Twickenham CC enjoyed two wins out of five in Week 17. Whilst the fate of both the twos and fives was sadly sealed, the ones did manage to dramatically defeat Brondesbury on the Green to secure top flight cricket in 2019.
Berger rises to the challenge
The star of the first XI show was second XI skipper Eugene Berger. Not only did he step up to take three important Brondesbury wickets in a 6 over spell (3-12), he also came in to smack 19 (11 balls) important runs when the Ts’ batting order was wobbling badly.
Bron certainly gave it all they had, recovering from 35-5 to post a defendable 145 (see here for the card). All-rounder Sam Smith (no, not that one!) was the star of the show with a well-made 35 whilst Jakub Bhula (3-26 off 10) led the way with the ball. Bhula also took the strain with the bat, crafting an important 47 at the top of the order.
However, once Bhula departed the Twickenham order suffered a severe attack of the collywobbles. At 118-7 victory looked a fair old distance away. Varun Sivaram (23no off 49) nonetheless kept his head when all about him were losing theirs and it was ultimately his 31 run partnership with Berger that saw the Ts home (see here for the table).
Twos come away with silver medal
The twos came off second best in their final away game of the season at Highgate (see here). Sanjit Sandhu (46 in 46 balls) and Simon Dunning 40 (in an uncharacteristically slow, boring and methodical 20 (!) balls) helped the Ts post 173. Matt Holly (4-33 off 9) was the star Gators’ performer with the ball.
Stand-in skipper Nakul Vishanath (3-42 off 9) did his best to hold the hosts up, whilst it was good to see Nikhil Nomula also get in amongst the wickets (2-16). That wasn’t, however, enough to bring home the bacon, Highgate reaching their target with 15 overs and 4 wickets to spare.
Nearly there ...
The threes, meanwhile, are on the cusp of completing what has been a most impressive salvage operation. From being adrift of the pack just three weeks ago they are now all set to secure their second division safety in Week 18 (see here for the table).
The fact that they are in that position has a lot to do with a new-found ruthlessness with the ball. Brondesbury, a team with promotion aspirations, certainly couldn’t cope and they were blown away for 50. Dom Thamby (5-18) and Geoff Stothert (5-31) were the chief purveyors of doom.
In response the Ts wobbled a little, but they were never in any real danger of not reaching their target. Coach Guharaja certainly wasn’t letting anyone get through his defence, and he was there unbeaten at the end. His transition through the sides has been really pretty impressive. Hayden Tyler (21) also made a telling contribution at number three (see here).
The 3s are now subsequently up to sixth and with a fair wind they may finish the season as high as fourth. Or, with a really bad set of results in Week 18, they could still go down. It’s been a funny old season, that’s for sure.
4s struggle at Harrow
The fours came off second best against an impressive Harrow side. The Payne’s Folley outfit batted first and rattled up 250 from their 45 overs. The Ts tried their best to chase the total down, but ultimately they ended up plenty short.
The defeat now means that the fours slip to eighth in the 1987 League Division Two table (see here). But, they remain 23 points ahead of 9th placed Finchley, so survival is guaranteed no matter how they get on in Week 18.
Fifths succumb to relegation
The fifths also slipped to defeat, but their loss had very real consequences. They now can’t get above Hampstead 5s and will subsequently be playing their cricket a division lower in 2019 (see here for the table).
With Alexandra Park gunning for promotion themselves stand-in skipper Phil Walker knew he had a tough task on his hands in trying to wrestle away the 10 points. Jonny Bosier (43) helped the cause, batting in his usual belligerent way, but no one else really managed to get going. The Ts subsequently closed on 129 off 34 overs. Ashish Majahan claimed 4-20 for the visitors.
Luke Muraszko (1-20) did his level best to make inroads in to the AP top order, as did Richard Evans (1-13 off 5). Mark Davies (2-6) also chipped in with a couple of poles. Ultimately, their efforts weren’t enough as Ally Pally got home with 4 wickets to spare.
Week 18 therefore promises to be rather less dramatic than it might otherwise have been. The thirds still have relegation to mathematically stave off, but all of the other four sides now know their fates. Often the best time to relax, see ball/hit ball and simply bowl straight. After all, it’s 34 weeks of shopping for everyone after this.