Saturday 15th April 2017
Stoke D’Abernon 194 for 5 (40 overs)
London Tigers (Southall) CC 197 for 8 (33.2 overs)
London Tigers (Southall) CC won by 2 wickets
A mixed XI from Stoke’s playing resources kicked off the 2017 season and suffered defeat despite having control for long periods. Losing having taken six of the opposition’s wickets in the first 10.5 overs of the fielding effort is one of the more bizarre ways to lose a game, but credit to the opposition who stayed committed to their brand of cricket and hoped a couple of players would come off.
Batting first on winning the toss Jack Raimondo and Moumer Khara moved the tins early, taking 22 runs from the first four overs. The opening stand reached 29 before the big-upper-bodied Shafiqa changed ends and his line of attack and yorked Raimondo for 16. Decent nut.
Khara and Alastair Curran added 33 in the next nine overs; the former merciless on any bad ball, the latter was watchful at first but ended a sequence of 13 dots by placing a nice straight six over the sightscreen at the railway end.
Khara departed leg-before for 28; but Curran and debutant Kane Fullalove who was very organised and is a welcome addition to the ranks, more than doubled the total as some more generous change bowling offered more scoring opportunities.
The pair were separated on 127 in the 29th over when Fullalove, (28), was unlucky to pick out the solitary fielder on the leg-side ring with a stinging pull shot prompting both batsman and fielder to leave the field; an earlier effort from him having disappeared over the short square boundary for the innings’ other maximum.
Rod Thomson hit some nice shots as the total passed the 150-mark; Curran eventually checking out on a Stoke career best 68 from 64 balls faced with nine nice fours to add to his aforementioned six. He was caught & bowled by Sarabjeet; the same mode of dismissal accounting for Thomson Snr for 14 shortly after Thomson Jnr joined him.
The younger Thomson, (13 not out), and Will Frost, (16 not out), played well in the closing overs to lift the score to 194 for 5 on a pitch that played OK for early season. Hopefully this would be enough given the depth of bowling resources available, but you never know when you play an opposition for the first time.
After tea Charlie Hill produced two terrific deliveries in the first over to get Stoke ahead of the game. Harpreet could do nothing with one that came back through his defences and hit the top of middle stump, (ball of the match being the only one he faced), then Omar edged to Fullalove behind the timbers. 2 for 2.
At the other end, left-hander Surinder played positively, taking seven from the first three balls bowled to him by Adrian Mills; but Hill and Mills continued to chip away at the top order as runs were traded for wickets.
Hill took a third when Pavi was leg-before; then Mills, (5-1-20-2), struck in each of his final two overs; good catches by Curran to account for Kapil, then Alex Thomson showed good hands under a high one to remove Surinder for 22.
When first change Drew Birch struck with his fifth delivery, (the third having gone for six), incredibly it was 45 for 6 after just 10.5 overs.
Up with the rate, the next batsmen prodded for a bit before having a good spell before drinks to leave Stoke with just 86 runs to play with. Sabi struck the ball cleanly, Sonu provided great support, the score went up in tens quite quickly prompting the reintroduction of Hill into the attack.
Hill slowed things a bit and finished with figures of 8-0-33-3; the pressure he applied led to a couple of wickets for Khara, both to good catches, one by Mills on the circle and one from Rod Thomson at third man to remove Sabi for 46, (6×4), and Sonu for 46, (5×4, 3×6), respectively.
So Stoke had a tail in sight but credit to No.9 Deep for hanging around for the more belligerent No.10 Happy – yes, Mr.Happy – to club a very quick unbeaten 29, (1×4, 3×6), to win the game in just the 33rd over of the chase.
A useful work-out for the bowlers who generally bowled better than their figures suggested; the short boundary on the leg-side proved an irresistible target for the batsmen who hit the ball cleanly.
Congrats to a pleasant opposition who made the trip down in good time and stopped for a beer before their lengthy journey home across the county border. Cobwebs dusted off for the Stokers – some will get an immediate chance for redemption at Sutton this weekend; others have work to do at nets on Wednesday.
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