Ts Huff And Puff But Fail To Blow The House Down
Twickenham V - 142 AO in 44.1 overs (Turish 26 not out, Rao 5 for 14)
Lohana III - 145 for 7 in 35.1 overs (Ali 3 for 23)
Lohana win by 3 wickets
Lohana 10 points
Twickenham V 1 point
Venue: RCT Sports Ground, North Harrow
Date: Saturday September 2'nd 2017
Type of match: 1987 League division 3 ,Limited overs game, 45 per side
After securing safety in Division 3 the previous week by dint of gaining 10 points after Stanmore conceded , the fives went into this game knowing that a win would keep us in sixth place in the table with the possibility of moving up to fifth. We travelled with a strong looking side on paper but a number of factors conspired against us and despite a valiant effort we lost by 3 wickets. As it turned out the ten points were not important as the bottom two sides both lost their remaining two games but it was nice to have that safety net.
The weather was set fair and on arrival at the ground it appeared that a run-feast could be in order, despite the large surface area, due to the appearance of the sun, the decent looking track, sloped outfield and short grass. As it turned out the track was stodgy , making the timing of shots very tricky , and the outfield proved to be much less fast than expected and you did not get full value for your shots. Obviously we will all need to brush up on our pitch analysis for next season.
With the main train line from London to the Midlands at one end of the ground there was quite a bit of disturbance as Mr Bransons engines shot past at fairly regular intervals. This amused Donelan no end as it was his last day of employment with said company having been made redundant and the constant reminders were not good for his state of mind. It would be true to say that during the course of the afternoon, we saw more Virgins than you would come across at a Little Mix concert.
Walker won the toss but with time getting on and three players missing, including the wicket keeper and opening bowler the skipper felt obliged to bat first. This was not his original intention. It became immediately apparent that scoring fluently was not going to happen as the ball just did not come on. I put it down to the altitude. Walker lasted five overs and contributed 4 runs before playing all round a straight one. The first boundary of the match, one of only 8 in the Ts innings, arrived courtesy of Sulthan in the 11'th over and a nice little stand developed between him and Donelan. Unfortunately Sulthan (23) was adjudged lbw by his good friend, up to that point at any rate, Sanas and the next phase of rebuilding was attended to by Parab.
With boundaries at a premium the bats had to work for their runs and the Twickenham pair opted to nurdle quite a lot; a very decent tactic but one which caused Donelan (22) to redden considerably due to the ones and twos being run. Just as the brains trust on the boundary were discussing the possibility of reaching a total in the region of 200 the wheels came off the innings as 80 for 2 suddenly became 90 for 6.
Donelan was run out trying to push things along , Parab (20) got a low one and was caught on his pads for a second LBW of the innings and the middle order opted to try and hit their way out of trouble which was not the way to do it. The introduction of left-arm spinner Rao was the catalyst of the collapse as he twirled his way to an impressive haul of 5 for 14 coming on as third-change. Turish also followed this option of hitting but his luck was in as he survived a couple of chinese-cuts and aerial shots landing away from fielders.
Sanas, promoted up the order to 9 after requesting a higher batting berth, got a duck as Turish started to grow in authority. Back to 11 next week please Vijay. Young Nikhil Chapanniya , called into the eleven at 22:30 on Friday evening following some shenaningans in the higher sides meaning we lost somebody to the Fours, proved a confident addition. His keen attitude , speed,and approach to running between the wickets caused Turish to turn redder than Donelan earlier in the innings as ones were turned into twos on a couple of occasions and a loud "NO!!!" was heard when the young lad fancied a third at one point. It was only going to end in one way and poor old Chapanniya (3) was run out for an entertaining cameo leaving Saini and Turish to see what could be done as the Ts were rocking on 110 for 9.
The last Twickenham pair opted for a mix of hard, yet sensible hitting and quick running, especially for byes, as the score mounted and the tail most definitely wagged. Thirty runs were accrued in the final 4 overs before Saini (9) was bowled off the first ball of the final over to give Rao his fifth wicket which left Turish stranded on 26 not out and the Ts finished on a commendable, given the major collapse, total of 142.
Tea was taken in the hut which served as a changing room. The RCT ground has a very nice looking modern clubhouse overlooking the main square but we were quite a distance away in the corner adjacent to Harrow St Mary's. Our hut had very basic facilities which amounted to 2 changing rooms , or rooms for changing in to be more accurate (there is a difference), and a dingy tea area but no toilets or running water. It was a little reminiscent of the Vets trips to Cuxham a couple of years ago although much bigger and with no stream to relieve yourself in. Unless you fancied a 10 minute round trip for a wee the best option was behind the hut avoiding the copious stinging nettles blowing in the breeze. It seemed to me the wheelbarrow which started the day half-full of rainwater was a little fuller at the close of play.
The tea itself was a basic affair with plain white bread sandwiches (egg/cress and cheese/cucumber) , some nuggets, pizza slices , crisps and cakes. To be fair there was a hot cup of tea on offer too and this was made individually in plastic beakers with tea-bags stored in a coffee jar. Whooah there. Coffee tainted tea-bags? Plastic beakers? Whatever next? The skipper kept a grip on his rising pulse-rate, scoffed the food and went to add some nitrogen to the stinging nettles. Tea rating: a bland C.
It was felt that 142 was actually a decent total and with a strong bowling line up of Sanas, Saini, Ali, Parab and Turish as the main threats with Donelan, Sulthan and Chapanniya waiting in the wings the Ts chances looked good. They were looking even better 45 minutes later after 3 wickets for Ali, in mesmerising form yet again, and 1 for Sanas saw the home side floundering. A middle-order revival stalled the Ts onward march, despite Saini and Turish's best efforts, and a number of confident lbw shouts were rejected as the tension rose. The earlier talk of an enjoyable end-of-season affair disippated as neither side backed down.
The Ts fielding became a problem as the accumulated wear and tear of the seasons exertions caused a number of us, with Chapanniya the honourable exception but what do you expect from a fifteen year old, to lumber around the outfield in a fashion reminiscent of a zombie film. Speed and agility were not massively in evidence but commitment most certainly was with Shidlagatta leading from the front, covering a lot of ground with good efforts from the rest of the team. A mention also for Mo Ahmad ,making his seasonal debut for the Fives, who kept wicket pretty well in tricky conditions with a huge variance in the carry of balls of similar velocity and length. He certainly 'wore' quite a few and would have woken up on Sunday morning a little battered and bruised.
The home side started to score quickly and the Ts fielding issues were increased as Ali had to leave unexpectedly due to a family emergency after 27 overs , with the score on 90, reducing us to ten men. Fortunately he had bowled his ten overs to return very decent figures of 3 for 23 and more importantly all was good at home as I discovered the following day.
A couple of canny bowling changes yielding quick wickets from Parab and Sanas, starting his second spell by hitting the stumps with his first ball, saw the balance of power swing back to the Ts as the home team went 7 down but a couple of spilled catches and tight umpiring calls knocked the stuffing out of the travellers as Lohana closed in on victory which they obtained in the 37'th over thanks to three successive boundaries, closing on 145 for 7.
It was a game that ebbed and flowed and showed the nature of cricket where nothing is certain but it was ultimately a fairly unsatisfactory afternoon and a disappointing end to the season. Four Twickenham bats got into the twenties but were unable to go on to score big, Ali bowled really well again and Chapanniya showed a great all-round attitude for his league debut in an adult side. No faulting the team efforts however; it just was not meant to be I feel.
Unfortunately the disappointment did not end there as after doing all the admin, and with the rest of the side having departed in a dejected manner, I traipsed over to the main clubhouse for a shower only to think that it looked deserted and lifeless from about 5o yards out. I also realised the car park was empty. My suspicions were confirmed when I got to the front door and it was locked. It was barely 19:00. I did not fancy a trip back to the wheelbarrrow and stinging nettles so I let my frustrations out by urinating copiously in the car park in the manner of a wild beast marking his territory. Obviously a shower was out of the question so I made do by washing my hands with water from a bottle of Evian; I am not a complete savage! Fortunately the main gate had not been locked as I had visions of getting stuck there.
Facilities index: C for the Hut and F for Flippin' Awful for not keeping the main clubhouse open longer. A very poor show indeed Lohana.
The journey back to Twickenham seemed to take ages , especially as I had to go via a shower at home, but it was worth it as the celebrations from the assorted promotion winning teams (1s, 2s and 3s) were good to witness and the general feel-good factor was palpable. I suspect there were more than a few sore heads the next day.
So that's it for the Fives. No more games and no more match reports this season. However I am hoping to publish a seasons report fairly soon and also, time allowing , a codex to demystify the source of each and every match report title since April. In case you have not realised each one has been a song title with some taken from well known mainstream artists (Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin) and others from the fringes of the music scene (Husker Du, the Sound, Twelfth Night, Wire ) so a full run down is to come where you may learn more about American hardcore, English new-prog revivalists and post-punk than you thought possible on a cricket website!