Bickley Park’s in form 3rd XI looked to continue their 100% winning start to the season away against Catford and Cyphers. With a deep batting line up and a pitch that looked to have been made soft by Friday’s rain, early thoughts turned to winning the toss and putting the opposition in first, an idea that gained further traction when a short shower interrupted the warm-ups of both teams before the toss.
Unfortunately, the 3’s form in winning games of cricket has not so far translated into an ability to correctly guess the flip of a coin, a fifth lost toss in six (extra practice required for skipper Sunny at Wednesday nets) resulting in the home side electing to field first. This decision bore early fruit, with both Catford openers finding plenty of assistance in the pitch with the new ball. Marcus Day (2) had his off stump taken by a ball that nipped back off the seam, while Tom Franks-Moore (4) was trapped lbw by one that kept low to leave Bickley Park 19-2 after six overs. After a slow start, Marco Tenten (16) looked to have found his typical free scoring rhythm before feathering an edge behind to the keeper.
After those three early wickets, the 3s were 39-3 and in need of a solid partnership to give themselves a chance of setting a strong total. Fortunately Owen Davies (39) and Simon Davis (31) built a good platform, rotating the strike well and connecting with some lusty blows over the infield before falling in quick succession to leave Bickley 102-5 after 28 overs. Samit Sundaresan (19) and Jack Cooper (23) helped elevate the scoring rate until Samit was bowled in the 33rd. In the next over, Cooper was given out caught and bowled, the bowler doing well to hold on to a ball coming back at him sharply, despite the batsman and those watching on the sidelines, feeling that he had in fact hit the ball into the ground.
With Bickley 147-7 with six overs left, there was some danger of both not setting a strong total and giving overs away if bowled out. However, Abu (33) added some valuable late hitting to bring the total up to 182 before being the last man to fall in the last over. With a good score posted, it was time to enjoy a truly excellent tea replete with hot pizza and chicken nuggets, as well as a fantastic homemade cake. Simon Davis, for once not opening the bowling due to a slight injury, took full advantage of the goods on offer and is reportedly considering asking the tea lady for the cake recipe.
With Davis enjoying his food coma, Leo Hadcock and Sahil Chug opened the bowing. It was Chug (1-25) who made the first breakthrough in the sixth over, enticing a thick edge that was taken one-handed by Franks-Moore diving high to his left at first slip. With the score at 19-1, Hadcock then turned the match decisively in Bickley’s favour. Consistently hitting excellent areas, his height made full use of the slightly uneven bounce still on offer to take the other four wickets from Catford’s top five, the last requiring a good catch from Sundaresan at cover, to leave the home side 57-5 after 17 overs. Hancock finished with figures of 4-20 from his 10 overs, which would have been even better had three catches of varying difficulty not been put down off his bowling.
Owen Davies (0-25) and skipper Sunny Saikia (0-9) bowled well to continue restricting the flow of runs and leave Catford well and truly behind the required run rate. At 77-5, and with the game somewhat drifting, the introduction of wildcard Abu into the attack brought immediate reward as a flighted delivery earned a stumping that was smartly executed by Cooper. Abu earned a second wicket a couple of overs later, inducing an edge that was well held low down at gully by Chug, eventually finishing with 2-25. Having finally got over his food coma, Davis came on and, after 2 typically tight overs, acelerated the match towards its conclusion, taking wickets 8 and 9 in the same over. In a congested field, Marco Tenten’s catch to take the first of these two wickets was probably the grab of the day, the big man running back from mid-wicket to take an absolute steepler that was moving about in the wind. Chug then continued to press his claim for a permanent position in the gully with another smart catch to leave Catford 117-9 after 33 overs.
Bickley avoided every cricketer’s worst nightmare of the last wicket pair dragging affairs out unnecessarily, a mix up three balls into the next over leaving a simple run out opportunity that was duly taken to dismiss the hosts for 123 and secure a 59 run win and maximum points to take back to the Home of Cricket. With their 100% start to the season extended to six games, Saikia’s 3s juggernaut rolls on.
|8 June 2019||1:30 pm||1B - Met/West 2019||2019|
|Sydenham High School Playing Fields|