By Allan Crump

2nd Game- Elstow

Buoyed by the winning draw against Westcroft, the C’s 1st IX travelled to Elstow for their 2nd game of the season- The skipper arrived nice and early with Kyle (in for the holidaying Brad) who took note of the fantastic facilities and lovely looking strip (or so we thought).

The skipper was greeted by the opposing captain who won the toss and put the Cs into bat.. Which was something I was happy with considering the flat dry pitch that awaited the opening batsmen.

Anees and Shahbaz were elected to bat as Carl pulled out the Friday before with a ‘mystery’ back injury (most likely due to old age)- After the 1st couple of overs of some solid defending from both players, it was clear the pitch was proving to be ‘tricky’ with the ball keeping low and not coming onto the bat. Shahbaz was undone by a good in-swinging delivery knocking over his off stump for 2. Enter ‘the chief’ Dale Skeath, making his 1st appearance of the season.. He quickly adjusted to the slow conditions and started to hit much needed boundaries with a memorable cut for four. Elstow adjusted accordingly and brought on a young Jack Flynn who after a few loose deliveries soon started to trouble the Cs batsmen, taking Dale with a lovely in-swinging yorker for a quick 27 runs.

With the Cs now 60/2 from 18overs, it was the skipper in at No4.. Full of confidence after his half century the week before, he was greeted by Anees who advised the young bowler Jack was getting ‘very late in-swing.. you’ll careful’.. and with those words ringing in his ears he faced the 1 ball remaining in the over and was nearly skittled over..with the ball starting outside off and missing LEG stump totally bamboozling the Cs skipper. The following over Allan was on-strike.. swinging at a wide delivery he nicked it and was out via a well taken catch in slip for 0.

Ghafy was in at 5 and also struggled with the slow pitch and in-swinging yorkers from the other end.. however after a few near misses he performed some good technical strokes and sweep shots eventually succumbing to another in-swinging yorker from the talented Jack Flynn for 22. In came Aftab out went Aftab.. getting trapped in front of the stumps LBW for 0 leaving the skipper (now umpiring) no choice but to raise the finger. Cs were now in trouble with the score 72/5, Anees was the next one out.. playing round a straight delivery and was gone for a hard-earned 24. Mitul- struggling from the night before (tut tut) came and went for 0 after another great delivery from Jack Flynn (who is only 16 by the way) was followed by James Lane who was soon caught down the ground for 7.

With the score 90/8.. The skipper turned to Rizwan Mansuri who was called up in place of Carl still feeling like runs could be made as we had a very strong batting line up.. Unfortunately he was clean bowled again by Jack for 0. Enter Kyle Blaney at no 10, the winner of the Sunday batting award the previous season (told you we had a strong team!) was now at the crease with Robbie with around 12 overs remaining. They both made a great final wkt stand pushing the score up to 120 but unfortunately couldn’t quite hold out with Kyle being bowled for 17 with 4 overs remaining.

With the teas being ‘10mins late’ it gave time for the skipper to gather his thoughts and talk to his team- Telling them he was still full of confidence as we had plenty of bowling throughout the side and with the pitch not playing well it was a day for the bowlers.

The Cs started an early warm-up and awaited the Elstow opening batsmen- Kyle was to open with the new ball with a late decision to have Cooper from the other end due to the immense swing the opposition bowlers were achieving. Both bowlers were getting the much talked about swing with neither batsmen able to get off the mark it was a solid start from the openers, however it was going to be a long innings with Elstow having 48overs to play with. The pressure of dot ball bowling soon started to show and the much needed break-through coming from Cooper who clean bowled Jack Flynn for 1. Kyle was next in on the act trapping their no 3 bat LBW for 3.

With some sharp fielding from the likes of Shahbaz, Anees, Aftab and Riz.. the Cs were turning the screw and the score at drinks was 52/4. During drinks Dale gave a motivational speech and the wkts continued to fall with a notable scalp by Ghaf catching of his own bowling the opening batsmen for 44 who was proving a thorn in the Cs plans.

With the score 83/7 the game was in the balance and could have gone against the Cs if they failed to get the Elstow skipper out who was now on 19 and looking confidant.. However the Cs captain had other ideas bringing himself on and clean bowling him around his legs. Elstow were now in trouble and began to pad the innings out.. A remarkable turnaround considering they had almost 50 overs to knock just 120 runs. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be but we can take great credit from our bowling/fielding performance into our next game and hopefully get over the line.

Notable bowling performances came from Rizwan (1 for 17 from 6 overs), Mitul (2 for 15 from 7 overs), Ghaf (1 for 16 from 5 overs) and Aftab.. who didn’t take any wkts but maintained the pressure with some superb dot-ball bowling (0 for 3 from 4 overs).

Captains corner

Another confidence building performance with the only negative being we should have batted better- However, it may have been a different story if I had won the toss and put Elstow in to bat. A fantastic fight back from all with Man of the Match going to Kyle Blaney with his 2 for 15 from 10 overs and last wkt stand for 17.

Bring on Drayton Parslow.