer Smith who were spritely in the
field, stopping many valuable runs, and also showed promise with the
We will have to check the records but surely this must
be the lowest total we have ever defended!