Sun 5 June Chiswick Drawn (yawn)
We 200/8 in 41 overs (Saikat Barua 49*, Saurav Sen 46, San Gore 27, Bernard van Vuuren 24, Dan Burke 5/75)
They 126/5 in 42 overs (Ben Birtles 54, Extras 30, Saikat Barua 2/9)
We had 22 players available for this Sunday so we got this extra fixture through the Conference. A convenient place for all to travel – and the weather was a scorcher. It was unfortunate though that the Teddington game had been cancelled for want of players. A great pity, in hindsight, that the wrong game was called off as Chiswick turned out to be the dullest we have ever played (in San’s long-lived memory, that is).
Perhaps the pitch had something to do with it, but when the fixture was arranged they had insisted on a time game, and when their skipper won the toss and put us in we suspected that they were a weak side. This did not show early on as Akhi promoted to opener was bowled in the third over. Neeraj (21) and San (27) picked up the pace on a wicket that was slower at one end, but once Neeraj fell there was a flurry of wickets as KCC slid to 69/6 in the 21st over. Hmmm. Not deterred, Saurav and Bernard in his first match of the season attacked the bowling and put on 52 runs in 8 overs before Bernard was bowled. The momentum continued unabated with Saikat joining Saurav in the plunder. They were dealing in fours but many a single was ignored through school-boy backing up; they should both have reached their fifties had they been more alert. Once Saurav was out it was left to Saikat and Ian Elliott to smash 29 in the last 3 overs for San to declare on a comfortable 200. Although Saikat was ‘stranded’ on 49 it is only fair to say that he was 37 at the start of the last over and struck 3 fours, one off the last ball. You really should have taken those earlier singles, Saikat and Saurav!
Now the dull bit began. Saikat and Bernard were menacing with their pace and swing and the first 3 Chiswick batsmen were hopelessly out of their depth, succumbing in quick succession. A young lad, Ben Birtles, and the old wicketkeeper Boothman defended stoutly and shut up shop far too early. San tried to open up the game with Ali, Ian, then Saurav and Neeraj but the batsmen refused to be tempted. Boothman retired mid way complaining of a ricked back (was he also actually bored?) Even San bowled an over of snow-flaked balls but when not a run was sought we knew this game was as dead as a dodo. We went through the motions all players having a bowl, except for Eddy debuting behind the stumps and itching to bowl. Young Ben finally got some confidence and helped himself to his fifty before getting caught behind (yes, Eddy’s first victim) in the last over off the under-bowled Kamrul ‘I think I am now a bowler’ Hasan.
So, the inevitable long-drawn-out draw, and for what? No points to be had in a friendly game. Sunday cricket is to be enjoyed by all. As San said, “for a time game to work it takes two (skippers) to tango”. One of them was not prepared to dance!