By Farhan Ulhaq

After tasting the first defeat against Thurleigh, the Cadds second XI Grouped together like “Cornered Tigers” to face Little Horwood on home soil on a gloomy day.  With Farhan, Aftab, Umer and Shabaz back in the team it looked a decent side but they had to lose their experienced batman Gary who was called to play for the 1st Eleven.  On a wet pitch with lots of grass the Cadds were put into bat.  With James Swann making his first appearance in the league, Umar Khan opened the innings.  They started confidently with Umer enjoying his luck after being dropped in the slips. They put on 39 for the first wicket when Umer lost his wicket playing across and got clean bowled after making 19 runs with the help of 3 boundaries .  Irshad joined James who looked well settled, but did not last long and perished without troubling the scorers , on a ball which did not bounce.  He was soon followed by Shabaz who chipped a full toss in the air and got caught at short mid wicket.  The next man in was the in-form all rounder Aftab who put on 38 valuable runs for the 4th wicket with James.  Both of them played some good looking strokes all over the ground.  James finally got out to a fuller delivery making 28 with three 4’s, justifying his place in the team.

Steve joined Aftab and together they put on another 16 runs before Steve lost his wicket.  Aftab was next to go trapped in front of the stumps after making 17 valuable runs.  It was followed by a sudden collapse with the next 3 wickets falling cheaply with 121 on the board and the last pair on the crease.  Farhan and Jim managed to survive the remaining 6 overs but could not get many runs on the board with the final score of 133 with a generous contribution of 40 extras from the opposition.  This was certainly not an ideal score against a decent batting line up but Cadds 2’s have shown in their first two games that they are a strong unit as a team who can defend any total.

Robbie decided to start with Farhan who was hit for the first ball for a boundary and proved expensive.  Robbie on the another hand was bowling economically as usual keeping pressure on the openers.  Robbie got the breakthrough soon when Pritchard tried to take the aerial route and Umar Khan took a well judged catch at Long off.  Gold joined Birch and spend a long time at the crease without any ease to get the score board ticking. This is thanks to some tight bowling from the first change bowlers Jim and Aftab and energetic fielding.

Both Jim and Aftab bowled out their ten overs with great accuracy and vigour making life miserable for the opposition batsmen.  Aftab got the second breakthrough to get the prized wicket of the second opener who was caught behind by Paul Simpson.  Jim got into the act by shattering the stumps of Stop.  Aftab and Jim finally finished with the immaculate bowling figures of 16/1 and 20/1 in 10 overs respectively which pushed the opposition on the back foot.   The body language of Cadds was totally different with aggression and agility in the field. This made their opposition give up the idea of chasing a modest total and head towards a draw.

Steve had other ideas when he came to bowl in place of Jim when he got two wickets in two balls reducing half of the opposition to the score of 76.  Irshad was called to bowl from the opposite end who finished the game by taking 2 wickets in his first over followed by 2 more wickets in his second getting a magical figure of 4 for 9 runs in 2 overs.  One thing which is worth mentioning here is a one handed blinder taken on long off by Umer Khan. It was hit high and handsome in the air and was heading towards the boundary when Umar leaped in the air like a superman and took a gem of a catch .

So Little Horwood was sent back to the pavilion by a team who was united and committed both on and off the field and they won the game by 53 runs.  There were so many great performances seen in this match which made it difficult to judge the player of the match.  In the batting James put up a great show on his first game scoring the highest number of runs .  Aftab also played a useful innings with him cementing the match winning partnership .  In bowling Steve, Jim and Irshad all destroyed the opposition’s batting lineup. However Ithink the all round performance from Aftab deserved him to get player of the Match title scoring 17 runs and having real time with bowling with impressive figures of 10 overs , 3 maidens , 16 runs and one key wicket of the opener opposition batsman .

This match again proved that Cadds 2’s are certainly on the right track to get promotion in the league and have the right composition to perform collectively as a team.  Next week they are travelling away to face Newport Pagnell on their home soil and I hope they will continue to perform well as a team .