Played at Barkingside Recreation Ground
Report by Steve Hamilton
This fixture against Ilford Catholics was made at short notice
and proved to be our most competitive match in recent encounters.
The conditions were grey and cloudy with the odd disruption from
rain. It was slightly humid after the downpours with temperatures
around 20c. But it was probably the most satisfactory wicket of
late, as it had a fair amount of bounce at both ends, even after the
previous day’s rain.
I had the luxury of putting my feet up
and observing from the clubhouse as I felt rather fragile from the
night before. "I wonder what caused that?"
elected to bat and we took control immediately. Umair Shahzad bowled
a flawless opening spell, full of unplayable deliveries and swinging
it round corners at times. Neither opener could get close to playing
any positive strokes. The ball beat the bat numerous times and he
only conceded five runs off four overs including two maidens.
Ashan Faraz supported him from the other end. Playing only his
second game for Old Fallopians, he showed his variety with plenty
self-control. He also delivered the ball on a sixpence and was soon
rewarded with the wicket of opening batsman Sudhadker, clean bowled
for nine. He finished with immaculate figures of 6-3-16-1
Debutant Saad Ahmed was a revelation and delivered promptly. He
removed Vasanth for a duck in his first over. Later on he dismissed
Arun for 48, caught at cover by the "ever vocal" Mohammed Rashid.
Saad finished with impressive figures of 6-0-32-2
halfway stage of their innings Ilford Catholics had only reached 66
for 3 off 20 overs and they needed to up the ante! This was a
scoring rate of just 3.3 per over.
But they did precisely
that and stepped on the gas. They scored 143 off the next 20 overs
and took their total to 209 for 9 off 40 overs.
Rashid bowled excellently trapping Suresh lbw for 18, plumb in front
of his wicket.
Dhammika Perera is now a familiar face around
these parts and didn't disappoint as he clean bowled Jagan for 11
with a full-ball yorker. Well that's what I saw from 100 yards away,
others said it was a full toss. Nevertheless, the batsman was out.
Dhammika finished with tidy figures of 5-0-18-1.
superb fielding all round, with two run-out assists for Jakeria
Ahmed and Rashid and some great diving stops by Asad Saleemi. But
the most magical moment of the day was Umair's one-handed catch off
his own bowling. The ball was smashed violently back at him at head
height and he casually stuck out his hand and made an extremely
difficult catch look simple!
Now at the break we once again
had the luxury of some homemade delicious Pakistani cuisine! A
massive pot of chicken biryani was kindly brought in by Mohammed
Rashid as we all helped ourselves. The room became silent for a
while as we all got stuck in! And to follow was another delightful
treat, a mouth-watering milk cake kindly brought in by Adnan
Walayat. After that lavish spread, fit for kings, we were ready to
chase down that competitive total of 209.
After just three
overs DISASTER STRUCK! The rain came down and caused a 30-minute
delay as the covers came on and it began to look doubtful that play
But after that temporary set back and plenty
of sawdust, we were ready for the challenge. Our openers Jakeria and
Asad Mushtaq soon took control and we raced to 54 off just eight
overs. Jakeria started off in ferocious fashion including two sixes
and four fours, before being trapped lbw for 41. The impact from the
ball caused a mighty swelling just above his kneecap, not a pretty
sight for those who saw it!
Asad has now scored 300 runs so
far this season and was looking in full control, scoring freely in
his usual graceful manner, with his trademark elegant drives. I
assumed it might be his day for a big score. Unfortunately, a
spectacular catch at long on, taken low near the ground by Arun,
forced his departure for 27.
Asad Saleemi was pushed up the
order, but never really settled. After a couple of edges that went
past the slips, he was clean bowled for 3 by Suresh.
was the free flowing yet unpredictable Umair. He got off to rapid
start and reached 18 in just a couple overs including three
consecutive fours off Suresh. Sadly, after that brief excitement he
departed after a fine nick went straight into the keeper’s hands.
Now we needed to show real gumption as we were in a mini crisis.
We had gone from 54 for 0 off 8 overs to 84 for 4 off 18 overs. Some
126 was needed off the remaining 22 overs, a rate of 5.7 per over
Alex Ferguson called it "squeaky bum time". Now
it was moment to stand up and show what was required in these
pressure situations. We needed batsman with big cajones who thrive
on these challenging tasks!
Well never fear, Junaid and Sam
are here! The previous time this pair batted together they knocked
up a 118-run partnership against South Loughton. Could that happen
Now what can I say, which has not already been said
before? Once again Mo Junaid delivered another match winning
performance, scoring 77, including two sixes and eight fours, as
well as running superbly between the wickets making ones into twos!
Sam Mole didn't show any signs of rustiness after a two-month
absence. He batted confidently, showing class, and using his
ruthless cricket brain at every opportunity. Sam remained unbeaten
on 39, including four fours to his average to 49.
definitely had a telepathic understanding and their contribution of
117 for the 5th wicket won us the game with 4.2 overs to spare!
Ilford Catholics were a warm friendly bunch who are competitive
and play the game in the right spirit. We will definitely be coming
back as our invitation has already been accepted for next season!
Rain stops play: The covers go on at the start
of the Old Fallopians' innings
Photo: Steve Hamilton