The most dramatic game of the day was on Twickenham Green where the ones came within a whisker of beating Hampstead. The most impressive individual performance, however, came at Uxbridge where Nikhil Nomula blasted a belligerent 164 as the threes piled on the runs. The fours continue their march to the Division 5b title whilst the twos and even the fives are not out of the promotion reckoning yet.
Ones take it right to the wire
So near and yet so far. The ones knew that if they were going to keep their outside chances of winning the Premier League title alive then they needed to beat third placed Hampstead. And that they so nearly did (see here for the card).
Rhys Davies (57 off 70) led the way with the bat, and at 77-1 the hosts looked set fair for a decent total. Ben Leale-Green knuckled down to contribute 41 (62 balls) and skipper Carlos Nunes’s 28 was also helpful in getting the Ts up to 165. Three ducks and two twos scuppered thoughts of anything more. Scott Barlow led the way for Hampstead with 4-31.
Hampstead started off their reply positively, the ebullient Mubasher Hassan blasting his way to a 22 ball 43. His departure saw the visitors slip from 53-0 to 74-3, but by the time Sam Evison and Ben Frazer had pushed the total on to 129-3 it looked and felt like it was Hampstead’s game to win.
But, cricket is nothing if not unpredictable, and Hampstead suddenly suffered a major attack of the collywobbles. Evison (29) was trapped leg before by Abhi Singh and Frazer (36) was caught behind off Nunes. Three more quick wickets saw Hampstead go from cruise control to Titanic-mode as they slipped to 146-8.
With 21 needed and two wickets left the game was on a knife-edge. Nunes, in the middle of a 22 over afternoon with the ball (!), further heightened tensions when he removed Ajit Sambhi leg before for 12. But, by that point, Hampstead only needed two to win. Jamie Literland kept his head, blocked out a load of deliveries, but was there at the end to see things home. You don't need to keep boshing the ball miles to play a crucial innings.
The one wicket defeat sees the Ts slip back to 7th (see here), 24 points ahead of Finchley (who were impressive winners over Teddington). One more win and the Ts will be all but safe.
Twos move in the promotion places
The twos managed to pouch 12 points at the Post Office Ground against MTSSC, but they certainly did it the hard way (see here for the card).
Batting first the 2s recovered from 22-5 to post what turned out to be an eminently competitive 134. Sanjit Sandhu’s invaluable 47 (69 balls) in the middle of the innings was key to that, but Nakul Vishvanath and Dom Thamby (again) eeked out valuable runs for the last wicket. This time it was 29 of them, and when you end up winning by 9 runs it’s easy to see just how important that last wicket stand was.
MTSSC got off to a similarly atrocious start, slipping to 13-3; Lewis Mitchard helped himself to a couple with Sanjit Sandhu chipping in with the third. MTSSC then had a mini-revival before Tom Field (4-38) removed both Vimal Laigi and Rahul Kulaseggram with the score on 36.
With the Tamils on the back foot Field kept on chipping away. It was nonetheless the returning Sanjit Sandhu (2-17 off 9) and Harry Grinstead (1-7 off 4.1) who rounded things off to secure a 12 point win.
The 2s are now up to second place, 1 point ahead of Indian Gym in third (see here). Next week the Ts play Stanmore; top of the league and 20 points ahead. That could be a real humdinger.
Nomula runs riot
The threes were involved in a runs-fest over at Uxbridge (see here for the card). Nikhil Nomula was the undoubted star of the show, blasting 164 against his former club. Nomula found a willing partner in crime in Steve Watts (74), the skipper helping him put on a mammoth 257 for the first wicket. Has there ever been a bigger opening stand for the Ts at any level? The jury is currently out on that one.
The 3s ultimately declared on 291, leaving their opponents 46 overs to go for the target. Uxbridge made a decent attempt, but it nonetheless soon became clear that a losing draw was the best they were going to be able to hope for.
Qaiss Raja ended on 108no whilst Vedant Jain was the pick of the bowlers with 3-41. Brandon Newman (2-51) and Anu Agarwal (1-23) also claimed scalps, but Uxbridge ultimately ended 57 short with four wickets in hand.
Fours do what they do
The fours carried on where they left off last week. And, indeed, where they have been for more or less every week this season. They won.
Indian Gym had first hit at Broom Road and Nimit Mishra (59) was the star of the show in their 173. Skipper Hinay Dassani helped himself to three wickets (all of which came in the same over), whilst Hayden Tyler and Chetan Ubale also did the same. Ali Jennings also took a real beauty with what his skipper described as the ball of the day.
In reply the Ts got home with a couple of overs to spare. Uzzi Khan continued his consistent form with a well-crafted 65 and Hiran Dissanayake, Colin Blunden and particularly Martin Fairn all made significant contributions. Indeed, it was some fireworks at the end from Fairn that ultimately saw the Ts home.
The win leaves the 4s 29 points clear of Acton (see here). One win and that could be that, promotion done and dusted.
Fives sweep Perivale aside
The fives returned to winning ways with a demolition of Perivale (see here for the card).
Only three of the home batters reached double figures as they slipped to 77 all out. Harmeet Singh (4-47) did much of the damage, but it was also good to see youngsters Anthony Jones (2-7 off 4) and Dominic McCab (2-6 off 3) play important supporting roles. Phil Walker, rolling back the years, also showed some impressive fielding prowess to claim a much-deserved run out.
Chasing small totals can often be tricky, but the TCC Giraffe, Andy Donelan, made sure that the 5s didn’t mess this particular run chase up. That was particularly important given that rain was in the air. Donelan’s 36 subsequently set the tone, and he put on 49 with Phil Walker for the second wicket. Both were eventually out (Donelan when the scores were level), leaving skipper Chris Wylde and Paul McLoughlin to see the Ts over the line.
The win leaves the 5ths in 5th place (see here). Wylde’s side remain a tantalising 20 points away from a promotion slot. Too much ground to make up? Maybe. But also maybe not …
Next week sees the return of win/lose cricket. So, be sure to welcome back those negative fielding positions, the defensive cricket and the dreaded Vera Duckworth rules. ☺
Go well everyone.